Running with your Shiba Inu: What you need to know

Athletic fur parents would want to involve their pets in their daily activities. And this is good because not only does this keep you in shape, but also helps maintain your dog’s weight and health. One of the most enjoyable exercises you can introduce to your Shiba Inu is running. 

Running is physically and mentally beneficial for your dogs. Not only does it help with weight loss, but the different sight, sound, and smell stimulate their brain. It also reduces anxiety and boredom. 

How to Run with your Shiba Inu 

While it seems like dogs naturally enjoy running, keep in mind that running with the intention to play is different than a structured running routine. 

With playing, it is usually spontaneous and in irregular patterns, while a structured one is running in a straight line and for an extended period of time. 

So if you want your Shiba Inu to be the perfect running buddy, here are things you need to know. 

Check if your dog is the right breed and age

The first thing to tick off is knowing if your dog is suitable for running. 

Dogs with short muzzles, like the Bulldogs or Pug, should only sprint for short distances or avoid intense running if possible, while breeds like the Husky, Dalmatians, Golden Retrievers and Collies are amazing running companions. 

The Shiba Inu is a good breed for long-distance running. They are full of energy and are extremely athletic. As long as they are healthy, trained, and at the right age, running longer distances should not be a problem. 

The second thing to consider is the dog’s age and health. 

Puppies should not be involved in long-distance running as their bones are still developing, making them prone to injuries. For most breeds, dog should be around 1.5 years old for it to start intensive running. 

The same goes for dogs with joint issues. If you are looking at running exercises as a way to shed some weight off your dog, it’s worth going to the vet for a consultation. There are gentler ways for your dog to lose weight that should be okay for their joint concerns. 

Take note that even though your dog belongs to the running breed, it still has its own personality and some might not even like running at all. 

Look out for the weather

Before gearing up for a run with your Shiba Inu, always check the weather. 

Heat can be dangerous for dogs, especially those with thicker coats, and can result in heat exhaustion and heat stroke. One tip that dog owners used is to put the back of their hands on the ground for five to seven seconds and if it’s too hot for you, then it’s too hot for your dog’s paws as well. 

During the summer, it is recommended to run early morning or in the evenings. 

In colder weather, it is also best to not stay out for a long time. It is possible for them to dehydrate in cold weather. Another possibility is also dogs losing their balance and ice injuries. 

You have more time during the fall and spring seasons, but veterinarians say you should be careful of the terrain your dog is running on. Concrete and asphalt are harder on the dogs’ joints and can damage their paws. 

Start slow

Just because your dog is the right breed, at the right age, and is healthy, doesn’t mean they are automatically qualified for a 10km run. 

Dogs need to build up their endurance so always start by doing an easy and short run. If you see your Shiba starting to get comfortable, gradually increase the distance. Look for a location or a trail that you both would like and incorporate jogging and walking into the run. 

Master walking before running

Running, as simple as it seems, still requires training. 

Before bringing your Shiba out for a run, make sure he has mastered loose-leash walking. This means that your dog is walking by your side without pulling on its leash. 

A dog that hasn’t mastered loose-leash walking and is straight introduced to running is dangerous, especially at faster speeds. So always train them with walking first before going on a run. 

Also, one of the basic things to teach your dog when running is to keep them on one side. Not in front of you and not weaving from side to side as they can trip you or tangle your legs with their leash. 

Start with a walking pace and keep rewards and positive reinforcement in mind. If you want them on your left, offer treats on your left side. Once your Shiba is fully trained, then you can start with a hands-free dog leash walk or run. 

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