Way back, before I adopted my Greyhound Fisher, and before I started this blog, I used to smoke a pack of cigarettes a day. I did this for 25 years and the only running I did, was from the couch to the fridge to get a drink, and then back to the couch. I wasn’t able to run a mile at any speed. Then, on my 39th birthday I quit smoking and started running. I am 40 now and last year ran two 5k’s and three half marathons.
It was during last year that I also adopted Fisher from the local Greyhound Adoption Organization (MSGAO). Suddenly I had a running dog and I was a running fool, so perfect match, right? Running is an awesome activity to do with him; it’s healthy for both of us and strengthens our bond more and more with every run. Below is some advice on partnering with your Greyhound I gathered during this great journey.
Since it’s not recommended to ever have a greyhound off leash while outdoors, the first thing to consider is your hound’s leash manners. In my case, Fisher is focused solely on me when he has his leash on and never pulls. He stays at my speed, whether I’m walking or running and not even a squirrel will make him flinch. It’s a whole different story when off leash, in my fenced backyard of course, where Fisher has absolutely no recall and will chase anything that moves. Fortunately, the squirrels are winning so far. If you’re interested in Leash Manner training please click here for Doggy Dan’s series of basic and advanced training videos.
It is very important to start quite slow and short when running with a retired greyhound. These dogs are used to quick bursts of speed over a relatively short distance. A retired racer is not used to the endurance required for the distance an average runner covers. At first start with long walks to get the endurance required for extended times of activity. Pay close attention to the panting and other body language. Gradually start jogging about a 1/4 mile with your dog every other day and, again, allow for plenty of rest and hydrate (this is the hydration system I use with Fisher) a lot. This is especially important in hot climates. After a week of getting that 1/4 mile at jogging pace, increase the distance to half a mile. Continue to do this for the next few weeks and until you get to about two miles. This is the most I will run with Fisher and I feel is enough exercise and has little chance of over exertion for him. Always hydrate during the run and offer plenty of fresh water and rest after the run.
One of the things to keep an eye on, is the dog’s pads. Try to run on trails, which are soft on the dog’s feet (they don’t wear the nice pair of running shoes we have) and offer plenty of shade on those hotter months. If you must run on asphalt, make sure the temperature is low since asphalt can reach more than 100 degrees Fahrenheit, causing burns to your greyhound’s paws. Even in temperate climates, a long run on asphalt will be very abrasive to their pads, so keep the distances shorter, or have your dog run on the grassy side of a sidewalk. After every run inspect your greyhounds’ paws for cuts, abrasions, rocks or any other foreign matter. Some greyhound parents buy shoes or booties for their hounds. This is a good idea if your greyhound can use them comfortably and without altering its natural stride. (Some booties here).
These tips have certainly helped me have a great time with Fisher and I hope that you too will have a stronger bond with your Greyhound if you just get out there and spend some time with him or her. Do you have any other tips for active dog parents? Let me know in the comments below. And make sure to sign up above for our mail newsletter, it’s full of great Greyhound information. I will send you a free basic training e-book just for signing up! You can unsubscribe at any time and I will not share your e-mail address with anybody!!
Cheers and rooooos!
Edo and Fisher