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Running with your GSP

run with gspWe have many applicants that apply to adopt a German Shorthaired Pointer because they can be such good running partners. A GSP can also be good motivation to stick with your running routine.  Running can be a wonderful way to exercise an athletic and energetic GSP  – as well as their person!

Vigorous exercise, like running, helps a dog burn off extra energy and releases good endorphin’s, often making for a happier, less bored, better behaved canine companion.  Just a short walk or self-exercise in the backyard is seldom enough for this energetic breed!  If you are one of the many GSP parents who run, or would like to run with your dog, we have put together some “pointers” just for you!

  1. Make sure you have the right equipment.  Please do not run with a leash attached to a collar around your dogs neck as this can pull at your dogs back. A harness is a more ergonomic tool to attach a leash for your run.   There are many harnesses available on the market, just make sure the leash is attached to your dog’s harness mid-way down the dogs back.
  2. Use a 6 foot leash to run with your GSP.  We find that this is equipment that cannot be improved on.  Retractable leashes can allow your dog to dart off and lose focus on the walk so we really prefer an old standard 6 foot leash.
  3. Inspect your dogs paws before a long run.  Are their nails too long?  If so make sure those are shortened before running.  If your GSP has sensitive paws you may need to get booties or paw protectors to help keep their paws from being ripped or sore.
  4. Do not feed your GSP two hours before or after a long run.
  5. If the weather is hot, bring water both for you and your GSP to ensure they are not overheating or getting dehydrated.  Dogs cool off by panting, not sweating, so continuing to give them small amounts of water while you are running can help them regulate their body temperature.
  6. Please be courteous and clean up after your GSP.  Bringing proper bags or ways to dispose of waste will allow your cities and counties to continue to allow dogs on their trails and paths.
  7. If it is hot you may want to keep a ‘kiddie pool’ partially filled so your GSP can jump in to cool off when you return.  You may also want to run in the early mornings or later in the evenings when temps are cooler. Not only is the heat an issue during the other times of day, but so is the temperature of the pavement and sidewalk! Imagine running barefoot on the street when it was 90 degrees out – that’s what it would be like for your dog. If the temperatures are extreme, don’t run at all!
  8. If your GSP is new to running you will want to start with short runs.  Begin with 1-2 mile runs regularly for a week.  Work up to 3-4 mile runs for another week slowly working up from there.
  9. Stick to a regular schedule.  You want to build up your dogs’ stamina and, to do so, make sure you are going out for regular runs with them.
  10. Listen to your dog.  If they slow down and appear tired slow down for them.  Don’t push them too hard.
  11. If your GSP is under 18 months it is best to wait until they are older to run with them.  During the first 18 months, a GSP’s growth plates are still growing and forming; allowing them to grow without the vigor of long runs may help avoid health issues later in their lives.
  12. It is always a good idea to visit your vet to ensure your GSP is in prime health and fit to run with you.
  13. Enjoy times like this with your GSP!  They are priceless and form some of our favorite memories with our dogs!

Having said all of that please do not get disappointed when you are huffing and puffing but yet your GSP looks like it is hardly working. These dogs are born to run!

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