Shiba Inus are incredibly athletic and agile dogs who require a lot of exercise in order to stay mentally and physically stimulated. A great form of exercise for both dog and owner is running. A good dog is a tired dog, and running is one of the most efficient ways to achieve deep-sleep puppy snores. Before starting any running regimen for the first time, there are a few things to consider.
Consult a Veterinarian
Have a veterinarian evaluate your dog before starting him or her on any regimented running program. A common health complaint in Shiba Inus is joint and bone disorders, such as hip and elbow dysplasia. Ask your veterinarian whether a high-impact activity will be physically okay for your dog.
A common mistake people make is starting their Shiba Inu with too many miles at once. Even though a Shiba Inu seems to have endless energy, that does not mean he or she can handle immediately heading out for a 30 minute run. A good way to transition your dog into running is to start with the run-walk-run method. Begin by alternating one minute of running with one minute of walking. Over time, slowly increase the amount of time spent running, and decrease the amount of time spent walking. Once your dog can run one mile consecutively, you can begin to increase mileage.
Protect Paw Pads
If planning to run your dog primarily on cement or asphalt surfaces, you will have to slowly acclimate your dog’s paws to the abrasive surface. One way is to alternate running on grass and asphalt, and slowly increase the amount of time spent on the latter. Alternatively, you can invest in shoes or booties, or specially formulated lotions that can be purchased at specialty dog stores.
Dogs are unable to sweat, which makes it difficult for them to cool themselves off while running. With the thick Shiba Inu double coat, these dogs are especially at risk of over-heating. Be sure to bring water for your dog and take frequent breaks if running in warm weather.
Invest in a good halter/leash
Running with your dog is all fun and games until he or she sees a squirrel or rabbit and dislocates your shoulder. Investing in a good harness will give you better control over your dog, and is also safer for your dog’s neck and throat. A leash specially designed for running, with a cushioned handle and elastic design, can also make running with your Shiba more comfortable.
Exercising with your Shiba Inu should be a fun activity for everyone involved. Do not take your dog on runs that you are intending to take seriously, as it can easily become frustrating if frequent potty or sniff breaks occur. Instead, cherish this time as a fun activity the two of you can do together, while still achieving a great workout that will hopefully leave your Shiba Inu tired and worn out … at least for a few hours!