Top Dog Trail Running Tips


Dog running tips to make your runs safer and more fun!


1. Scan ahead as you run. This gives you time to stop or change routes if you don’t like what you see. Rattlesnakes, stray dogs, horses, and mud are a few hazards to consider.
2. Rethink using both ear buds. Trails can be busy with mountain bikers or off-road vehicles. Running with only one or no headphones gives you the awareness necessary to prevent disaster.
3. No prong or choke collars. Rarely will your pup holler, “Hey! I’m gonna poop now!” giving you the chance to stop. Catching us mid stride seems to be their favorite game. Besides, using corrective collars risks major injury to your dog’s trachea and throat when the lead is jerked to a sudden stop. (Ditch those collars anyway! See #5 below.)
4. A good lead. We like the Stunt Puppy brand of waist belt and elastic lead. It gives just enough leeway to help with Sudden Poop Stops while not being so elastic as to feel you lose control when needed. Using a light, but wide (1″), leash is better than a thin, rope-burn causing solution. Retractable leashes are incredibly risky and should wisely be replaced with a 6′ nylon lead. Tie knots in the leash at comfortable intervals to offer you more control and less slippage.
5. There are more and more harnesses on the market as companies realize the customers want humane alternatives to prong collars. The PetSafe Easy Walk is a great model to try. If your dog is a puller, dreaming of an Iditarod win, look for one where you link the lead to the front of your pup’s chest like a Ruffwear Vest. If you’ve a running mate who easily hangs next to you, linking to a clip on their shoulders works super well.
6. Consider joint supplements sooner than later. Compared to human multivitamins, glucosamine and chondroitin have shown positive results in prolonging some age related joint wear and tear. My Aussie no longer shows aches and stiffness after a day of running!
7. Be aware of your running partner’s form. Some dogs, such as the various working breeds, may not openly display pain or discomfort. But they might slow down or run with a little hitch in their stride. Being able to extract a thorn, foxtail, glass, or caked mud sooner than later can save you days of your pup being coned or worse. A slight limp could become a full-blown strain or sprain, forcing you to carry your pup home or being stranded without help.

Using the above as a guide, you and your canine running companion should have a long career together. Remembering that you need to be the responsible one, maintaining their health and well-being, will guarantee many happy miles together.

And, as always, we’re here to help you however we can. The advice is always free!

How Dogs Drink Water: Impressive Ingestion

The next time you’re cleaning up puddles by your dog’s water bowl, try to appreciate the science behind the mess. At the American Physical Society’s Division of Fluid Dynamics meeting, researchers described the different mechanisms animals like humans, cats, and dogs use to drink. Humans, with our full cheeks, can create suction to draw in liquid.

Dottie Jo drinking water

Other animals, including dogs and cats, don’t have complete cheeks, so they’ve found other ways to lap from the bowl. A cat’s delicate flick of the tongue may seem more precise, but how dogs drink water earns them top spot for efficiency. According to the researchers, dogs use more of their tongue to slap the water, drawing up a column at the speed of about five to eight times that of gravity when switching direction from down to up.

If only straws were as effective.

The Media’s Dog Bias

Dog lies on torn-up newspaper.
“Grand Time” by AirBeagle is s licensed under CC BY 2.0.

The latest discovery in media research: people love dogs (isn’t that why you’re here?), and apparently, the media does, too. A recent paper published by researchers at the University of California, Los Angeles and the University of Miami showed stories published in the New York Times are more likely to be picked up by other publications if they involve a dog. The Internet may have been invented for cat videos, but pups still have a solid hold on print.

Australian Shepherd Rescue: A Cause for Paws this #GivingTuesday

GivingTuesday logo whiteIf you’re looking for the perfect seasonal antidote to Black Friday and Cyber Monday, you’ve found it in #GivingTuesday. The Tuesday following the Thanksgiving Day weekend is a time to cleanse your palate of consumerism and give, whether that means volunteering at a local organization or donating to your favorite charity.

This #GivingTuesday, we’re highlighting Aussie Rescue SoCal, an organization devoted to helping Australian Shepherds find forever homes in California. They provide information about how to foster a dog, how to find a new home for a dog, and a lost and found page where owners can look for lost dogs. Each month, Paws in Motion donates a portion of proceeds to Aussie Rescue SoCal — a small thanks to the group that brought Sophie into Matt’s life!

Red Merle Australian Shepherd rescued from pound.
Before: Sophie’s ride to her new home

After: Sophie lives for running!

Australian Shepherds live up to their name. They love to work! If they’re not herding, they need ample exercise to expend their energy. These dogs are agile, intelligent, and protective of their families — they love their people, and they live to please.

Despite their beauty, brains, and excellent companionship, Australian Shepherds still end up homeless. Purebred dogs make up 25 percent of those that enter local shelters, and of all shelter dogs, only 35 percent are adopted. Aussie Rescue SoCal works to ensure all Australian Shepherds in California find the loving, supportive homes they deserve.

What causes are you giving back to on #GivingTuesday?

What Not to Do to Your Dog

What not to do to your dog.

Petting a Dog’s Face or Patting Her Head
Number 3 of 11 in the series.

Do you like to be patted on the head? My guess is no. Having someone reach out and tap us on the head, no matter how lovingly, is not something most of us enjoy. It’s annoying at best and painful at worst. And we really don’t want the hands of strangers reaching toward our face. If someone were to reach their hand toward your face, I’m guessing your reaction would be to pull your head back and lean away, and get a little tense about the invasion of personal space. Yet most humans think that dogs like being patted on the head.

The reality is that while many dogs will put up with this if it’s someone they know and trust, most dogs don’t enjoy it. You may notice that even the loving family dog might lean away slightly when you reach for her face to pet her. She’ll let you because you’re the boss, but she doesn’t like it. It’s a personal space issue for dogs just as much as it is for us. This is why responsible parents teach their children to gently pet a dog’s back or rear, but don’t pat, and definitely don’t go for the dog’s face.

If you really want to reward your dog for being awesome, don’t bang on their head, but give them a rub on their rear end right by the tail. They’ll thank you for it!

Read more from the list of 11 Don’ts on the Mother Nature Network site.