Who wants to know if a cocker spaniel can run long distances? Where are we running to? Is someone chasing us with a brush? Will there be snacks? How long is long distance, exactly?
A cocker spaniel makes an excellent partner to run with. Their eager-to-please nature makes them ready to go in a moments notice and their moderate energy levels allow them to have sustained agility and endurance to finish the run with you. It’s crucial, however, that you work them up slowly to the longer, more taxing runs.
I am not a medical professional, a doctor of any kind, nor did I go to medical school. They wouldn’t let me in. I can read though and my comprehensive use of Google is far superior to that of a typical canine. Not to mention, I am a cocker spaniel and we are discussing cocker spaniels in this post which unavoidably makes me the key note and expert on the topic.
Disclaimer: The Can My Dog articles contain information based on the individual research and opinions of the author of the site – who just so happens to be a dog. How you utilize the information given is completely up to you. Proceed at your own risk.
Exercise is Essential to Longevity
Here’s the thing, humans. We (cocker spaniels) are incredible running partners, but just like you, we need to be in shape and we need to stay in shape.
Our quality of life exponentially increases the healthier we are and this is something our humans can help us control. Obviously there are some extenuating circumstances that can be factored in, but for the most part a healthy diet and regular jogs will keep us in tip-top shape.
Let’s set some ground rules early on and clarify exactly what ‘long-distance’ actually means.
1-2 miles is moderate and anything over 3 miles at once is long distance. Keep this in mind as we progress throughout this article.
Please also remember: We get sore too and because we never want to disappoint you, we may not let you know that the last run made us too sore to go again today.
It’s important to be mindful of this and to progress in a steady manner so that our bodies can acclimate to the stressors being placed on it.
Injuries are no good for anybody. We want to keep running with you – pain free.
Healthy Appetite Makes Running Your Cocker Spaniel a Necessity
Okay. This one feels like a personal dig. Did my human write these headers? She’s been telling me I’m looking a little thick lately.
Personally, I say all good things are thick.
Peanut butter. Am I right?
Let me put all the cards out on the table just to say… Cocker Spaniels like to eat. Plain and simple. Which makes gaining weight something to be properly monitored by our humans.
Trust me when I say this is 100% up to you to portion and prioritize. I’m certainly not going to say, ‘oh, a delicious bowl of food. No thanks. I’m full.’
Quite the contrary. So, be mindful, humans.
I’m letting you in on this gluttonous secret of ours so that you can truly understand the importance of continued exercise. If we get partnered with a human who loves to run, we will love to run with them and in turn maintain our healthy figures.
This is the goal after all, right?
Long story short, fam: Not only are we awesome runners, but we need to be ran on a consistent basis. You know, for cardiovascular heath and all that other crap.
Training Protocol. Starting from Scratch.
I generally like to air on the side of caution. Especially when discussing exercise and the overall well-being of a pup.
I’ve outlined a comprehensive check list for you humans to follow as you begin to dip you paw in the waters of family jogs.
Step 1: Is your dog old enough?
Cocker Spaniels reach full growth around 12 months (1 year) old. Both male and female cocker spaniels grow at the same rate, reaching height maturity somewhere between 8 and 12 months of age.
While their musculature system will continue to adapt and grow, their bones will no longer be at heightened risk of injury during physical activity. Be sure that your cocker spaniel has celebrated at least one birthday before you really start grooming him or her for the Spartan races.
Step 2: Schedule a vet visit.
Gross. I can’t even believe I’m mentioning this on here. We all know how I feel about Dr. Stinky McTouchMeTooMuch vet’s office. But my lawyers are forcing me to add the “consult your medical professional before partaking in any physical activity or workout regimen“ legal jargon hoop-la.
Kidding. I don’t have any lawyers.
Step 3: Go for a really long walk.
Start with a fairly flat route.
This way your cocker spaniel can get accustomed to getting out, stretching his legs, pumping some blood through his body, and elevating his heart rate.
Step 4: Go for a hike.
This kicks the intensity up a bit, while remaining a gradual and natural progression from flat land walks. Still take it relatively easy here, especially if neither one of you are avid hikers.
The hills and uneven terrain will increase blood flow and heart rate naturally and force adaptation. Try to do at least one intense hike per week.
Step 5: Take it back to the roads and speed up.
Let’s kick it, boys. I feel the need for speed.
Do you want to know the trick?
Run your cocker spaniel little faster every single day. This is called progressive overload and if done correctly, you’ll be running 4 minute miles in no time.
Set small goals with your pup and knock them out, one day at a time.
Cocker Spaniel Run Safety 101
I feel like I shouldn’t have to say this, but it’s been my experience that if it seems like common sense, and smells like common sense, then you need to scream it even louder and make print outs for people to staple to their foreheads.
- If it’s 95 degrees outside, don’t run. It’s too hot for all that.
- Always, always, ALWAYS have water for you and your pup.
- If it’s below 20 degrees outside, don’t run. It’s too cold for all that.
- If you are running in cooler temperatures, get your dog a running coat to help retain body heat.
- Are you running on hot pavement? Are you wearing shoes? Well, we’re not. Get us some of that fancy paw wax to protect our pads without restricting our movement with those completely ridiculous dog shoe things. Get all the way out of here with those.
- Stop your run no matter where you are in the course if your cocker spaniel shows signs of any of the following: excessive amounts of drool, glazed over eyes, elevated heart rate (use good judgement here – obviously their heart rate will be elevated during a run), excessive thirst, dark red gums, anxious behavior, whimpering or whining, excessive shivering, or limping of any kind.
This stuff isn’t rocket science.
If you need it when you run, chances are we’ll need it when we trot along beside you.
The biggest rule of thumb when taking your cocker spaniel on a run – pay attention. Watch us and we’ll watch you.
Safety first, always.
Conclusive Thoughts from a Dog Who Could Use a Little More Runs in His Life
I’m talking to you, Ma.
Let’s get the endorphins swimming, people. Cocker spaniels love to run, play, swim, and fetch. We’re athletic specimens. You should see my tennis ball catching skills – truly something to behold.
Final answer: YES! Run with your cocker spaniels. It’s great for your beer belly and our peanut butter pouch.
And as always, Live, Love, Laugh, and Scratch our (peanut butter) bellies often.
Love you guys,
P.S. If you’re new to this world, you may want to check out my Ultimate Guide for First Time Dog Parents. It’s a great reference to get you started on this journey.
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