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Veterinarian and run coach Cari Setzler runs a six-week “Fit With Fido” course in Crystal Lakes, Ill., and offers these tips.
1. I recommend always having your pet on a leash, but you absolutely must in areas where a leash is required. You’ll find three to four feet is more than enough. Don’t use the extended leashes, as they can become easily tangled, tripping you, your dog or other people.
2. Problems can arise quickly, even if you have a well-behaved dog. On a road or sidewalk, your dog can leave your side for just a minute and get hit. Stay aware of your dog, cars, bikes and other pedestrians.
3. Even if you have the most laid-back dog in the world, never let him approach other dogs. You don’t know how the other dog will react. There’s always a first time. “Don’t worry, he’s friendly” really means, “He hasn’t bitten anybody yet!”
4. All trail users have the right to use the trails, roads and sidewalks without being approached by a dog. Not everyone loves dogs, but if they do, they still may not want to worry about stopping to greet yours while they’re exercising.
5. If someone asks to pet your dog, if you say yes, have him sit and wait to be approached.
6. When someone is going to pass you, shorten your leash and get your dog right at your side, ideally with you between your dog and the passing person. If this cannot be done safely, step to the side.
7. Poop happens, but no one wants to step on it. Plan ahead and bring baggies to pick up after your pet and dispose of it in the proper place.
Try these accessories to keep your running partner strong and safe for miles.