Modern Life - Hectic and tiring with not enough hours in the day...
Although some "experts" believe multi-tasking is deleterious in most cases - there are some exceptions.
In my case, it's exercising my Shiba Inu and exercising myself.
Why not combine the two when possible?
Running, or in my case, slow jogging with Shiba Inu has proved to be a satisfying activity that I try to include my weekly schedule when possible.
The two most important aspects of successfully introducing your Shiba Inu to running alongside you is properly introducing training and having the right equipment.
Quick Look: Our Favorite Hands-Free Running Leashes
Hands - Free Dog Running Leash Benefits
For those of you who haven't seen one of these useful tools, a hands free dog leash is a device that usually attaches around your waist.
This type of leash runs from your waist to your dog's collar or to a harness.
Most of these leashes have some bungee cushioning to save your spine from getting jerked around too much. This allows you to keep your natural running stride without having your shoulders lurch upwards.
Hands free dog leashes allows you to keep your hands free for typical dog events such as poop scooping, correcting, and praising.
How Well Behaved Is Your Canine Running Partner?
My Shiba Inu running partner, Yae (pronounced Yai - eh) weighs in at 22 pounds, which makes her not tiny but not huge either.
When she pulls on the hands free leash, I don't feel it too much because she's small. If you have a larger dog, then you may want to carefully consider how well-behaved your dog is while on leash before going the hands-free route.
Dogs who aren't well behaved on the leash, meaning that they pull a lot, may need some extra training before you run. This will make both of you much happier while running.
The Problem With Regular Leashes
I currently love exercising with my shiba inu running partner, but that wasn't always the case.
Before switching to a hands-free leash, I used our regular walking leash.
Things got pretty uncomfortable after a few minutes. That's because I kept clutching and jerking on the leash. This brought my shoulders up and threw off my gait.
Since I wasn't getting the best workouts when I ran with my Shiba Inu, I was seriously considering not taking her along anymore.
That's when an online running article let me off to hands free leashes for Shiba Inus. I was immediately sold.
Training a Shiba Inu to Use a Hands Free Leash
I helped Yae get used to the hands free leash by using it around the house and yard.
Like many Shibas, she has a stubborn streak.
When she wants to stop, she stops.
When she's ready to run, she sprints at full speed.
This kind of unpredictable behavior doesn't make for the best running workout.
That's why we started slow. Yae got used to being on the leash, and I wasn't too demanding. In other words, we didn't start out on endurance runs.
A half-hour workout was about the maximum in the beginning. Intervals of running and walking helped her get used to keeping pace with me.
Eventually, we were running for the whole workout, and we were able to keep a fairly steady pace.
Yae is a small dog, so I don't take her for endurance runs. Typically, her maximum distance is about five miles.
Your dog may be comfortable doing more or less, which is why it is important to monitor your dog's comfort level throughout the run.
Features To Look For In a Hands Free Dog Leash
A four to six foot length typically is recommended.
A longer leash may be appropriate for smaller dogs as they are closer to the ground. If you aren't sure which length is right for you and your pup, then consider getting an adjustable length leash.
This allows you to experiment to determine what's safe and comfortable for your dog.
You'll find that there are many different kinds of hands free running leashes on the market. Some of them are all-in-one systems that include the waist belt and the leash.
Others are just a waist belt where you can attach your existing leash to the belt.
Additionally, you'll want to look at the materials used to construct the belt and leash. Some have metal components that can get heavy, especially if you're a smaller person.
Be on the lookout for waist belts that allow swiveling so your dog can run in circles around you without getting tangled. A quick-release may be helpful in case of an emergency.
Not all hands free leashes are created alike when it comes to comfort.
If you have the opportunity, try on the belt before you buy to make certain that it doesn't chafe and isn't too tight.
A belt that's uncomfortable while you're standing in the store is going to be miserable on a run.
Even the most well-behaved dog is prone to the occasional jerk or tug.
Look for a hands free leash that has an adequate shock absorption system to keep your spine in good alignment. If your dog is large or prone to lots of tugging, consider a leash with two bungee sections.
Reflectivity / LED Lights
Do you ever run in low light conditions?
If so, then a leash that's reflective or equipped with LED lights is an absolute must.
Most leashes have at least one of these features. Just make sure that the reflective strips or lights are adequate for conditions.
Car keys, cell phone, treats, poop bags and water bottles will probably need to come with you on your runs.
A hands free leash can help you tote it all with useful pockets and hooks. Make certain the model you choose has the right storage capacity.
Most hands free leashes go around your waist, but there are a few that attach around the runner's arm instead.
The arm version may be the way to go if your dog is not well behaved on leash. It will give you greater control when it's needed.
More Bonuses From Running With Your Shibes
Just like people, Shiba Inus are prone to obesity, so regular exercise is a must to keep them healthy.
When you use a hands free leash, both you and your dog get a better quality workout. It's much more comfortable for both of you, so you're able to focus on the movement.
Plus, Shiba Inus who spend most of their time indoors will reap enormous benefits from being outdoors.
The vitamin D is as essential to them as it is to you, and being outside exposes your pup to stimulating sensory experiences that enrich their lives.
You'll also discover that this shared activity brings you and your beloved pet closer. Who doesn't like to bond over a favorite pastime?
Also, be on the lookout for local races that allow you to race with your favorite running partner.
Tips For a Successful Start
Start slow when running with your shiba inu. Encourage her along the way, and use treats or clicks as positive reinforcement. Walking and running intervals are a good place to start.
Try to make these early workout sessions regular and predictable. Once or twice a week at around the same day and time is a good rule of thumb. This lets your pup learn to anticipate the fun.
Pay attention to your shiba throughout every run to make certain she's comfortable.
Dogs don't monitor their state of health as easily as we do.
She may continue to push herself even when she's feeling sick, so be on the lookout for signs like panting, tail carriage and ear position to see how she's doing.
Always go prepared with water and poop bags. If you'll be going a longer distance, consider getting your Shiba Inu some running shoes.
They look adorable and will protect her feet.
Safety Is Always First
If your shiba shows signs of illness or exhaustion or demonstrates a lack of enthusiasm, don't force her to run.
Remember that this is supposed to be fun for both of you.
If you're running with your Shiba Inu, you may want to leave your headphones at home.
It's always a good idea to be extra aware of your surroundings when you run with a dog, and music can distract you.
With their double coat, Shiba Inus can overheat pretty easily, especially in hot weather.
Keep your runs to early morning or evenings to prevent this. Also, hot asphalt can hurt your pup's feet. Avoid it when possible and use appropriate dog shoes.
Running with your Shiba Inu can be really rewarding for both of you.
Use a hands free leash for the ultimate in comfort and safety, and don't forget that a little early training goes a long way.
Our Fave Hands Free Running Leashes
The Buddy System Adjustable Hands Free Dog Leash
The Buddy System is one my favorite hands free dog leashes for a number of reasons.
For one, it's made in the USA and has excellent customer support.
Secondly, this system can be customized for easy (fast) dogs, slow dogs, and difficult "lunging" type dogs.
Basically, this running leash can be used for much more than running. It's great when for shopping when you have tons of bags but not enough hands.
There's a quick release system for emergency situations. Also, the leash can be tucked into the belt when not in use. It also comes in four different colors.
For average sized Shiba Inus, the regular Buddy System size is perfect.
If your Shiba Inu is particularly small (under 18 pounds), you may be better with the small sized Buddy System.
Check the availability and latest price of The Buddy System Adjustable Hands Free Dog Leash here.
Tuff Mutt Hands Free Dog Leash
The Tuff Mutt Hands Free Dog Leash is another excellent hands free dog leash that has the bungee "no-pull" feature built into the leash.
Because of this, it's a bit bulkier than the Buddy System leash but worth it if you have a Shiba Inu that pulls or is an especially fast runner.
A great feature of this leash is that the leash can easily glide around the belt due to the included belt ring. This is great for circumstances where you would need to have your dog change running positions - from left to right, etc.
The Tuff Mutt leash comes in seven different reflective color combos and comes with a satisfaction guarantee lifetime warranty.
Check the availability and latest price of the Tuff Mutt Hands Free Dog Leash here.
LANNEY Hands Free Dog Leash for Running Walking
The Lanney Hands Free Dog Walking, Running Leash is very similar to the Tuff Mutts running leash.
What makes this leash different is that it has a pouch attached to the waist belt for handy storing options.
Additionally, this leash has a waist belt that can be extended to 46" vs 42" for the Tuff Mutt.
Other, than these two differences and the lower price - the Lanney is another great hands free dog leash option.
Choosing between the two will solely depend on your choice of aesthetics and if you'd prefer a pouch or prefer a lighter leash for faster running.
Check the availability and latest price of the Lanney Hands-Free Dog Leash here.
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