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Spring Training with Pets


With the snows melting and spring looming large, it’s the perfect time to shed those winter pounds for both you and your pets.

Options abound for working out with your best friend – from skijoring and urban mushing to running and wild workouts. We wanted to learn of the tricks and were honored to speak with the Team ASPCA experts, Dr. Katherine (Kat) Miller and Coach Spencer Casey, to learn the basics of working out with your pets.

Here are some valuable tips to make exercise fun for the entire family. And if you are successful in following them, it won’t be long before you’ll be signing up with Team ASPCA to participate in a fund-raising marathon!

Begin Slowly

Dogs need time to move into a new workout regime. Start slow and remember that your pets have spent most of the winter on the couch. Always begin the season with a thorough vet check and gauge your pets endurance.


Dogs need to stretch just as we do. Once you’ve decided your pets will be training with you, begin with some doggie yoga (doga) and practice some stretches with your pets. It’s a great way to bond with your pets.

Measure Your Progress

Monitor your pets activity levels with a Tagg GPS tracker. Not only does it keep track of your pets (and your own) location while you’re on a run, it will monitor your pets activity levels. This is a fantastic device to keep on your pet for security and exercise. By assigning a score to each level of activity, you will be able to monitor physical information for each of your pets, as well as track changes in behavior and patterns of activity.

Run Like A Dog

Dogs have a unique way of moving: they run for a bit, stop and sniff an area, then run some more. Encourage your dog to sniff and explore his world. He will be that much happier to join you on your longer runs, and it’s a great opportunity for you to smell the roses (and stretch). It won’t be long before your pet will be as focused on the task of running as you are, but it’s important to give them adjustment time.

Safety First…

If running at night, be sure you and your pet are properly illuminated and easy to see from oncoming traffic. Puplight is an excellent collar that illuminates the road way up to 50 feet – very useful if running in an unlit area. There are also some fantastic collars (such as Dog-E-collar). These collars and leashes will help keep your pets safe from oncoming traffic.


There are certain commands that every animal should know. “Come” and “Drop” are the two more important.  Always make sure you have an emergency recall in the event of a slipped collar or dropped leash and never let your pets eat anything they find on the street. If you teach your dog only two commands in their life, these are the two you should focus on.

Leashes, Collars and Quick Release, Oh my!

Don’t tie a leash around your waist or your bicycle’s frame. This is how serious injuries occur. There are a variety of safety belts and harnesses on the market that will you can wear, which allow for quick release in the event of an emergency. Be sure your pets are always wearing proper ID, are properly microchipped, and are wearing (preferably) a Tagg GPS Tracker. It just makes good sense for the safety of you and your pet.

Weather Awareness: Hot Sidewalks, Cold Pavement

Make sure your pets paws are protected from the elements. If you can’t walk on the street in stocking feet, you should probably make sure your pets aren’t walking on it either. During the summer, pavement temperatures can exceed temperatures of 180 degrees – and in winter, paws suffer from exposure to wet, cold snow. Be aware of your surroundings at all times.

Fun Events To Support Animal Rescue

Team ASPCA is the national endurance training and fundraising program of the ASPCA, dedicated to helping animal lovers walk, run or cycle toward providing life-saving programs and services to millions of animals nationwide. Members of Team ASPCA participate in world-renowned marathons, half marathons, cycling and other major endurance events across the country to raise funds, support our mission and raise awareness for animal rescue.

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