Anyone with a high-energy dog knows the value of regular exercise. Daily walks and romping in the yard are great, but what if your pooch is still bouncing off the walls? You might consider training your dog to be your jogging partner.

There are a few steps to take before going out for a run for the first time. Make sure you have a sturdy leash that is 6 feet or shorter, as well as a sturdy collar or harness the dog cannot slip free from. Also, you will need to determine if your dog is in good enough shape to keep up with you while running for an extended period of time. Consider starting your exercise journey with long walks and then working your way up to short runs.

Your dog will also need good walking skills before you can expect to transition to running. If your dog pulls on the leash while on a walk, stop walking until she releases the pressure, then resume. This teaches her that she only moves forward when the leash is loose. If your dog stops sniffs constantly, teach her a “leave it” command and practice this on walks.

Once your pup is great on walks, start with short runs around the neighborhood. Practice the same skills and commands you used while walking but at a faster pace. Be careful not to stop and start too quickly in a way that might injure your dog. She may be confused about the pace at first, but after repeated sessions she should get the hang of it.

Keep your runs short and fun and go the same route every time at first. You both need to build up your stamina for longer sessions, and pushing yourselves too fast too soon can be dangerous.

You will want to have specific spots where you stop and let your dog sniff or rest. Stop at these same spots each time you run so that she is used to stopping there. This discourages random stops. If she does hit the brakes, verbally encourage her to keep going with a bright, cheery voice until you get to your regular stopping point.

You will want to bring water for your dog to drink or plan your stopping points where she can have access to clean water.

Running with your dog is not only great exercise for both of you, but it is also a wonderful bonding experience. Together, you can achieve fitness and weight loss goals, relieve stress and strengthen your relationship.

Pet of the week

Kit Kat
Kit Kat

Sometimes friendly, sometimes not, Kit Kat is not ready to be a family pet. She’s looking for an indoor home and job as a mouser or guard cat. Because she’s declawed, she must be an indoor cat. She does not get along with other animals.

If you can hire/adopt Kit Kat, call the shelter at 812-988-7362.

Fair special

Look for the SPOT booth at the Brown County Fair to sign up to get your pet fixed for $5.