Dash into the New Year
How to prepare for the biggest walk of the year!

Blog Post

Doggy Dash is right around the corner and now is the perfect time for you and your dog to prepare for the big day! Follow our training tips below to make sure this is the best Dash yet!

Start small!

Just like most people don’t wake up one day to run a marathon, if your dog is more of a ‘couch potato’ than a ‘dasher,’ you’ll need to start practicing! A 2K or 5K walk is longer than it seems, especially for a dog who hasn’t had much exercise. So start small! A short walk around the neighborhood every morning or evening is a wonderful way to reacquaint your dog with an active lifestyle. Start with a block or two, then work up to a few more, and so on. Think of it as a “Dog Bed to 5K”plan for your dog. 

The Doggy Dash is not a timed event or race, so for most of our participants, the “Dash” is more of a leisurely stroll. If you are hoping to train your dog to run the 2K or 5K, follow some of the tips located here!

Things to consider:

  • Your dog’s age: Some dogs in their golden years may not be able to handle a walk as long as the Dash, so you may want to invest in a stroller or other option for them to take a break! Puppies under 4 months should stay at home due to Parvovirus concerns.
  • The weather: The weather is cool now, but as temperatures start to warm up, you will want to pick the most optimum time of the day for a long walk (especially for brachycephalic breeds like Bulldogs, Frenchies and Pugs). As the temperatures start rising, these breeds require certain precautions. 
  • It’s just for fun: The Doggy Dash is meant to be a fun event! If your dog is a runner, that’s great! If your dog poops out and can’t finish, that’s fine! No one will judge you, we are all out there to have a good time.
  • If walking just isn’t for you:  Never fear, the Bark in the Park Festival has it all! From 10 am – 2:00 pm, enjoy food trucks, a beer garden, games, prizes and more. (We won’t tell that you skipped the walking part!)

Brush up on your leash manners!

Not only does your dog need to be in shape to walk the Dash, but he or she will also need to brush up on leash manners! With over 5000 participants, Fido or Fluffy will be seeing MANY other dogs on leash. You may need to reacquaint them with seeing other people and dogs out in the community by visiting a local park for a walk or visiting a dog-friendly patio or business (or one of our monthly Yappy Hours!). This is a great time to experiment with different harnesses, which can help make walks a little easier! 

If your dog needs a little more help, or is starting from scratch, there is plenty of time to sign up for some of our behavior classes. These classes will not only help with leash manners, but assist with polite greetings, name recall and more. 

Make sure your vaccines are up-to-date!

With so many other dogs in attendance at the Dash, we require dogs be current on vaccinations! Visit our Monday and Tuesday Low-Cost Vaccination Clinic to update the core vaccines (like the Distemper/Parvo vaccine, and Rabies), as well as others that may protect your dog from possible exposure (Bordetella for kennel cough, Leptospirosis, Canine Influenza and more). Of course, it’s also a great idea to get your dog spayed or neutered prior to the event if they are not already…we don’t want our canine dashers getting too friendly out there on the course! 

We hope you find these tips helpful, and we can’t wait to see you on Saturday, April 27th for the 26th Annual Doggy Dash! Did you know you can fundraise for the Doggy Dash too? Why not turn your training into cash and ask for pledges for every mile you and your pooch accomplish together? You can win some awesome prizes along the way!