Wimbledon Common held the first Bark Run yesterday, seeing dogs and owners race to get the fastest time and some tasty treats at the end.
Bark Run was a three kilometre course with obstacles such as the Downward Dog and Speedy Slalom, designed to switch up the regular day-to-day walks between dog and owner.
There was also a 1km version for shorter legged dogs, or those not used to exercise.
It was organised and held by tails.com, a company which tailors dog food for canines of all breeds, shapes, sizes and nutritional needs.
The event was kicked off by double gold Olympic medallist Victoria Pendleton and her beloved canine Vala, and also included an appearance from TV presenter Lorraine Kelly with her dog Angus.
Over 180 dogs and their owners attended and were treated to a place on the podium at the finish line, a refreshing paddle, and some special treats.
Sean McCormack, head vet at tails.com explained the inspiration behind Bark Run.
Sean said: “We really wanted to celebrate dog owners and dogs and the relationships they have, because we’ve all had a pretty bad year this year.
“We wanted to get out and do walkies with a difference this summer, and we tailored it so owners can decide what they want to do.”
Carolyn Menteith, a dog behaviourist was also at the Wimbledon Common event providing her expertise.
Carolyn said: “It’s so easy to get into a routine with our dogs, especially since we’ve just come through 16 months of lockdown.
“You get into that routine where you go to the park, plod round the park, do the same kind of walk every day, seven days a week, and your dog is kind of like ‘this is really boring’.
“This is helping owners understand that there is so much you can do with your dog’s when you’re out, and everything improves the bond and the relationship, and it’s something that you do together.”
The experts also had some tips and advice for dog owners, to keep our canines happy and healthy.
Sean said: “Start slow and take it at their pace. We don’t want to push dogs and overheat them if they’re not used to exercise.
“If your dog is slightly older maybe and has stiff joints, then regular exercise is actually good for them but it needs to be low impact.
“Like we say, everyone is different, adapt your level of exercise and intensity of exercise to your dog’s physical fitness.”
Carolyn’s top tip was to never underestimate how much you mean to your dog.
She added: “Talk to your dog more, play with your dog more, and interact with your dog more.
“We have our friends, our families, our social lives, our work, we’ve got so much.
“All our dogs have is us, and we have to live up to that responsibility.”
To find out more information about Bark Run: Walkies Gone Wild and tail.com, click here.