These chemicals signal the reward centers of our brains, giving us the message that what we are feeling is pleasure.
They lessen both pain and anxiety as well as create feelings of well-being. Running results in higher levels of endocannabinoids in our blood, which makes us respond to running by feeling good. A recent study by researchers at the University of Arizona investigated the production of endocannabinoids in multiple species, including dogs, as a result of running. There are lots of advantages to running, including to capture prey and to avoid being captured by predators, but endurance running is still not likely to happen if it feels bad.
The researchers predicted that there would be a different chemical response to running in species with a history of endurance running compared to species whose natural history does not include running. To investigate this issue, they compared the effects of running on endocannabinoid levels in three species. Two of the species—dogs and humans—come from long lines of endurance runners over the eons.
Running has been an integral part of their evolutionary histories, even if not all of individuals of those species regularly run today. The other species, the ferret, is not a running species. Though ferrets can move pretty quickly over short stretches, running for long distances is not a part of their natural history. The experiment involved training dogs, people, and ferrets to run and walk on a treadmill and taking blood samples from their subjects before and after they ran or walked.
Not surprisingly, it was way easier to train dogs and people to do this than to train the ferrets! The blood samples taken after running from dogs and people contained highly elevated levels of one particular endocannabinoid, which is called anandamide. The blood samples from ferrets after running on the treadmill did not show elevated levels of anandamide, or any other cannabinoid. None of the species had elevated levels of any cannabinoid after walking. This study provides evidence that dogs and humans receive a chemical reward for running but that ferrets do not.
It gives our dogs pleasure to eat steak, which is why steak makes such a great reinforcement for training. Dogs are more likely to perform a behavior if doing so makes pieces of steak available. Having the reward center of the brain activated by the chemicals produced while running is a high-quality reinforcement for running, and one that has been acted on by the forces of evolution to reward people and dogs for running. In species that are endurance runners, the changes in our chemistry as a result of running and those effects on the brain help us enjoy running.
The brains of dogs and humans—both natural runners—are hardwired to enjoy running, which may have provided the evolutionary mechanism necessary for us to develop such skill at it. The quirk of brain chemistry that makes both dogs and humans love running is not universal among mammals. Ferrets, for example, derive no pleasure from running. Of course, it also suggests that Trisha is part ferret. She said I could write that, in case you were wondering. So, consider indulging your dogs the next time they are begging to run.
It turns out you are just like them—born to run! Here I am with one of my best running buddies as we share some water during our post-run happiness:. She has co-authored five books on canine behavior and training with Trisha. Eric runs or bikes with his 5 Schnauzers and last year with my 2 Terriers and then some 12 miles every other day. Something we dog mushers have always known — but nice to have scientific backup!!! I have to agree with Karen Ramstead — working with, training, and racing sleddogs brings huge rewards of pleasure and feelings of accomplishment for dog and owner alike.
I know my Bear, a husky mix?
Fascinating to learn that there is brain chemistry behind that pleasure. I think I must be part ferret, too. I had started trying to incorporate small amounts of running into my walks, with hopes to build up to actually going for a run. Never quite got there for various reasons.
Reading this makes me want to try again. And while Bear loves to run, we never made it to the running together thing. He always gets too excited and starts jumping at me and biting my ankles. Any tips on how to teach him to run nicely by my side? After I teach myself how to run? It does seem apparent that dogs enjoy running. They get so excited when they see toys that mean running is imminent frisbees, balls. Dogs seem to universally adore the Chuck-it, which goes longer distances and therefore means longer and faster running.
And of course they frequently run in play. I would like to see them test the brains of horses, another species that seems to truly enjoy running. A woman in town is offering to http: It will help some dogs but I need to move more, too: I run with my dogs Siberian huskies , well I preferably take only one, because I have them on leash and they pull me.
The one thing about running with them in this way is that they do not seem to need a warming up. They start full tilt, only slowing down after the first fifteen minutes or so. It takes getting used to… The other thing is is that they are perfect for a fart-lek training, since every now and then they see a rabbit, smell a deer etc and that means speeding up!
It is fun to run with them and it creates a bond. Anyway, when our new pups were five months old, we were planning to go for a run with our older dog but instead of a chewy my hubby gave them an energy bar for dogs. Faced with two bouncing pups we decided to take them along and see how for we would get. I on the other hand was exhausted when we got home…. I love being out in the dark, moonlight runs on frosty evenings are among the best memories I have of my previous two sibes. Janouk — who died last week at the age of eleven, but that is another story- could really run in sinc with me.
Never felt so together with him as when running or ski joring with him.
On The Run From Dogs and People [Hal Higdon] on domaine-solitude.com *FREE* shipping on qualifying offers. The third edition of Hal Higdon's classic book from. We've compiled the ultimate list of our favorite books about dogs. this national bestseller explores the relationship between humans and dogs. The men's time is running short, but White Fang's story is just beginning.
Greeting, Mireille from The Netherlands, please forgive misspellings etc… Ps thank you for your post about guilt and loss, it really helped me in this past week! Ps what I forgot to add: One of my fav quotes s from Roger Bannister; running is an art. Only after severl years of technique training am I coming lose to knowing how to run properly and using my body in the right way, and with the right -minimal- shoes. One of the things that helped me tremendously is astanga yoga practice, which includes the upward and downward dog poses, something I see my dogs practicing daily.
Pps I assume the endocannabinoids are the same as endorphins? In human medicne, as far as I know, that term is still used.
But I can certainly agree that after a run we are both much happier than we are after a normal walk! As far as the study goes, I wish they would have also included hamsters. How could any animal run for 7 hours a night and not enjoy it? I began running with my mutt pretty recently as I was taking part in a sponsored run for the local rescue centre. I was surprised how much I enjoyed it although I knew Jess would love it.
The only thing my Australian Shepherd gets more excited about than running is herding. We go about 11 miles every other day. I also have to agree with the mushers above. I wish I liked running. It has never been anything but extremely unpleasant for me. Just wondering is it really a high or does it feel like a high as your body is just throwing all its resources to compensate for stress on the body?
Just wondering what other receptors were triggered other than just the cannabinoids — as the body has so many processes.
The endocannabinoid system seems to have many other functions memory, stress response, immune function — just wondering what else goes on in the body when running other than the cannabinoids levels? I also question the idea that dogs need to be tired to be happy and balanced — for some dogs that tiredness does not lead to balance. I feel there is a lot of pressure in the media to exercise dogs and used as a solution to address some behavioural issues — think it is worth thinking about and debating?
I feel that exercise should suit the individual dog and what daily stress they are already under rather than a blanket statement or solution to a problem without looking at the individual. I run with my Border Collie, it was because of him I started running. Once I realized what competing in agility with him could be like I knew my fitness needed some improvement so we started training together. We run Cainicross style and getting his harness of the hook and sight of me pulling running clothes get him all fired up.
You may have to make changes to your dog's walking gear if he's very powerful. Fascinating to learn that there is brain chemistry behind that pleasure. But, as everyone who has struggled to maintain an exercise program knows, the ability to run means nothing without the desire to get out there and do it. Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. My breed Dalmatian were bred to run long distances behind or along side of horse drawn cairrages. Let your dog out and tell your helper to ignore any rowdy behaviors and wait for the dog to calm down.
What I am fascinated by is his level of exhaustion, it does not matter if we go for 3 or 10 miles he is a puffing panting mess, and I am a middle aged women who is not fast. If he had been running off leash with our other dog while we walked 3 miles he is not as worn out. My dog Loki, a 2-year-old German Shepherd does that too.
I love to run. I feel great after a run. Just with Seamus, guide dog extrodanar, could run along. Hope all is well with you and the family. No running for me anymore but Ashby and I walk miles in the woods and fields here in Wisconsin. Many people try running multiple times before the habit sticks. I wish you luck with your next attempt. As for helping your dog run in a way that helps you enjoy the run, this article may help. I agree with both of you that it would be fascinating to know more about how running affects other species, and your two picks—horses and guinea pigs—would top my list, too.
Maybe the researchers will continue to look into this, but I suppose it depends on getting funding for additional research. I think the quality time outdoors and together plays a big part in the joy and happiness of running with dogs. My first dog enjoyed going with me then. My second dog was small with heart issues. Has anyone around here read the book Born to run by Chris McDougall? Also very inspiring and enlightening why most of the running that is done,is not fun!
Monotonous, on asphalt, repetetive movements. I have switchted to trail running, minimal shoes and double the fun. It is like running when you were a kid. Greyhounds were bred to be sprinters, not long distance runners.
Rhodesian ridgebacks, on the other hand, were bred to cover miles of rough terrain as long distance runners in a warm climate in pursuit of game that covers miles in a day. I know pro LD human runners and they choose Rhodies as their running partners. Training and energy requirements are different for humans as well, ie the differences between a marathon runner and sprinter. In the frenzy that accompanies the Olympic Games, the media fills up with reports and video clips showing some of the remarkable physical performances that human beings are capable of.
Most of us are astonished at how fast humans can move on land and through water, how high and how far we can jump, how much weight we can lift, and how far we can throw things. Yet while we are reveling in the accomplishments of our species, it is important for us to understand that our pride over our physical prowess may be a bit overstated, since many animals that are not human are considerably stronger, swim better, and jump higher than we do.
In fact, our humble and constant companion, the dog, may be better than we humans in a number of Olympic sports events. Let us compare some world records held by dogs to the performance of human beings.
For the track events let us choose the Greyhound. It is a dog breed that has been primarily created for coursing game and racing. It has a combination of long powerful legs, a flexible spine, narrow waist, and a slim build that allows it to cover more than a body length with each stride. In addition its deep chest and huge lungs allows it to gulp in the huge amount of oxygen that it needs to sustain the exertion of running. In dog races a greyhound has been observed to reach a full speed of 72 kilometers per hour 45 mph within 30 meters or six strides from the boxes, traveling in excess of 20 meters per second for the first meters of a race.
The only other animal that can accelerate faster over a short distance is the cheetah. There is enough data from numerous dog racing and coursing events to allow us to compare the performance of Greyhounds to human world record holders in a number of track events. For the longest distance race of the Olympic Games, namely the marathon with an official distance of However we do have records from sled dogs covering that distance, usually Siberian Huskies. Obviously the comparison will not be perfect since the dogs are running in a team, and they are also handicapped by the fact that they must pull a sled carrying a load that includes a human being which should result in a slower time.
Dogs do not fare as well in the field events, specifically the jumping competitions. Only two jumps seem to allow a reasonable comparison between humans and canines. The world record high jump for a dog is held by a Greyhound named Cindy at the Purina Dog Challenge. She set the mark at 1. For the long jump we have to modify the event a bit in order to contrast the performance of dogs and humans. The best approximation of long jump performance for dogs is dock jumping.
This event involves the dog running a distance of around 40 feet to the end of the dock and then jumping into the water. The scoring is like the Olympic long jump where the longest of three jumps determines the winner. The record distance for this event is held by a Malinois named Vhoebe at the Purina Challenge, where the dog managed to leap 9. This is somewhat better than Mike Powell's long jump record of 8. So if dogs were allowed to compete in the Olympics against humans, based on the existing data available to us, it seems likely that the only field event that humans would definitely win would be the high jump, while the long jump would be a hard fought competition with a slight edge for the dog.
However on the track, in all of the purely running events, ranging from the meter dash all the way up through the marathon, the gold medals would clearly go to the dogs.
In fact, in the marathon, after crossing the finish line the dog would have time for a half hour long nap before it's world record holding human competitor would complete his run. Stanley Coren is the author of many books including: May not be reprinted or reposted without permission. Huskies don't always run because they want to. Iditarod dogs are beaten into submission. Jane Stevens, a former Iditarod dog handler, describes a dog beating in her letter published by the Whitehorse Star Feb. Be assured the beating was clearly not within an 'acceptable range' of 'discipline'.
Indeed, the scene left me appalled, sick and shocked. After viewing an individual sled dog repeatedly booted with full force, the male person doing the beating jumping back and forth like a pendulum with his full body weight to gain full momentum and impact. He then alternated his beating technique with full-ranging, hard and fast, closed-fist punches like a piston to the dog as it was held by its harness splayed onto the ground. He then staggeringly lifted the dog by the harness with two arms above waist height, then slammed the dog into the ground with full force, again repeatedly, all of this repeatedly.