Running with your dog can be a fun physical and mental job for you and your dog to enjoy together! If you are unsure if your dog is the right breed or age for running please consult with your veterinarian. Not all breeds do well with running so a little prior research is a smart plan. If you have cleared running with your dog by your vet, these tips and tricks are for you!
Before running with your dog, let’s talk about safety:
- Be mindful of the weather including hot or cold temperatures and humid or icy conditions.
- If you are attempting longer distances, always have a plan for water.
- Watch for behavioral signals like excessive panting or lagging behind. This might suggest that they need to take a break or stop running altogether.
- Consider your dog’s joint health. Running on a trail is always better than running on concrete.
Before teaching your dog to run with you, they must have a solid heel command. Your dog should not pull, lunge, bark, or fixate on external stimuli during a regular heel walk and the same goes for a run! When running with your dog they should be positioned on your side and they should not be leading the run or zig zagging.
Next, start small!
Physically prepare your dog by taking them on a long distance walk of four-miles or more to make sure they can handle the exercise. After that, begin building endurance. Start by running one mile. Pay attention to your dog’s behavioral signals. If your dog is signaling that they are comfortable, you can increase the distance by adding an additional mile. If your dog is showing signs that this is too much distance, you can walk half and run the other half. Just like with humans, proper warm up and cool down time is important for dogs; spending some time walking before and after a run can properly prepare and relax your pup!
Be patient! Over time, you can build your dog’s endurance to run the distance you desire.
Happy Running 🙂