Running with Your Dog – A Guide for Active Dog Owners
Can I take my dog jogging with me?
Yes, running is a great way to keep you and your dog in top physical shape and enjoy nature while having fun. below is some information that will help you get started.
What should my dog learn before going running with me?
Commands and cues are what is most important for your fur baby to learn. Having good behavior, following commands and being able to focus when required make it easier for you and your dog to enjoy every activity you may choose to do together, running included.
Are all dogs good running partners?
Unfortunately, no, all dogs are not good running partners. Almost all dogs love to be wild at one time or another, chewing shoes and burying socks but that isn’t the same energy that is needed for a run that requires endurance and good health.
For a dog to be a good candidate for running with you they should be healthy and not too young or old. While certain breeds do make better runners than others due to genetic makeup, certain other dogs do not. There are however plenty of dogs who will make excellent candidates as a runner partner regardless of breeding.
Since puppies’ bones are developing it is not a good idea to take them running until they are over the age of 1 ½ years old. For dogs who are much older it is discouraged due to the stress on bones and joints. This doesn’t mean that your beloved puppy or delightful senior dog should be left out of activities, taking them for a walk with some playtime is a great way to actively spend time with them.
Certain factors such as if you will be running a short distance (anything under 3 miles) or long distance (which is anything over that), and what type of terrain you will be running on will determine if your fur baby is the right partner for you.
Personality and temperament and weight are also things to consider when deciding if your dog is right for this activity.
Some of the Best Dogs for a Jogging Partner
- Siberian Husky
- Border Collie
- Russell Terrier
- Australian Shepherd
- Standard Poodle
- Alaskan Malamute
- English Setter
- Labrador Retriever
This is just a short list of possible dog breeds that are good for running. Mixed breeds can also make excellent running partners too. While their heritage may not be known they can still be perfect if they are healthy and well behaved.
Dogs that are in the Brachycephalic category are better suited to other activities due to respiratory issues.
These dogs include:
Why not try some fun backyard activities instead of jogging with these breeds?
Teaching my Dog to Jog With me
Prior to running with your dog, they should have the basic commands of Sit, Stay, leave it and Come mastered.
If they can follow these commands you can then teach your pooch to learn to walk on a leash that is loose, looking like a J.
To do this you will need a 6-foot leash, a buckle collar that is flat and a bunch of tiny treats. When walking them on a short outing if your dog begins to pull forward you will need to stop and take several steps in reverse. While you are doing this call their name in a happy voice and when they return to your side you offer a treat.
After a moment begin moving forward again with them reward them every couple of steps. As you continue walking, each time they revert to pulling you will repeat the process listed above.
Continue this, increasing the steps forward before giving a treat. Then as they progress along only give treats randomly at surprise moments.
With time and patience your dog will understand the importance and reward of staying by your side.
When you begin running you will need to use this method, to be the reward, instead of that bunny running past. Offering tiny pieces of extra special treats just for running beside you will be that reward.
The next step is to choose which side you want them to walk or run on. Begin by walking and only reward them when they walk on the correct side, not on the other or in front of you. Continue to do this on walks until they have mastered this skill.
Now you can begin to periodically take short bursts of running with your dog.
While walking, use a cue like Let’s Move, then begin running, rewarding with a treat as he does this. When it is time to slow down you can say Slow Down as you do this and reward with a treat for him following your command.
Over the course of numerous walking sessions this should be continued repeatedly, increasing the running time, until your dog performs consistently. This also works to naturally increase your dog’s endurance.
Having a dog who can run beside you and still be happy will make for a happy trek for you both.
Items I Should Bring Along When Running With my Dog
- Water bottle and plenty of treats
- Poop bags
- Dog booties, including extras
- A cooling vest for warm days
- A coverup for very cool days
- Comb or brush and a towel
- A small dog first aid kit
Tips for Keeping my Pooch Safe while Jogging
- Take a trip to the veterinarian prior to running to ensure your dog’s overall health.
- Watch for signs of exhaustion that include a fast heart rate, heavy breathing and your dog lagging behind.
- Pack plenty of water for when you are on the run.
- Keep an eye out for limping or unusual walking which could mean injuries.
- Feel their nose periodically for dryness which is a sign of dehydration.
- Don’t run during extremely hot weather.
Prior to Going for a Run With my Dog
- Refresh your dog’s cues and commands, complete with treats for reinforcement.
- Ensure that they are well rested, have a reasonable amount of energy and feeling good.
- Take a short walk before and after the run to warm up your dog and cool your dog down.
- Notice if the area is loaded with distractions or people, if the area is too crowded choose another location or time.
- Provide plenty of breaks for water, rest and some treats for good behavior.
While I am Running With my Dog
- Watch out for distractions, adjustment your run accordingly to keep your dog on track and out of danger.
- Have etiquette on the trail, don’t assume everyone runner or other person you come across loves dogs.
- Take frequent breaks for rest and hydration.
- Always clean up after your dog and dispose of or carry out.
After my Dog and I Have Finished Running Together
- Brush or comb to remove debris or particles from your dog’s fur coat.
- Inspect thoroughly for ticks, cuts and other injuries.
- Take a well deserved break in a cool area
A Word About Dog Paws while Jogging
While you will be wearing sneakers to protect your feet from all the diverse territory you will be covering during a run, your fury best friend only has paws. During a short run around the grassy yard your dogs’ paws won’t suffer any damage, but on different surfaces and for a longer length of time your dogs’ paws will start to get sore and perhaps red or injured.
Prior to taking them on a run you may want to consider dog booties. Your dog can enjoy the run right alongside you while keeping their feet safe minimizing stops.
Bonus – Keeping It Cool
While running is discouraged during hot days, there may still be times when you and your pooch are running during warm weather.
The choice is always yours as to whether you should take your dog with you or not. The good news is, there are ways to keep your dog cool while running out of doors.
One good choice is a cooling vest that reflects the heat of the sun away while chilling your already hot dog.
The second option is to choose a run that passes a lake or other body of water where you both can take a short swim before continuing. Combine these two options and it is a recipe for chill and fun in the hot summer sun.
Running is a great everyday activity to keep your healthy while being out in nature. Having your dog along can be the perfect way to spend an early morning together. Before the stresses of the day set in you can both get in a workout and spend some quality time together. Once your canine companion has mastered jogging by your side why not try cycling?
Stay tuned next week for Surfing with your Doggie!