5 Tips For Running With Your Dog

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July 7, 2013
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It’s getting warmer and warmer, summer is here and that means that it’s becoming great weather for exercising outside. I tend to let my gym membership lapse in the summer because I take up running, swimming, and other outdoor activities instead of being in a gym for a few hours a week. I used to dog walk for a few years and nice weather like spring and summer were great times to jog the dogs, but there were some that I wasn’t able to do that with.

If you want to turn your dog into your new running partner, it can take some time and retraining for your pup and you. Dogs will run and pace but they may pace faster than you, get easily distracted, and have to stop to pee. This can mean that your run isn’t smooth, your form gets a bit muddled, or you end up hurting yourself from abrupt yanks on the leash. Before embarking on a run, it would be best to make sure you and your pup are on the same page.

5 Tips To A Better Run With Your Dog

  1. Keep it light. For the same reasons that you keep your own running gear to a minimum, keep your dog’s as simple as possible as well. The less equipment your pet wears, the more naturally you will both move. Don’t use retractable leashes, a 6 ft leash that you hold in one hand or clip to your waist gives you control and lets your dog know the pace.
  2. Most runners follow some sort of training program, if your dog is new to this routine, start slow and keep runs short. Your dog needs to build endurance and you both need to make sure the run will be safe. A walk that involves a few blocks of jogging is a great way to start. It also helps to reinforce the commands of sitting, staying, and walking with you. Your dog’s body needs to adjust to the new routine so take it slow and give it a week before adding a little more time or distance or speed. Pay attention to your dog’s reaction to runs, just because you feel great doesn’t mean your dog does after 5 miles.
  3. Teaching or remind your dog the basic commands such as wait, slow, and heel. Once your dog has these commands down, introduce the command, “Turn.” This is a cue that you are changing the path to a new direction and cuts down on the chances of you tripping over your pup. Start wiuth walks to introduce “Turn” and try a few small jogs. It informs your dog that a change of pace is coming and to follow your lead.
  4. Make sure your pup is well-socialized. You’ll be eventually running by other people, dogs, and may run in a marathon or doggie dash one day. It’s important to know that your dog can focus on the run and not want to engage in any behaviors that are annoying to other dogs and owners. If needed, think about enrolling in a positive reinforcement class, working on being in crowded areas, and helping your dog gain experience with situations before taking on that 5K.
  5. Learn to read your dog’s body language. Canines heat up fast and will often keep going even if they’re hot or exhausted. Dogs only sweat through their paws, not their skin, and mainly release heat through panting; in addition, your dog is wearing a fur coat, making him less adept at running in the heat. Your dog can also get aches and injuries, have equipment rubbing or just become too exhausted to keep going. Think about running in early mornings or late evenings when the temperature hasn’t reach it highest point.

Good luck and have fun with your new exercise partner!
Image from The Jogging Dog

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