Dogs are great companions and can also be some of the best running partners. A dog’s natural instinct is to run, and if you have a dog chances are they are full of energy that is just waiting to be released.
Here are some tips and suggestions to turn your dog into an amazing running buddy.
Depending on your dog’s level of energy, some practicing may be in order. Just because the dog is high energy, it doesn’t mean he has a high level of endurance. If you have access to a large area that the dog can run in, take advantage. Go out and get him running whether it be after a ball or with you. Once you see signs of the dog slowing down, or getting tired, take a break and play later. Activities like this will make the dog stronger and get him used to running for longer periods of time.
Teach Leash Manners
If you have taught your dog how to walk on a leash this part will be much easier than if not. If your dog runs every which way while going for an afternoon walk, it becomes dangerous for both of you if you start running together without fixing this issue. Teaching your dog to walk on one side of you only helps to eliminate them tripping you up while running, and take it from me, it’s not fun to skid down the sidewalk on your shoulder because your dog jolted in front of you. If you have a dog who pulls ridiculously I recommend getting a leader. When he pulls you during the run, the leader will force his head to turn to the side. Dogs don’t like this and they learn very quickly that the pulling action is what is goofing them up. After using this for a few runs the dog usually gets the picture.
Teaching your dog key words will also help them understand what it is that you want from them. Telling them to “Stop” or “Wait” means the obvious and can be used when approaching a stop sign or street.
Running Off Leash
If your dog follows commands and is not animal or people aggressive running off leash can be an option. I definitely would not recommend doing so in area of high traffic whether it be cars or humans with other animals. Just because your dog listens to you, doesn’t mean that other dogs listen to their owners. I don’t run with my dog off leash simply for the fact that I know he won’t listen to me if approached by another person or animal. I have encountered numerous dogs that are just running around and harassing my dog and I while trying to get our run in and their owners think it’s funny. If your dog does the same thing, keep the leash on.
Having adequate amounts of water for both you and your dog is important. If you plan on going on a long run take a hydration pack with you with water for the dog also. The time of day will also play a factor in how much water you should bring. Dogs are unable to sweat so they cool themselves off by panting. Take breaks if your dog is panting excessively and remember to get fluid into them when they need it. Dogs can’t tell us if they are feeling bad, but with practice you will be able to assess their condition.
Most importantly, have fun! This should be a great bonding experience for you and your dog. Go on adventures with you dog, and I guarantee you he won’t complain. Dog’s love to be with you and this will certainly make them feel special and like they are doing their “job.”
Running with your dog provides you with a level of protection, a great way for both of you to get exercise, and an opportunity to have fun together.