Running with your dog is a great way to stay in shape and build a strong relationship with your canine companion. Running together can be a great experience, but it can also lead to a great amount of frustration if not done properly. Follow these tips to get the most out of running with your dog.
**Note: This post is a guest post submitted by Kaitlyn Manktelow of Kurgo**
Consider Your Dog’s Breed and Fitness Level
Most dogs love to run, however that does not mean that all dogs make the perfect running partner. Breeds with snub-noses like Bulldogs, Pugs, Shih Tzu’s, and Lhasa Apaso have trouble breathing during exercise, especially in hot weather. Always talk to your vet for a professional opinion on whether your dog would make a suitable running partner.
Be honest with yourself, what type of shape are the two of you in? For humans to run five miles they must first build up their stamina, the same goes for your pup. If your dog isn’t used to running long distances, start with a half a mile jog then steadily increase the distance. For long distance and marathon runners, check out this Running With Your Dog Training Plan to prepare your dog to run in races.
Make Sure Your Dog Has Good Leash Manners
If you have a new pup or one who isn’t used to walking on a leash, this is something that needs to be mastered before you can start running with him or her. A dog who tugs, bites, or consistently gets tangled up in the leash can be very difficult to run with. You should start with basic training on a heel and then work up to mastering that with significant distractions such as a squirrel, friendly human, or food. You don’t want your dog pulling you across traffic to catch a furry rodent!
Plan Your Runs Ahead of Time
It’s important to plan in advance where and when you are planning to run with your dog. You should choose the best running paths or trails with your pup in mind. What does the path look like? Dirt and gravel are a lot easier on a canine’s paws than asphalt.
Always try to run before or after the heat of the day, since dogs don’t sweat like we do, over exerting themselves in hot weather can cause them to overheat. On hot days, planning runs near bodies of water like creeks, rivers or lakes can enable your dog to cool off with a quick dip before continuing your run. Check with your vet on the appropriate temperatures for your dog’s breed and fitness levels.
Running with your dog can require slightly different gear than what you would use for taking him or her on a walk. Here is a list of essential items for running with your pup.
Harness: We recommend having your dog run with a harness versus a collar. This will prevent your pup from pulling and if he or she does tug during your run, the harness will be a lot more gentle and safe on your dog’s neck.
Leashes: A leash is an obvious choice to any dog owner, but you should consider the different types of leashes available. Using a versatile leash like the Quantum Leash that converts into six different styles can allow you to tie the leash around your waist, allowing you to run hands free.
Hydration: Staying properly hydrated while exercising is important for both you and your pup. Making frequent water breaks is extremely important. We recommend using the Collaps a Bowl while running with your dog, as it can hold up to 24 ounces of water but collapses flat for storage..
While you may have a strict goal of running two miles in ten minutes, that doesn’t mean your pup shares that same goal. Dogs run for the sole purpose of loving it, which means they have no problem with stopping every ten minutes to smell a tree or fire hydrant. Understanding and accepting this can help you to relax and enjoy the run as your bond grows stronger with your dog.
Interested in more tips for running with your dog? Watch this video – Tips for Running with Your Dog — for a more in-depth tutorial on how to prepare.
About Kaitlyn Manktelow – Kaitlyn is a writer and videographer for Kurgo, a dog travel and outdoor products company. She enjoys filming, traveling, and singing way too loud with her rescue dog Samuel Jackson.