Running with your dog
Even though it’s nice to have a human running partner, sometimes a canine companion can be just as good at motivating you to head out the door for your run! Not only will you gain some company for your run, your four-legged friend will also get needed exercise. Below is some helpful information about how to start running with your dog.
Check With Your Veterinarian
Just like you are advised to check in with your physician before starting an exercise program, it’s a good idea to get your canine friend cleared for running. Your veterinarian can advise you on any special precautions you should take when running with your dog, i.e. distance, temperatures, terrain, etc.
Ease Your Dog Into Running Gradually
Just like humans, dogs need to work up their endurance when it comes to running. If you are into longer distance running, it helps to consider the breed of dog when choosing a canine running partner (see below). Some dogs are better than others on middle to long distance runs.
It’s helpful to start gradually, with just a short distance of running and build from there. You can also do a sort of Couch to 5k program for your dog, with walking and running intervals.
Before you know it, you and your dog will be logging a few miles together. When I started running with my greyhound, I would go a shorter distance and then swing by the house and drop her off before continuing on my run.
Some dogs have a hard time pacing themselves. My greyhound is a perfect example– she has a tendency to charge out at the beginning and then lag behind at the end of a run. As she’s aged (and been off the track for longer), she has gotten better at keeping a steadier pace.
It makes sense when you think about it– dogs are used to running for a bit (either to get somewhere or chase something!) and then taking a break to smell, pee, drink, or whatever else they want to do. There’s a learning curve when it comes to moving continuously for a set period of time.
Choosing the Right Breed of Dog for Running
Some dog breeds are a better fit for running than others. If you are thinking about getting a new dog that you would like to run with, take care in choosing the breed. Breeds like collies, Australian shepherds, and certain hounds can run for miles on end and still have energy for more!
Other dogs like labrador retrievers tend to like middle distance running (and usually love swimming too!). If you are unsure of which breed would be a good fit, check with your veterinarian for some advice.
Take Care of Business Before the Run
A key piece of advice: it’s always a good idea to turn your dog out to go to the bathroom BEFORE you run. Otherwise you will likely be making a few pit stops, along with some extra baggage to carry to the nearest garbage can! Luckily, there are some pretty convenient poop bag dispensers you can attach to your leash.
There are some other great items that have come onto the market to help make running with your dog easier like hands-free leashes that you can attach to your waist, dog booties for rough terrain or adverse weather conditions (remember last winter??), and a portable water bottle with attached collapsable dish.
If you run with your dog, what tips can you share? 🙂