How to start running with your dog

Running with your dog is a great way to spend time together and both stay fit and healthy. Here are some tips on how to start running with your dog and do it safely.

Can your dog run with you?

Most dogs can run very short distances, but not every breed is able to follow someone on a run. 

For instance, Brachycephalic dogs, such as bulldogs or pugs are not suited for long-distance running.

German Shorthaired Pointers, Vizslas, Labrador and Golden Retrievers are excellent long-distance running partners.

Only adult dogs should run with you, as puppies' bones are still developing.

Before starting, it's always best to check with your vet that your pooch is fit to run!

First step: Walk

Before you start training your dog to run next to you, they should be a pro at loose-leash walking. If your dog pulls on the leash, this can be dangerous when running. 

Start by training your dog to always stay on the same side when walking, using treats to reward them. Letting them run in front of you or switching sides as they please could lead to falls or tangled legs, so don't start running until they are able to stick to one side and stay besides you or slightly behind.

Starting to run

Teaching them a speed cue can be a great way to start. For instance, "let's run" can be used to let your dog know that it's time to go from walk to run. 

Start by alternating between walk and short burst of jogging, giving them the chosen cue just before your start jogging. Make sure to reward your pooch when they run to catch you up.

Building up the distance

Humans need to build endurance slowly, so do dogs. Add blocks of running in the walks, and increase the running time every week. After a few weeks, your pooch should be able to do a full run!

Safety tips to run with your dog

Always make sure to warm up and cool down with a few minutes of walking. Dogs need this too!

Only take the leash off where it’s safe, quiet and legal.

Avoid taking them on a run when it's too hot or humid as dogs don't cope as well as humans in these conditions.

Always carry water with you and keep your pooch hydrated

If you run with your dog, know that you will have to take breaks and allow your dog to pee and drink.

Pay attention to signs of fatigue, such as slowing down, struggling to keep up the pace and excessive panting. In this case, stop running and walk home at your dog's pace!