“A dog is the only thing on Earth that loves you more than you love yourself.” – Josh Billings
Some of the greatest things that go together in this world need no introduction. Peas and carrots, Kanye and Kim, Trump and Twitter, and pairing your pooch with your runs! Running with a dog has become more and more popular these days and who couldn’t use another fan out there?? If you are considering taking your four-legged buddy alongside you on your runs there are a few things to consider.
The Breed for Speed
Taking into consideration the type of dog you own or want to purchase will definitely need to be carefully considered. Very large breeds or dogs with a known history for hip issues are likely not the types of dogs you would want to take on long runs with you. They are, however, fine with brisk walks and will handle them just fine. Dogs with long shaggy coats will also experience difficulties out there as they will struggle with the heat so consider either a short haircut or reducing the duration of the run.
Keeping in mind the type of runner that YOU are might be the best way to pair yourself up with the right dog. Whether you are the tortoise or the hare, select the breed of dog that aligns best with your style and goals out there!
My whole perspective on running started to change after my Jack Russell Terrier, Kinjo, turned one and I started to take him for a few short runs. It’s incredibly important to EASE your dog into running regardless of their age, no different than you or I when we decided to lace up the shoes. Slowly build up their distance, speed, and confidence! I also made sure he was mature and his bones were full-grown so that he was completely ready to start running safely.
We became closer and bonded so quickly as we started to increase the distance we would run together. Jack Russell Terriers are a breed of incredible will and energy, and running with him helped him be calmer and lowering his anxiety.
I loved running with him so much that we bought his sister, Ruckus, to join our growing family! In no time at all, I was running with both of them together and we love our miles together! They bring an extra level of joy and excitement to my runs and I am very thankful they have joined my journey.
Hot in the City
Man’s best friend may be having the time of their life of out there with us, but dogs can be prone to overheating easily so I would strongly encourage carrying water for the both of you or planning a route in which a water source can be readily available. Check out my article on ABC’s for many other running tips for both you and Fido! Read the article here.
Same goes with the type of terrain you are running on during those hot summer days. If you prefer to hit the asphalt for your runs please be a responsible pet owner by assessing the heat of the pavement that your dog will be experiencing. While your runners can pound on across the Sahara sidewalk, your dogs’ paws will struggle with this and I strongly disagree with running your dogs on hot surfaces.
The vast majority of the time your pooch will show some signs of heat exhaustion and you NEED to be chiefly aware of them and act accordingly. You want to run for life with your dog so be smart out there and look after them
To leash or not to leash
Hard yes on a running leash! Running alongside your dog is not only a wonderful bonding moment and dose of exercise, but is also a powerful learning moment for your dog. From an early age with my dogs, I purchased a good running belt with snaps to fasten the dogs to. Three years later the belt and leashes are still in great shape after many runs so don’t be afraid to spend a few extra bucks here. You will also want to ensure you fit them with a size appropriate running harness that best fits your pooch. Too tight or too loose will cause problems.
Poop! Yup, it will happen! Always remember to tie a few poop bags to your running belt before you head out the door. This is one of the golden rules of a responsible dog owner. Period.
Another good habit to start early is to train your dog to only run on one side of you. I chose my right side and we worked on making sure Kinjo only stayed on this side as we ran down the paths. After we introduced Ruckus into the mix, we also had to ensure she was accustomed to only running on the right side of me as well. After a few weeks of consistently enforcing this, she quickly picked up the rules of the road!
Running with your dog in close quarters can be tricky, but just like doing the waltz with a dance partner you will figure out each other tendencies and run more smoothly together.
Today I run with both dogs safely as they never cross over in front my stride and three of us run in unison without any worries of a pileup!
Celebration Time … Come on!
When you have wrapped up your run with your dog it’s important to praise them for the amazing job they did! Whether it’s giving them a small treat or a nice belly rub, give back to your pooch as they just put forth a ton of energy to keep up with you!
Show them the praise and keep them loving those runs with you!
Doggone’ it – You’ll Love it
Including your pup on your running journey can be wonderful. Be sure to put the proper time, training, and effort into slowly raising the experience and be sure to add a sprinkle of patience to the mix. It will not be easy at first, but if you stick with it, I can promise you that the benefits are amazing once you and your dog are a collective unit.
Be kind to each other out there and always work on making it a positive experience – even during a tough run. My dogs literally look up grinning at me while we are running and I smile back as I know this is benefiting me just as much as it is for them. The world has gone to the dogs and I love it!
Stay healthy my friends.