Wondering how to train your dog for running? Running with your dog can be a great workout for both of you, but you can’t just go out and start. While it may seem like your pooch is built for speed, running actually requires some thought and training to ensure that it goes well and that it’s safe and healthy for your dog. Before you start running with your dog, there are some things to consider to make sure both you and your dog have a good time out there. Check out my tips and things to consider for how to train your dog for running.
Things to Consider Before Running with Your Dog
Before you start running with your dog, consider a few things first. First and foremost, you’ll want to decide if it is the best option and if it’s healthy for him.
Type of Dog
While all dogs can run, not all dogs should run. Even if you have a fit dog, certain breeds are just not built for running. Size is one factor to consider. For example, a Maltese, Shih Tzu or Chihuahua are not going to make good running partners. They are far too small to go on any sort of run. Their size means decreased stamina as well as a very hard run for them if they’re trying to keep up with you.
Likewise, breeds like English Bulldogs are not built for running. These types of dogs have impaired airways from being bred to have those cute, squished faces. Running can actually be dangerous for them due to those impaired airways.
If you have an older dog, consider his overall energy level when thinking of going for a run. Most older dogs have less stamina and energy, but that doesn’t stop them from wanting to be with and please their masters. Running may be too much for an older guy. If your older dog CAN run, be sure you shorten your run length to be sure he doesn’t overexert himself.
Consider your dog’s overall health before you run with him. For example, running with your dog would not be advisable if he has any sort of joint or tendon issues or if he is very overweight. While it’s good for dogs to move, a dog with pre-existing joint issues or a dog who is very overweight could get injured on a run. Likewise, if your dog has any sort of chronic illness, you don’t want to sap his energy with a run.
How to Train Your Dog for Running
If your dog is in good health, then there are a few things you need to do before you go running with your dog.
You dog should already be (affiliate) leash trained, but you’ll need to alter that training just a bit. You’ll need to get your dog used to being on a short leash – two to three feet. This keeps him at your side while you run and helps keep him out of trouble if you come upon a dicey situation. It is imperative that your dog is extremely well leash trained before you run with him because if you come upon any questionable situations, you’ll want to attempt to run right by them.
Distance is another factor to consider when running with your dog. You may be a long distance runner, but your dog probably isn’t. At least, not yet. When you first go running with your dog, keep the distance short. It’s far better for your dog if you keep the run short and gradually work your way up to longer runs, all the while watching him for signs that he’s had enough.
Even if you have a high energy dog, be sure you keep the pace slower than you think he can handle. Remember, he needs to build up his stamina just like you did when you first started running. Your first run should be more like a jog, And again, you’ll want to watch to make sure your dog is handling it well. He will push himself too hard just to please you.
Watch Your Dog
I mentioned this above, but it is so important to watch your dog for any signs of overexertion. While running with your dog, if he shows signs like excessive panting or lagging, stop immediately and give him a chance to rest. If he is really wiped, don’t try to rest him and keep going. Instead walk back home. Note your distance and speed and change your next run accordingly to accommodate your dog’s endurance level.
Talk with Your Vet
Just like people, dogs should get a doctor’s okay before doing any form of exercise like running. Before running with your dog, have your vet give him a good once over to check for anything that could make running dangerous to him. It’s far better to see a vet before running than to see one after something has happened.
Running with Your Dog Can be a Joy for Both of You – Just Be Careful
Running with your dog can be enjoyable and healthy for both of you. Just remember to be careful and be cognizant of your dog’s breed, health, and energy level. Get a vet’s okay before running with your dog, and if he checks out, take it slow to begin. You’ll be running with your dog in no time.