Top Tips For Running With Your Dog
Make sure your dog enjoys running as much as you do
The family dog can make a great running partner, but you need to be sure he’s enjoying it as much as you are. Here’s what to do (and what not to do) so pooch benefits from joining you on training runs.
Owning a dog can motivate us to be more active – and it’s no surprise that dog owners get outside more – and exercise more regularly – than non-dog owners. In fact, UK dog owners are four times as likely to get their recommended amount of weekly exercise than Brits who don’t own a dog.
And taking your dog out running can be a brilliant way to get more motivated to run. But what does pup think about it? Is he actually enjoying it, or could it be doing more harm than good?
Why Run With Your Dog?
For you: dogs need exercising anyway (come rain or shine!), and this can get you into good positive exercise habits.
For dog: dogs need lots of exercise, and running could maintain your dog’s weight and prevent health problems as they age
9 Rules For Running With Your Dog
1 Don’t run too far with your dog – they need to build up running distance just like you did when you started out. Build up their endurance like you would with any training partner.
2 Is your dog’s breed suitable for same-pace running? Sighthounds and lurchers prefer short sprints, and collies or huskies might need extra training to hold their attention. Brachycephalic (flat-nosed) breeds often have trouble breathing and regulating their body temperature, so might not be suited to warm weather running.
3 Bring water for your dog, or design a route that passes by suitable drinking spots (clean, flowing water). Dogs cool down by panting, and by sweating from their paws – both things can be challenged by running.
4 Pay attention to your dog as you run. It might be an idea to leave your headphones at home. Watch him or her for signs of overheating, thirst, or simply having had enough! Remember that most dogs will do everything to please you, so won’t give up easily if you are still running.
5 Run at a pace that means you can still speak – you may need to communicate with your dog and give commands or use recall.
6 Observe countryside laws regarding closing gates, keeping the dog on lead around livestock, and sticking to paths.
7 Be reasonable – your dog doesn’t care about PBs or pace, and he doesn’t have Strava. He cares more about sniffing and enjoying the great outdoors. Only take your dog on a run if your speed and pace can take a back seat to enjoyment.
8 Always carry poo bags (dog owners are unlikely to need reminding about this!)
9 Make sure your dog cools down when you get home – this may mean keeping them indoors if they have a tendency to sunbathe! Give them access to fresh water, shade, or a cool room in the house. And bear in mind that dogs can get DOMS too – so leave a few days between runs.
Do you run with your dog? We’d love to see some photos!