You won’t find a more committed running partner than your dog!
I have trouble motivating myself to run. I don’t go running for the sheer joy of it, or to get some exercise (I already get plenty!),
but I run for cross-training, three miles, three times a week. My regular go-to running partner’s schedule is downright awful for timing, not to mention running is not her favorite thing in the world (understandable). However, there’s someone I can count on to never be too busy, too tired, too hungry, or just not feeling up to it.
His name is Wesley, and he is the best jogging partner I have ever had, ever. It doesn’t hurt that he’s a dog. Running with your dog is a great way to tire him (and you) out, spend some time together in pleasant quiet (unless she barks while running), and motivate yourself to exercise.
Not every dog will be a perfect running partner from the beginning, or in the first week, or in the first month. When I started taking Wesley running with me, he had a tendency to want to meet everyone (dog and person) we came across, even if it meant stopping the run. Now he has learned that we stop for nothing, and glides by bicycles, babies in strollers, and excitable dogs with general ease.
Your dog might not be fit to go running with you. If your dog is a short nosed breed like a Bulldog or Pug, extended continuous exercise is not good for her health. If your dog is overweight, just picking up and running can damage their joints. Small dogs will not be able to run as far as bigger dogs and will get tired faster, and giant dogs should not be running for long periods of time due to their size. Also, just like you dogs can be in and out of shape. Go slow and short at first, working up to longer distances.Some tips for running with your dog:
- Do not go for long runs with a puppy, and before 2 years old, no heavy duty running. Puppy bodies are rapidly growing and cannot handle the strain of keeping up with you at your jogging pace for 20-30 minutes. You’ll be happy you waited when your 8-year-old dog can still go running with you.
- If you want to keep your hands free to pump your arms easily, think about getting a leash made for running that loops around your waist and has a bungee section so there’s more flexibility for your dog, like this one available on Amazon from Ruffwear.
- Remember your dog needs to warm up and cool down just like you. Always start at a slower pace, and work your way up. Don’t forget to walk for at least five minutes at the end of your run to bring your heart rates down.Use a harness. If your dog does lunge while running with a collar your dog could get injured. I like using the Easy Walk Harness by Premier. It has a front clip so your dog does not have leverage to pull or lunge. I have found the front clip makes it easier for him to drop into line with me.
- Don’t forget to tell your dog what a good job they’re doing! It can be boring for a dog to just run for 45 minutes, they don’t understand the concept of jogging aimlessly to get fit. I like to tell Wesley what an excellent dog he is, and at the end of the run we hit the dog beach so he can have some fun off-leash running time and play with other dogs as a reward for accompanying me.
Does anyone else out there go running with their dog?
Disclaimer: I was not paid by Ruffwear or Premier Pet Products to endorse their products. I just like them!