Running With Your Dog

You may have been running for a while or just starting a running program. Now you'd like some company. Who better than your dog? He won't be embarrassed by your clothes, we won't talk your ear off, and he is fine with whatever route you choose. Running with your dog is great exercise and great company for both of you. Here are tips to start off on the right paw. When you make yours and Rover's experience a great one, running with your dog is a routine that you both will want to keep.

Best Dog Types and Breeds for Running Companions

Just because your pup likes to run around, he or she is not necessarily reading for long-distance runs or jogs with you. First consider:

Your Dog's Breed

Not all dog breeds are cut out for running. Dogs bred for working and hunting tend to make better distance runners (more than 2 miles). Some good running breeds include Greyhounds, Golden Retriever, and Staffordshire Terriers.

Very small dogs breeds are obviously not built for long runs, but neither are very large breeds like Great Danes or Bullmastiffs. Very large breeds don't always have high energy levels, more trouble moderating their internal thermostat, and some are more prone to hip dysplasia.

In general, a running dog is medium-built, weighs 50 to 70 pounds, and is a short-hair breed.

When looking at your dog's breed, look not just at size but also their genetic or physical features of the breed. For instance, Border Collies are prone to hip dysplasia and Bulldogs' breathing system is not conducive for a lot of aerobic activity. Mixed breeds are actually less susceptible to genetic problems.

Your Dog's Age

It is not advisable to run with a puppy. Their bodies are still growing and forming and they aren't always well-coordinated yet. This is a combination that begs for injury-possibly life long. Wait until she is over a year old. In the meantime, you can walk her and get used to the routes and your routine as well as train her to behave well on a leash.

If you run with a young dog, be sure to allow intervals of rest while running to build stamina and give muscles and joints time to strengthen and rebuild. Check with your veterinarian for specific needs.

Older dogs can run too. However, you really need to make sure your dog has had a thorough check-up before you look at long distances.

Personality

Despite the natural tendencies of your dog's breed, you will have some pooches who just do not enjoy a long jog. If Princess or Rover is still balking after a couple of weeks of your consistent effort, you may have to run alone.

Before starting your dog running, run it by your vet.

Walking the Dog on a Lead Without Pulling

Does He Heel? Running on a Leash.

Your running experience will be so much better if your dog is not yanking your arm out of your socket every time she sees a squirrel or smells something fascinating.

Before running, your dog should be good about walking on a lead (and not tugging or walking away). Also, you may want to invest the time to train your dog to heel so he or she is running with you and not "running you".

Getting Fido Started on the Running Program

What You Need

This is simple--all you need is a collar and a leash. If running longer distances, more than 25 minutes, bring water and a retractable water dish or plan your route so your dog can get water along the way.

Getting Started

You need to begin your dog running program slowly. Don't just get out there tear through 4 miles in 30 minutes your dog's first time out! Actually, you should really start by walking, even if your dog is energetic. Start by taking your dog for long walks at least a half a mile every other day.

After a week or so, sprinkle periods of running during the walks. You will have to increase the distance of your walk/runs to keep your exercise time at 30 minutes. Add distance by 10 percent each week. If your dog starts lagging, slow down. Keep decreasing the walking over a week or two until your routine is all running.

And for every day you run, your should give Rover a day off.

Where to Run

If you can, run on a soft surfaces like grass and dirt trails. Concrete, hot asphalt, frozen roads, ice and salt can all be harmful to the paws.

If you must run on roads, avoid traffic. Rover's head and nose are at the same height as a car exhaust pipe.

After the Run

Check the paws before and after every run for any cuts or abrasions.

Offer sips of water--at first--for cooling down rather than free access to water.

And Mind the Heat!

Dogs do not dissipate heat the way we do. Sweat cools our skin-- but dog do not sweat. They release heat through their paws and mouths. Because of this, they also release heat slower than we do, so you have to make sure they don't overheat.

  • On warm days, plan your running route to allow drinking stops.
  • Let the dog run through puddles and sprinklers.
  • Dogs with longer hair and shorter muzzles may have more problems with running on warm days.

And Most Importantly

Make running with your dog fun. Talk to your dog and offer praise, and don't run him to exhaustion.

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Comments 28 comments

tranndee profile image

tranndee 8 years ago

I love running with my dog. He does pull and I have to work on that, but I love how it tires him out and how he doesn't let me stop. Good hub for people to follow.


Shelagh 8 years ago

I used to have Irish Wolfhounds, and they are great to go running with!

But they really do run qucikly, so in the end I used to go to a private road and let them run alongside as I drove the car....

Not quite what you had in mind!


julieannevanzyl profile image

julieannevanzyl 8 years ago from Gold Coast

I must say I've never run with a dog. I used to walk with our red heeler, and I walk with my daughter's dogs sometimes. I can't keep up with dogs to run with them, they're too fast for me.


asoch 8 years ago

I never thought of running with a dog,but I love running myself,so good idea to run with my dog.


FitnessDog profile image

FitnessDog 8 years ago Author

Give it a go asoch. Your dog - and you- may really get to enjoy it. And you can really work off the dog's energy.


Calumson profile image

Calumson 8 years ago from ST. Margarets Bay

Could not agree more, a well exercised dog is a good dog, it's that simple, way to many people have dogs and never take the time out need each day to run walk or play with thier dogs.....it's the best fun love this Hub.


EA 7 years ago

Good advice - Sadie, my Choclate Lab is 7 and still able to keep up with me for some 3 miles. We're running a 5k tomorrow (12-13-08) looking forward to it. I always run faster times when she's with me - I try not to have tension on the leash so that keeps me running a little faster.


FitnessDog profile image

FitnessDog 7 years ago Author

That's a good tip EA about the leash. Hope it was a good run!


FitnessDog profile image

FitnessDog 7 years ago Author

That's a good tip EA about the leash. Hope it was a good run!


TheMountainMan profile image

TheMountainMan 7 years ago from USA

I love running with my springer spaniel and he enjoys it more than I do. He gets very excited when he knows he's going. It's also fun to take your dog on vacation with you(check out my hub on this topic).


frances stonebanks 7 years ago

We are getting a German Shepherd and I am looking forward to running with him when he is old enough


Christine 6 years ago

I've been running my lab/healer mix for 7 - 8 years, he's now about 10yrs old. I've brought a new baby, Bear, my lab into the run now and go for 2 1/2 miles. I try the 3 full miles but the older dog seems to pull after the second mile. How old is too old to run the dogs, the lab/mix is moving much slower but craves to run with me. Would I be doing more harm leaving behind crying or should I continue to run him in spite of his slowing?


Jordan 6 years ago

I'm slowly introducing my standard poodle to running. As an avid runner, I got a dog to keep me company. He's much faster than I am and has more stamina at the moment, so every time we take a break he looks at me like, "Why'd ya stop?" Hopefully our runs will start to challenge him eventually!

Christine: Don't run your dog to exhaustion. If you have to, shorten the mileage for him on your runs. At 10 years old he is beginning to slow down physically, and you can cause injury or heat exhaustion by running him despite his pulling.


AKC Puppies For Sale 6 years ago

My dog is still young (a six month old Aussie Shepherd, Collie mash-up), so I'm going to wait a bit before I try to run with him. We live on a dead-end road and I've taken short jogs with him and the only problem I notice is he thinks I'm playing. I guess that's the puppy in him.


gidtset profile image

gidtset 6 years ago

I have tried to run with my dog, but it seems like he prefer to run in slowmotion.


FitnessDog profile image

FitnessDog 6 years ago Author

LOL gidtset. I had a dog like that. Not all dogs--or people--are cut out for running. Or just go slow for a while.


Kim 6 years ago

I started running with my neighbors young adult Shepherd Mix, who has tons of energy, and my neighbor just doesn't have the time. I wanted a partner for safety and motivation for longer runs. It seems with the dog there, runs are 1/2 as long and not nearly as tedious. She has taken to it like a fish in water and just loves to trot alongside. Its a win, win, win situation for all three of us.


nadia 6 years ago

How old is too old to run? My 8 year old American cocker LOVES to come running with me, when running, she looks sooo happy and can not be bothered by cyclists, walkers and other runners on the bike trail, with her head held high she proudly trots by them with a smile on her face.

I recently noticed that she starts slowing down 14-15 minutes into the run, should I bring her back home at that time and guiltfully head out alone after that? What type of signs should I be looking for to bring her home to avoid exhaustion?


Doglover 6 years ago

I am a cross Country and track runner that would like a fast dog to keep up with me for training on the roads and sometimes trails. I run about three to four miles a day. What breed of dog is the best for this type of running?


EZKito 6 years ago

I have a 5yr old Basenji. They are African hunting dogs and if kept lean have an amazing body. I run with him on and off leash ranging from 5 to 15 miles. They are perfect dogs for running. Long legs and light weight. Distance is no issue but watch out for heat! Run near bodies of water if possible and bring your pooch water.


Julia 6 years ago

I've always taken my dog for long walks. She's a mixed breed, something like an English foxhound: tall and 55 lb. Last year I took up running and Daisy happily joined in - except when it's hot. We mostly run off-leash. Daisy is now 11 years old, and still happily running 6 to 8 km a day! The vet is very impressed by her level of fitness.


bailey 5 years ago

i used to run with a Bluetick hound he was awesome but liked to climb trees and howl when he saw a squirrel.


Ron 5 years ago

Useful information


Courtney 5 years ago

My almost 2 year old great dane (Lucy) had been trotting next to me while I run for about 8 months now...we both love it. She is in training for a 5k...she does great! She does get a high amount of glucosomine and chondrontin(SP?) in her diet and a rub down after...she is happy and healthy...This also helps to curb Lucy from being destructive..as the Character for a Great Dane.


Courtney 5 years ago

I have also found that for the Large breed dog to have a Gentle Leader head collar. It fits over the head and nose. It is NOT a muzzle...it just allows control of the dog by turning his or her head...Lucy has a lot of power in her chest so a chest(shes 135 pounds of love) harness is a bad idea as she will take me for a ride and with a regular leash she chokes herself...just an idea for those with powerful chest pulling dogs.


MLH 4 years ago

A Basenji makes an incredible running partner. Mine could go quite a distance (8-10 miles) and wanted to go further! The one problem is, they do not enjoy water, so you must make sure they stop and drink as they generally will not take that sprinkler or puddle like my lab will. They are amazing dogs and he would stay focused for great periods. When he saw my running shoes, he would be headed to get his leash immediately. A compact dog, made for heat and activity - perfect running partner (miss him every time I leave the house now that he is running in the clouds).


Evelyn 24 months ago

hey there! checked out your wetbise and am very interested in your assistance. We have a year old lab X greyhound (so we found out afterwards!) and all in all he is an amazing dog, we got him at 8 weeks and he has been around our daughter who had just turned 3 and is amazing with her she lays on him..pushes him is kind of in an agressive stage right now and we try really hard to stress to her NOT to be like that lol but anyways he has never growled, snapped, bit or snarled at her..or anyone for that matter.. he is a very loving and affectionate, licky/kissy dog.however, we have a baby on the way, and my husband was just called into the military and will be going away for quite a while. Bentley(dog) seems to listen to my husband more than me they are BFFS. And Bentley has and always has had an issue with jumping up, and pawing at people lol not aggressively but its still super frustrating, and we are concerned with the baby on the way and such and just want to get him under control while hes still young.Let me know what you think and We'd love to meet!


Sahana 24 months ago

hey there! checked out your webstie and am very interested in your assistance. We have a year old lab X greyhound (so we found out afterwards!) and all in all he is an amazing dog, we got him at 8 weeks and he has been around our daughter who had just turned 3 and is amazing with her she lays on him..pushes him is kind of in an agressive stage right now and we try really hard to stress to her NOT to be like that lol but anyways he has never growled, snapped, bit or snarled at her..or anyone for that matter.. he is a very loving and affectionate, licky/kissy dog.however, we have a baby on the way, and my husband was just called into the military and will be going away for quite a while. Bentley(dog) seems to listen to my husband more than me they are BFFS. And Bentley has and always has had an issue with jumping up, and pawing at people lol not aggressively but its still super frustrating, and we are concerned with the baby on the way and such and just want to get him under control while hes still young.Let me know what you think and We'd love to meet!

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