All dogs adore their owners and want to spend as much time with them as possible. A good way to spend time with your pet is by running together, and this article shows you how to train a dog to run with you.
Teaching a dog to go running is good for you and your dog, as dogs make very motivated running buddies. Happy, eager, and always ready to remind you it’s time to get moving.
Would you like your dog to go running with you and be well behaved through the journey? If yes, you should see my top training tips below on preparing and teaching a dog to go running with you.
How To Train A Dog To Run With You
Here are some tips on how to train a dog to go running with you. We will cover preparing for the running activity, training your dog to behave properly, and other considerations during the running activity.
Before Running With A Dog
Before you go on your first run with your dog, you need to prepare for your new fun activity the right way. Here are some tips to get you going.
1. Know Your Breed
Not all breeds are suited for physical activity. Also, not all breeds do well outdoors for too long. Some breeds with shorter muzzles like pugs are even prone to health risks, so they should only run very short distances.
You have a good running dog if you own a border collie, vizsla, Labrador retriever, pointer, or Weimaraner. These are some of the best dog breeds for running.
2. Check Your Puppy’s Age And Health
If you wish to go running with a puppy or a younger dog, you need to be sure they are old enough for such a strenuous activity.
Younger puppies are still growing, and their bones are not fully developed. Your running activity might cause damage to your dog. Do not take dogs less than one year and a half running.
Also, it is ideal if you take your pet to your vet for a check-up to ensure he’s in good physical health before you start your runs.
3. Create A Dog Running Training Plan
It wouldn’t be called training without a plan. So, the first thing you should do is create a dog running training plan. This plan should include the days you’ll train your pet and what hours of the day.
You don’t have to come up with the training plan yourself. There are many training plans – mostly 5K running plans and 4K running plans – you can research online for more. Of course, you can go for easier ones too. In addition, you can choose to customize any plan you find to meet your personal needs and time availability.
Nevertheless, it’s ideal to begin slow and then pick up the pace later on. These plans imply setting short training sessions and gradually increasing the duration in minutes as training progresses.
You’ll need a tracker to keep up with the progress.
4. Leash Train Your Pet
You’ll need a leash if you are going to train your dog to run with you. Using a leash will ensure that your pet doesn’t get distracted during sessions or runoff. The outdoors is full of distractions for your dog, so you need to ensure your dog does not run away. Choosing a dog leash between 4 to 6 ft in length is recommended.
Also, you cannot just put a leash on your pet and go running on the same day. Using leashes requires a different form of training on its own. However, leash training your dog is not very difficult, although it could take weeks to fully achieve for more difficult dogs.
If you have a very big or seemingly stubborn dog, you might need to use a harness. Also, be sure to see our post on how to train a stubborn dog to wear a leash. If your pet is already used to being on a leash, you can skip this step.
5. Practice Warm-Ups
Before setting out to run, you should practice warmups. Warmups will help get your pet ready for the race.
Furthermore, warming up your pet just like people do before physical activity helps flex your pet’s bones and muscles which will help protect your dog against injuries. You should also participate in the warmup activity yourself.
Warming up is simple. Walk or slow jog around with your pet for a few minutes. You can also allow your dog to roam around freely in place of the warming-up activity, but you will need to allocate some time for this before heading out.
Walking and slow jogging with your pet will help him learn how to stay by your side and maintain the pace. However, when running, you should let your dog set the pace.
When You Are Running With A Dog
After completing the steps above, you should be ready for the actual running activity. You need to invest some time training your dog to ensure your dog behaves well while running and is comfortable during the running activity. Here are some steps to take.
6. Train Your Dog To Walk Outdoors
The way babies learn to crawl first before walking, so also you need to teach your dog to walk properly beside you while outdoors before you start running.
If your dog is not good at walking on a leash beside you, they will pull on the dog leash to go after exciting things they see or hear during your walk. If your dog is already leash trained, this is easier, but the outdoor temptations are stronger than when indoors, so you may encounter more resistance.
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7. Train Your Dog To Stay At A Side
The aim is to keep your dog on one side of you and get it to stay there. It is best to pick your preferred side (right or left) and stick with it, so your dog does not get confused.
Next, you need to discourage any attempt by your dog to cross you and move to the other side cause if your dog does this while running, it can be a danger to you as it can cause you to get tangled in the leash and even trip, which can be quite dangerous at running speeds.
Also ensure you have dog treats, dog toys, or whatever else you use to reward your dog with you, so your dog listens to your instructions.
Start with walking and keep giving treats or the rewards on your preferred side. With constant and continuous reinforcement, they will understand you need them to stay on that side.
8. Teach Your Dog To Move At A Quicker Pace
Once your dog understands how to walk and what side to stay on when walking outdoors, it’s time to increase the pace and begin your running.
You will need to create and use a different verbal command such as ‘running time’ or ‘Get running.’ If your dog is deaf, you will need some special body tap or leash tug to communicate the need to move at a quicker pace. Your dog needs to clearly understand what you want them to do so they can respond immediately.
The best way to teach this is to mix up your walking with short-distance running. Give your verbal command or visual cue right before you start your short-distance running, and reward your dog once you stop and they catch up with you. Remember to give the reward on your preferred side.
It is advisable to teach your dog a command to slow them down, such as ‘Steady’ or ‘Slow Down’ which will help you keep them at the same pace as you while running. Teach the slow down command the same way as you taught the start running command and give rewards each time your dog complies. You can use pats as rewards as well.
9. Keep Your Dog Hydrated
When it comes to running, hydration is important. There is no doubt you and your pet will become dehydrated from running for a long time. It doesn’t matter what weather you’re running in – hot or cold.
Therefore, while stepping out for your running training sessions, always carry a water bottle along. There are very portable water bottles you can carry along without feeling the weight as you run. There are even dog water bottles that make it easy for your pet to take a drink anytime, anywhere.
While running, offer your pet a drink every 15 – 20 minutes. For some dog breeds, this would be 5 – 10 minutes.
10. Watch Out For Signs To Stop Running
What you want to do is to train your pet to run with you. What you don’t want to do is overwork or cause stress to your dog. Therefore, you should watch out for signs that it’s time to stop and take a rest or some days off.
Running under the sun can lead to heatstroke, which is dangerous to your pets’ health; another reason to take breaks.
One important sign that your pet is tired from the workout could be pets’ panting and breathing. If your pet is breathing/panting more than usual, you know that your dog needs an urgent break.
Also, watch out for a slow down of pace. Your dog may be tired or might have had an injury. If your pet slows down or sits down, try not to force them to resume the activity immediately as they could get injured, and you end up with a dog in pain, which could lead to a dog whining or howling when it is moved.
It would be best if you waited patiently with your dog till it’s ready to get going again.
Other Considerations When Training Your Dog To Run With You
Improving Your Dog’s Endurance
The reason you decide to start running with your dog could vary. It could be to improve your fitness or your dog’s fitness. Whatever the reason, you will need to build up your dog’s endurance slowly.
The best way to do this is by adding some brief running into your walks on an incremental basis. That means you should walk for a while and then run for a short while. Each time you do this, run more and walk less. By the time you do this for some weeks, your dog will have built up endurance and physical strength to run for a longer duration.
It doesn’t matter how well trained a dog is, if the weather is too cold or too hot your dog will be uncomfortable. Well-disciplined runners will go out every day or as scheduled to do their running, but the needs of your dog may differ so you need to consider that as well.
For cold weather ensure your dog is well protected with dog clothes to keep your dog warm and decide if you wish to take the dog out at all if the weather is too bad.
For hotter weather ensure your dog is well protected. You can use a dog cooling vest and take frequent breaks in the shade to help your dog stay cool and safe from the heat. Some temperatures are just too hot to take your dog running so it’s advisable to do indoor exercise during such weather. See our post on indoor games to play with a dog for some fun activities you can do indoors.
Finally, if you need more tips on running with a dog check out the video below for more information.
There’s so much to benefit if you apply the tips on how to train a dog to run with you discussed above.
According to various experts, running with your pet can help against several health problems, including dog obesity, and will help them build better muscles and maintain a better shape. Furthermore, running can also help eliminate destructive behavior.
So get started running today!
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