How to Train Your Dog to Run with You
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Owning a dog comes with many benefits—including keeping you healthier! Many dog owners like to take their dogs on runs with them during the day. Since dogs love to run around and chase things, including them on your run is a great way to not only get them their needed exercise but also help to keep you in shape. Some dogs do need a bit of training to help them be the best running partners, though! Here are some ways to train your dog to run with you.
Before You Go
Make sure your dog has all the necessities: This includes a recognizable dog ID tag, a harness and a strong leash. The number one priority of taking your dog out to run with you is keeping your pet and yourself safe. Using reflective materials, especially for night runs, will ensure that you and your dog stay safe and noticeable by cars and trucks as you run down the road.
Talk with the vet: You’ll want to consult with your dog’s veterinarian throughout your exercises with your dog. If your dog has any illnesses or underlying health conditions—such as a heart murmur—your dog’s vet can talk with you about what the best way to incorporate a run into their lifestyle will be.
Keep the Puppy Home: If you’re a new dog owner, or you’re thinking of getting a puppy, this is for you. While puppies might live to run and play throughout your home and the backyard, long-distance runs are actually bad for their growing bones! Wait until they’re at least nine months old before taking them for a run. And, when you do start taking them outdoors, start with a casual walk, move up to a brisk walk and then a slow jog. Once you and your dog feel comfortable with the jog, then you can transition to a faster run.
Learn Your Dog: Not every dog is made for running! It’s really important to learn about your dog’s breed and what their limitations might be. Dogs such as pugs and bulldogs aren’t the best running companions—they can’t regulate their temperatures well! They’re best-suited to going on slow walks, whereas Weimaraners and Border Collies are some of the best dogs to run with because of their natural build and stature.
While You’re Running
Stay Hydrated: Exercise means hydration! You should always bring plenty of water for you and your dog. Try finding a public area to run in, such as a park or beach. Usually, municipal parks and recreation departments provide those locations with water for both humans and dogs. If you’re running on a private nature trail or around your neighborhood, look for dog water bottles or a silicone dog bowl you can place on the ground for them to drink from.
Keep Their Paws in Mind: A dog’s paws can’t withstand heat very well. You’ve probably seen the viral social media posts about dogs with blisters from walking on pavement too hot for them, and the last thing you’ll want is for your dog to experience the same. Before heading out for your run, touch the pavement and the sidewalk to gauge its heat. If it’s too hot for your hands, then it’s definitely too hot for your dog’s paws.
To combat this, you should try to run early in the morning or around sunset. This will also help you avoid exposing your dog to heat stroke or heat exhaustion—and you should seek veterinary attention for both of these conditions!
Acclimate Your Dog to Others: Some dogs don’t play well with others—or with people! It’s important that you acclimate your dog to others and try to train them to remain calm when they see cats, dogs and people while out on a run. If your dog can’t stay calm when it sees a squirrel run across the street, then it probably shouldn’t be going out on a run with you. If you’re worried about this, then enroll your dog in a training course! This way, your dog will get exposure to other dogs, learn to be comfortable with a harness and know some basic commands.
Keep It Fun: Don’t go the same route every day. Instead, try to find new places to explore with your dog on your runs. Visit nature parks, new neighborhoods, beaches and other locations. If you’re feeling really adventurous, take a day trip to somewhere completely new where you and your dog can run! They’ll love exploring with you. You’ll both get to learn about acclimating to new environments, and your workouts will stay fresh and fun!