How To Go Running With Your Dog

how to go running with your dog


How To Go Running With Your Dog

Is your dog driving you mad with constant barking, running around or causing havoc? If your in to running or just want to get healthier then you might consider taking them for a run. Dogs that fail to get sufficient exercise are more likely to be destructive and develop behavioural issues as well as emotional ones.

When can you start running with your dog?

This will depend on numerous issues and you should assess all the information you have before going for a run with your dog.

Breed and Limitations

Firstly, you need to ensure that you know your dog. Carry out detailed research to learn more about your furry friend’s breed and its own limitations. Some canines are not the best working companions because of joint issues, respiratory problems or lack of athleticism, just to mention a few. Ensure that you know the strengths and weaknesses of your dog.

Physical development, age, and weight

One of the most important issues is that you must allow your dog to fully develop before you can start running with them. Your dog has to mature physically to be an excellent runner or even to handle this type of exercise. If their growth plates are not fully developed they might get injured while running or develop longer lasting problems.

If your thinking of entering them in some canine races you may have to wait for them to develop fully because of their age. For instance, if you wish to take your dog for Canicross and other dog running competitions like Scooter and Bikejor they have to be at least be 18 months or older.

The ideal running dog weighs somewhere in between 30-70 pounds and has short or medium length fur. Giant dogs like Great Danes lack the appropriate body proportions to cope with long distance running. Grey hounds are also not great for running. They are fast sprinters but dislike long trots. Learn more about a puppy’s physical development here.

Mental development

Furthermore, mental development also plays a huge role in determining whether your pooch will be a great racer or not. A young dog cannot easily cope with the stress and excitement in a racing environment. Even dogs that are a year old still find problems running.

See a vet

After you have determined whether your dog is eligible for running, you should take a visit to the vet. Explain to them that you want your four-legged buddy checked as you are interested in running with him. He will check out your dog’s joints, heart, muscles as well as weight. If everything goes well and your pooch gets a clean bill of health, you can start training and running with your dog.

how to go running with your dog

How to go running with your dog?


If your dog is allowed to compete at 12 months you should start training them earlier. If you have followed the advice above then begin taking small steps towards running with your dog, such as fast paced walking or a small sprints and then a rest.

Leash training

Your furry friend requires basic leash training before you start running. If your dog already knows how to walk with a leash, they will learn how to run with a leash. Just like when walking with your dog, you should teach him not to pull so hard.

Proper leash training is vital as most dog breeds that are suitable for running weigh over 30 pounds and can run faster than you. This means that if your dog decides to pull harder, chasing after a squirrel for example, you will be along for the ride, particularly if you are shorter and lack leverage. For this reason, you should take your time to teach your dog how to respond to a lead.

You will realise that most cities or towns have rules making a leash mandatory. However, if the choice is yours, it’s critical to remember putting the safety of others first. When your dog wears a leash, controlling and protecting them from the dangers around you like other animals, cars, people, glass and more becomes a stroll in the park. Even the most obedient dogs can act unpredictably when facing certain situations. It’s best to take caution than to be sorry later.

The Run

After mastering leash training, you should get your furry friend out for a run. Make sure that you are consistent once you begin so that your dog remains in running shape. Start with short runs and work your way up to longer distances gradually, especially if your dog is overweight or older. Dogs are just like humans and can get hurt if you push them too far.

Try looking for running areas with sufficient room so that you don’t have to bother running directly into other runners. Avoid crowded walking parks particularly if your dog easily gets distracted. Keep in mind that some breeds particularly toy dog breeds are not suitable for long-distance running. Just a short run around the block is enough to wear them out.

Running with your furry friend is lots of fun, it can help you get into shape, prevent your dog from getting bored and allow the two of you to spend some quality time together. However, it’s worth noting that you should do it right and spend a lot of time on preparation.

Listen to your dog

It’s suggested you pay close attention to how your dog is behaving and reacting during the run. If you notice that they are lagging behind and tongue wagging, the odds are that your pooch is getting tired and you should slow down. If you notice that all their hairs are standing up or their ears and tail are perked, they could be worried about something. The better you master your dogs’ language, the better you will stay fit together.

how to go running with your dog

How long should you run with your dog?

You should run with your dog for about an hour daily. Some breeds might require more exercise while others are less. If you are running everyday, experts recommend that a five-mile run is enough for your dog every day. Alternate the long runs with shorter runs the next day to allow your dog some time to recover.

If you take your dog for continuous long runs, he can suffer from sore muscles. Your dog’s muscle metabolism functions similarly to yours. If you see your four-legged friend having a lot of difficulties standing up or displaying less fluid movements, two days after a long run, their muscles are sore and you should allow them to rest. You should not take your dog for a run while they are in pain as it will lead to negative association. In other words, your dog will associate running with muscle pain.

Temperature check

If you want to run with your dog in chilling temperatures they will be safe but as a general rule if its too cold for you then its too cold for them. During hot days you should ensure that you run in the shade like in the woods. When the weather is hotter its best to take your dog for early morning or late evening runs when the temperature is lower. You should never go out to run in the blazing sunshine as the odds that your dog might suffer from a heat stroke are extremely high.

Check out our article on how to walk your dog in the winter for some extra advice on how to handle those wintry conditions.

Keep paws healthy

If you went running without shoes you would get injured before you get very far, so it’s worth noting that your four-legged friend is not wearing sport shoes like you. For this reason, you should ensure that you run with your dog in routes without debris, glass, rocks, hot pavements and other potential hazards that will harm your dogs paws.

After you get home from running, make sure that you clean your dog’s paws with fresh water to get rid of residues like street salts  or unknown chemicals. At the same time, you should inspect your dogs paws for thorns or pebbles that might have lodged themselves in or between the paw pads. Avoid running with your dog on routes that are paved as their surface is hard on the paws and can cause blisters when you go on a long run. Try to stick to routes that are soft and to go running with your dog

Keeping your dog hydrated

When running you must stay hydrated. Your four-legged friend has to keep hydrated too. Don’t ignore them thinking that they can go without water for longer than you. If your dog doesn’t consume sufficient water, they are at risk of developing life-threatening complications like damage to vital organs such as the kidneys or liver.

When leaving for a run, ensure that you run on a route with accessible watering points or carry water with you and give it to your dog throughout and after the run. Don’t allow your dog to drink from puddles as the water they contain might be contaminated with harmful chemicals and toxins. Note that during hot weather your dog will require more water then usual.


Studies indicate that working out with your dog raises your motivation and possibilities of sticking to your training program. Dogs are not hard to pick like training partners. Some allies will motivate you but irritate you in the end. Your dog is your perfect running partner as they will always be ready to go without giving excuses. Why not start running with your dog? If you stick to the information as presented above you will succeed in turning mans best friend into the best-running partner.

Dean Lissaman

As a child I grew up around dogs and have loved them ever since. I now have a beloved Golden Retriever who enjoys exploring the outside world. Being an outdoor enthusiast has inspired me to create the ultimate resource on relating both dogs and the outdoors. For more information on me check out my about page.

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