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Running with your dog: how to start running with your dog? [behaviorist advice

Running with the dog

Jogging has recently become one of the most popular forms of activity. It doesn't require much other than good intentions, comfortable shoes and a bit of time. And there are many benefits of running for your health and well-being. No wonder that each of us knows someone who runs, takes part in marathons or at least jogs around a nearby park.

Of course, there are many dog ​​lovers among the runners, so it seems natural that many people would like to run with their pets but wonder if it makes sense. That is why I decided to bring up this topic, because you can run with your dog, of course, but you have to do it wisely!

At the beginning, let's start calmly, without great ambitions, but when we get started, who knows, maybe our dog will become a champion in "canicross ", that is the official sport discipline related to running and dog sleds.

  • Dog breeds and running
  • When to start running with your dog?
  • Accessories for running with a dog
    • Sports harness
    • Harness for man
    • Long dog leash
    • Muzzle - yes or no?
    • Water bottle
  • Feeding before and after running
  • Where we run with the dogs?
    • Surface
    • No distractions
    • Time of day and weather for jogging with your dog
    • Ticks and allergies
  • How to start running with your dog?
  • Rest after the run

Dog breeds and running

Let's start by asking if all dogs will love running together. There are, of course, dogs that you can immediately see that it can make them happy - breeds such as huskies, borders, pointers, Dalmatians, sheepdogs, golden retrievers and mongrels. Everyone immediately comes to mind of a super fast greyhound, and rightly so. But, not so fast! Sighthounds are usually short runners, so long marathons are not necessarily for the breed.

Of course, the dog's breed is not the only determinant of whether a pooch will enjoy running. Let's just take a look at our dog and consider if dog jogging is for him, or best consult with our vet who knows the dog well.

If, for example, we have a dog that has very short legs, is an elderly old man, is ill and has a poor condition or has a weak heart, problems with joints or, for example, a short muzzle (brachycephalic breeds) that prevents him from breathing and cooling properly, maybe instead of running, let's look for a different activity for your pet. In the case of other dogs, you can also start very calmly with short and calm strides on a leash and see if the dog is in pain, is willing to be active and is having fun. There is also a general rule that medium-sized dogs are better at running than large, heavy dogs.

When to start running with your dog?

When to start running with your dog? It makes sense to wait until the dog is fully developed and shaped, so let's start your adventure with running when it turns one year old.

Accessories for running with a dog

Accessories for running with a dog

In order for running to be safe for both humans and dogs, one should prepare well for it. Just as we need good running shoes, our dog needs good accessories.

Sports harness

Let's start with the fact that the dog should absolutely not run in the collar, even when it comes to everyday use, because it is very easy to injure the cervical segment, when, for example, it accidentally jerks while running or stops suddenly. Therefore, if we are going to run with our pet, let's invest in a good, sports harness for a running dog, which will be adjusted to the size of our pooch. The harness should not fit around your pet's neck, they must not be too tight, not to chafe it or too loose, not to twist during the run. Some harnesses also have a handle on the top that allows you to stop your dog when, for example, it is running loose and galloping, or you want it to stop in front of a pedestrian crossing.

Harness for man

Well, not only our dog needs a harness, they will also be useful for us ? If you want to feel comfortable while running, you should invest in a special running harness (preferably with an additional shock absorber), which you attach around the hips and attach the leash to it. Such a solution "will free our hands " and we will be able to run freely at our own pace, without clinging to the leash and straining the shoulder. In general, the wider the waist belt, the more comfortable it is.

Long dog leash

Often, together with the hip belt, we will get a matching dog leash with a shock absorber. If this does not happen, remember that our dog leash has the right length.

It is worth that the leash should be flexible and allow the dog a sufficient distance from us, so that we do not fall under each other's feet, as well as that the leash, thanks to its length, absorbs any possible tearing of the dog to the side, when, for example, he decides to jump out to greet his canine friend.

Besides, even if we assume that our dog will politely run along the leg without a leash, but we are in the city, on a busy street, using a leash seems to be a reasonable solution.

Muzzle - yes or no?

If, for some reason, our dog wears a muzzle every day, let's think if it will not be a big obstacle during the run. The dog must be able to open its mouth and cool itself in this way (not only while running). Running with your dog is a lot of effort, so it is especially important. In addition, the dog may want to drink water when he gets tired of running and we must also allow him to do so.

However, if we cannot go to a place where our dog will be able to run freely without a muzzle and a muzzle is necessary, because e.g. the dog eats poisonous garbage on a walk or throws its teeth at some dogs (these are of course topics to be worked on with a good trainer or behaviorist, a muzzle is only a temporary solution, which I always emphasize!), let's make sure that it is a large, light physiological muzzle, the so-called. baskerville in which the dog can freely open its mouth.

Water bottle

Just as we need water while walking or running, so is our dog. When running with the dog, let's take clean water for the pooch and a small bowl (foldable silicone ones or bottles integrated with the bowl are convenient) and give it to the dog as soon as he starts to get tired.

Feeding before and after running

One important note about feeding. Do not feed your dog right before or immediately after, give him time to digest the food, otherwise he is in danger of intestinal twist. The dog consumes a meal for about 2-3 hours and let's give it such time before we go jogging in the park with the pet. Here it should also be added that during regular training, the dog's energy and protein requirements increase, so it is worth taking a closer look at the current dog food, whether it should be replaced with food for active dogs with more micro and macro elements.

Where we run with the dogs?

Where we run with the dogs?


Due to the dog's joints and the fact that concrete can be hot in summer, and sports mini shoes for dogs have not been invented yet, try to adjust the surface to the possibilities and comfort of the dog. So it is better to choose a soft surface for your pet for training, without stones, protruding elements, sharp gravel or ice, on which it is easy to sprain the paw. In summer, you should also watch out for asphalt that heats up easily, it is easy to get burned.

No distractions

Another important thing (especially when the dog is just "learning to run " and needs focus) is the place we choose for the initial mini marathons. In order for the dog to be able to focus on walking the distance and learn a steady pace, the number of external stimuli should be limited. If we take our dog to a park where lots of dogs are loose, our dog may be more interested in interacting with them than with us.

If, on the other hand, we have a fearful dog, the busy street, noise or people passing on bikes may be too much of a challenge for him to be a pleasure to run. Because choose a quiet (or at least boring and familiar) space for jogging with your dog.

Time of day and weather for jogging with your dog

The time of day for training is probably an individual thing for each pooch, but most dogs have a lot of energy in the morning, so if you run well then, there is a chance that when we go to the office, he will sleep nicely. It may be, however, that the dog will be so wound up after the run that he will not be able to find a place in the house and will walk from corner to corner, so it is important to silence the dog after the run so that adrenaline drops in his body.

In terms of the weather, I would rather avoid marathons after rain when it is slippery, because the dog can easily twist the pond. In addition, there are many new odors after rain and the dog can be too distracted. In summer, on the other hand, running in the sun can also overheat the dog, so let's choose the optimal time of the day.

Ticks and allergies

Usually, this is not our first association with jogging, but checking the dog's skin and hair after returning home is a good idea, because ticks are now aggressive all year round and can infect our dog with serious tick-borne diseases. The same applies to allergies, not everyone knows that dogs, like humans, can be allergic, have red eyes and sneeze. If our pooch suffers from such an ailment, you can look for a place for the dog without pollen and dusting grasses.

How to start running with your dog?

How to start running with your dog?

Once you have the necessary accessories, slowly introduce your running routine. We do not set ourselves up for ultra marathons, canicross, because even if by some miracle we do not give up our spirits, we will quickly get discouraged.


Every time running with the dog (both with and without the dog) it is worth starting with a short warm-up. Let's stretch and warm up the muscles, prepare the joints for exercise, and introduce some flexibility into our body. This applies to us and the dog. While having fun with the dog, let's do a few slaloms, circles, and dynamic turns with him to warm up as many parts of the pet's muscles as possible.


When our dog is ready, let's move on to the phase of walking and running. First we need to build the dog's condition. Therefore, it is worth starting running with short jogs followed by regular long walks. We can repeat such a jog 2-3 times, but the training should not last longer than 3 minutes at the beginning and remember that the time between the break should be the same as the jog. Such intervals are a good method to start jogging with your dog in a calm and balanced way.

As time and training pass, we can extend the run time and distance, but the key is to focus on the dog's needs - we always adjust the pace, distance and difficulties to the pet, not to ourselves!

There is no one-size-fits-all distance a dog will run. An older dog has different efficiency and abilities than a frisky teenager who is a volcano of energy during the run. Therefore, joint running, its distance, dynamics and effort should be individually adjusted to our pooch.

Rest after the run

After each run, the dog must rest calmly in a quiet place. After all, he is full of adrenaline, but also tired and "rushing", so he wants to compensate for the effort with relaxation and rest. In order for the dog to calm down, we can also offer him something to chew, lick, bite or sniff after returning home - these activities relax the dog very nicely.

Finally, I would like to emphasize once again one important thing - running with a dog can be a fun pastime for a dog, but only if we pay attention to its needs! More than once, I have encountered a situation when the dog was barely running, shuffling, panting, but it was fastened with a short leash to the owner who, busy running, did not even notice that his dog was already on its last legs. Therefore, let's be careful, and jogging will be pure pleasure for both parties.

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