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Things to Consider When Running With Your Dog

Running with your dog

In just about every neighborhood you can see teams of people walking, jogging and riding bikes. What else is there really to do while we wait-out a shelter-in-place order. If you’re a runner, then you’re likely thinking of running with your dog.

Before you take Skippy out for a run, make sure to review these helpful tips to be certain your dog is ready to star in your version of Chariots of Fire.

Is your dog capable of running?

If you own a bulldog or pug, they may struggle to breath if taken on a run. These dogs have shorter snouts and fall into a class of breads called brachycephalic. Effectively, the shortness of breath reduces the capability to pant and the cooling effects this has on their body. They can overheat in a long run.

 Dachshunds and basset hounds are short-legged dogs and are susceptible to intervertebral disc disease. This cause your pot to suffer pain, nerve damage, and sometimes even paralysis. Similarly, large dogs are more susceptible to hip dysplasia, which can cause arthritis and may even cripple them.

It is recommended to research your breed to see if they have any genetic limits to running, or at least, extended running.

Even if your dog is genetically disposed to long sustained running, each owner should pay close attention to their attitude to confirm they enjoy it. Each dog has their own personality, and they’ll let you know if they’re having fun.

It also never hurts to ask your vet if your dog is ready join you on your run.

Keep your dog on the leash

Now that you’ve confirmed your dog is capable to join you during your running regime, it’s best to be sure your dog can loose-leash walk. It’s also best if the dog is trained to stay to one side of you—and always the same side—when you run.

A dog’s neck is vulnerable, so you may want to use a harness rather than a collar leash when running. The harness can reduce the risk of pain or injury when running with your dog.

You should always keep your dog on a leash. If you are running in location that allows the dog to be off leash, and you want to give the dog some freedom, only do so if your are confident the dog will reliably follow your voice or hand commands.

For similar reasons, use a longer leash than you might normally use while on a walk

Work up to longer runs

This may seem obvious, but it is important part of the process. Before you start a full running regime with your dog, begin with short sprints or jogs while on you normal walk. From there, you can slow begin increasing the length of the running time and distance.

At some point you’ll simply reduce the walking time until you and your dog are full running partners.

All that being said, even after you’ve slowly worked your way up to consistently longer runs, it’s always good to begin and end your runs with walking.

With each run you should coach your dog to follow cues for when to begin running. A simple cue like “let’s run” is perfect. The same is true for when you want your dog to revert to walking, a simple “slow down” learned by you pet will be extremely helpful.

Just a few more helpful tips

Now you know your dog is fit for running and enjoys the experience, she is great on her leach and always runs on a consistent side, and all the verbal ques are in place. Here are a few more things to consider:

  • Distractions will happen, so have a plan to deal with them as the occur.
  • Stop frequently and walk so that your dog can go to the bathroom and have a chance to explore new sights and smells.
  • Both runners, you and your dog, should be properly hydrated!
  • Dirt trails can be easier on both you and your dog’s delicate paws and joints.
  • Dial back on your running schedule on hotter and more humid days. Heat and humidity is much harder on your dog.
  • Pay attention to subtle cues. Your dog doesn’t have a voice, so they will tell you in physical ques if they are injured or tired.
  • Don’t forget to pick up after your dog. 😊


When you love running, sharing that experience with your dog is extremely special, and a great way to have good company. Enjoy!

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