Top Tips for How to Efficiently Run With Your Dog
To run with your dog seems like an amazing idea! Exercise yourself and your fur baby, it’s like getting two for one. Great. But no, your fur baby doesn’t want to run with you, they want to drag you around the block…
Initially, running with one, or more, dogs may seem to be an easily executed idea until you try it. At least in my experiences, when given a bit of freedom to run, they RUN. You think you are going to be taking a leisurely stroll around the block, but instead, you are sprinting and still can’t keep up.
There is also scenario number two. Your “perfect” run buddy won’t move. You end up dragging your dog around the block, resisting the entire way.
Don’t be discouraged, there is a way to succeed. Proper equipment and thorough planning are how we get there. Here are my tips to get you started:
LEASH. The leash you choose will ultimately make a large impact on both your and your dog’s experience. We want positive experiences all around because that is the best way to maintain motivation. I highly recommend using a heavy duty leash that is either long enough to tie around your waist or designed to secure around your waist. Using a leash that keeps both your hands available will give you the best quality run experience.
Having both hands available allows your body to continue moving freely, while your precious pups are still safely attached to you. This also allows you to make quick and precise leash corrections if your run buddy starts to stray.
BAG. I also recommend having some kind of “fanny pack” to hold your pup’s essentials, like clean up bags and treats! Cleaning up after your dog is a MUST and being prepared is important. You also want to have treats to continue motivating your run buddy and reward their good behavior.
Using some kind of bag that attaches at your waist is a convenient way to carrying anything you need on a run with your pup. Using a backpack typically requires you to remove it before using the items inside. Since you will be more successful the more mobile you are, it’s best to deliver treats while still moving! That is much easier to do when you have a front pouch!
TRAINING. Just like we require training in order to be successful runners, so do our pups. They may have a seemingly endless amount of energy, but never on our terms. This is where the treats come in. Be sure to only give your pup the treats when they are doing what you want them to do. DO: give them a treat when staying next to you. DON’T: give them a treat when they are in front of you and you are trying to get them to be next to you. There is a bunch of research and methods on how best to train your dog, but the point is, be consistent and prepared. This might be tough in the beginning and will require a lot of patience.
GOALS. Determine your current baseline. Figure out what amount of running you and your pup can handle. Continue with only that amount until you are both consistently successful then begin increasing the distance, speed, or both. Do so incrementally so you and your pup aren’t burning out too quickly. Use a calendar to record your distance (or an app) and maintain at least two weeks before increasing your distance. Not only will your body appreciate the slow increase, but you will be more confident when it’s time to increase and (most likely) will be more successful.
Follow these tips and you will be well on your way to a successful routine with your new run buddy!
Bonus Dog Training Tips
LEADER. It is very important to remember that YOU are the leader, not your dog. This means you set the pace and direction of the run. Not only will this make your run much more enjoyable (after initial training), but your pup will require fewer corrections and will be much more responsive when corrections are needed. How do you become the leader? Whenever your pup begins to pass you, stop. As you walk forward, only allow your pup to walk if the leash is loose and they are next to you. If that doesn’t happen, then stop. Continue this, delivering treats and praise every time they are successfully walking next to you with a loose leash. In the beginning, it will definitely reduce your running time and increase your waiting time… But it will be worth it!
PATIENCE. I cannot stress enough how important patience is. I still struggle with this one! Remember, your pup simply wants to please you and sometimes we send them very confusing signals. We need to remain patient and calm, for ourselves and our pups. We need to wait for them to actually learn their expectations, which can sometimes take a while… But we all want happy, tired pups and that requires a lot of patience!