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6 Tips for Training Your Dog To Run With You!

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There are many considerations prior to jumping into running with your dog. If you are planning to get a puppy (or choose a dog to adopt) with specific attention to the appropriate breed for the type of running you do, you may want to gather more information on the best dogs for running. 

In last week’s article, Best Running Dogs, we investigate which breeds are most adept at certain types of running. What if you already have a dog and are contemplating training your dog to run with you. What then?

There are some definite things to consider. 

Be Careful About Running Certain Breeds

First, dogs who are brachycephalic are “short-headed.” These breeds, such as a pug or a bulldog, tend to have a short snout. Since this can cause respiratory distress, they are not good runners.

Knowing things like this about your dog breed is important to keep them healthy and safe. Most dogs like this are best equipped for nothing more aggressive than a brisk walk.

dogs not good for running

If you have a cold weather-loving dog, such as a Siberian Husky or an Alaskan Malamute, you should not run your dog in hot weather. 

This is also true of some large, black dogs. If your dog tends to overheat quickly, you should only run early in the morning, at dusk, or after dark during the hot months. 


Everyone loves a puppy. And what’s not to love? Puppies are adorable and cuddly. However, puppies should not be run until cleared by a veterinarian.

Depending on the breed and size of the dog, a puppy should not be introduced to structured running until they are between six and eighteen months old. 

Running a puppy too early can cause problems to the dog’s growing joints and muscles. The last thing you want to risk is hurting your new best friend!

6 Tips for Training Your Dog To Run With You:

1. Ball Control!

Let’s face it, most dogs are ball-obsessed! Using the ball can be an excellent way of keeping your dog’s attention when running ensuring you stay on track with minimal stops and starts and you also enhance the safety of the run by being in much more control when it comes to road crossings etc.

2. Hydration For You & Your Pooch!

It’s essential that you hydrate when running, not just when it’s hot but in any temperature. Don’t forget your pooch also!
Even if the run seems to come much easier to them than it does you, they need water too. Plan drinking stops OR carry a bottle/foldable bowl in which they can drink from too.
Happy pooch, happy you and a great run shared in happiness!

3. Recovery x 2

Remember if completing long runs OR intervals, it’s equally as important that your pooch rests as well as you do for optimal recovery. All too often when running, your dog will likely be running back and forth if completely off-leash or by your side.
He/she completes the same if not more distance overall than you do so remember that recovery both during and post-run is really important for you both.
Water, good post-workout nutrition, and rest & recovery should be taken as seriously as the run itself. Plan it all in advance.

4. Low Impact For You Both

Remember that your four-legged friend has hip & shoulder joints to take care of also. Consider the terrain you are running on and where possible, aim to run on softer lower impact terrains such as grass, trails or tracks that are less impactful on the body compared with concrete and/or roads.
Supplementing your pooch with a brand called Yu Move can help a lot, it contains omega 3’s which are anti-inflammatory, and also joint aids like glucosamine and chondroitin. 

5. Keep It Fresh, Keep It Exciting

Change the location and routine frequently and don’t stick to the same route is our advice. Although sticking to the same route may seem like the more sensible thing to do, this is actually when your pooch can become a little cheeky and start exploring the surroundings more and more away from you thinking that he/she knows where you are going.
By choosing a new route and changing things up you conquer two things, 1 – your pooch is more mentally stimulated by a new route and 2, your pooch will stay nearer to you as he/she will not know where you are going and will rely on you for direction. 

6. Look After Your Shoulders

Depending on what phase you are at in training your pooch to run alongside you, you want to consider your own shoulder health too. If you are in the early phases, it’s likely your pooch is going to be pulling a lot on the lead which can affect not only your shoulder but also your running posture.
There’s no quick fix to this and it requires patience, repetition, and commitment. Every time your dog pulls, you need to slow right down or stop and tell them no. Set the boundaries and train them slowly over time through repetition. Reward them and talk to them when they are doing well and praise them frequently upon doing good.
Be extra careful when wet as your pooch pulling could easily cause you to slip. By being strong and stable in your shoulders and shoulder girdle can help this phase and control and we’d recommend completing specific strengthening exercises to assist with shoulder strength.
Exercises such as external rotations for the rotator cuffs and Arnold press are two examples of excellent all-around strength exercises for the shoulders that can be done in most gyms OR even at home with some dumbbells OR kettlebells/bands.
Brett Durney, PT and Owner of Fitness Lab, took his time to demonstrate a few excellent exercises you can do to build overall shoulder strength.

Beware Of Weather And Terrain

Heat and humidity can cause many dogs to struggle. You should be very careful in hot weather. If you are going to be out for more than a short while in warm temps, you should always carry water for your dog and offer it frequently. 

Know that in hot weather a paved road or sidewalk can burn your doggie’s paws. Some people prefer to run their dog in grass or on soft trails for this reason. 

running with dogs tips

Although many breeds are made for cold weather there are also dogs that don’t do well in sub-zero temps.

Remember: you have layers and layers of performance gear to keep you warm on an extremely cold and windy day. All your pup has is his fur and his feet are virtually unprotected from the elements. 

Take Care Of Business First

When training your dog to run with you it will be helpful (and less distracting) if your dog can go potty before you start. Does that sound easier said than done? Believe it or not, if your dog has fairly routine potty schedules you can help him or her to learn how to “go first.”

First thing in the morning all dogs have to pee, right? So take your dog potty and then, if he normally poops after he eats, go for a short run then.  Make sure you use the words “go potty” like you did when training him to go outside.  Some people actually say, “Let’s go for a run!” Then, before getting the running gear ready, “go potty first” follows.

Just like humans, some dogs find themselves feeling the urge to poop after they start running. If this is your dog you have two choices. One is to plan a fairly short out and back to warm up, so you can pick up the poop, bring it home to toss in the trash, then finish the run. The other is to just resort to carrying it. 

Did you know they make little backpacks for dogs so they can carry their own poop? Super handy!

Learn To Read Your Dog

Just like that best human friend you run with, your dog will have a running body language and you need to understand it. Your dog counts on you to make good decisions for him. A dog will run too hard and too long in order to please you, the master. Be careful not to let that happen. 

Pay attention to your dog. If pup is lagging behind you need to slow down or take a break. If he is panting hard you might need to slow down. If tail is wagging and he is trotting right beside you, likely you are doing just fine. 

Are you thirsty? Then so is he!

Vary Your Workouts

Just like you, your dog will benefit from workouts of varying lengths and distances. It’s okay to go for an easy run now and then. It is also good to do some short runs and some longer ones. 

dog running tips

Just like for a human if you run long one day, your dog would benefit from a shorter run (or a different type of workout) the following day.

Remember: playtime is a workout for your dog. 

The Equipment You Will Need

There are many different types of collars and harnesses made for running your dog. I prefer a harness but some people do use collars. You should not use a retractable leash for running because it gives your dog the idea that he can have free reign to run ahead. 

Most runners prefer a hands free leash. These have a waist belt for the runner so the leash can attach to that. 

Some dogs can learn to drink from a water bottle. For other dogs, you will want to carry water and a collapsable drinking bowl. Unless you are doing very short runs, you need to have water available for your buddy.

Also plan on how you will carry your clean and “full” poop bags. Running with a handful of poop isn’t fun, but leaving the poop on someone’s lawn just is not cool!


*This article was written in collaboration with:

Brett Durney, PT and Owner of Fitness Lab
My name is Brett Durney and I’m Co-Founder and Personal Trainer at Fitness Lab. We operate boutique personal training gyms in Soho and Fitzrovia in central  London. I’m qualified as a PT (with significant additional continued professional development courses completed). I have 14 years experience and I’ve coached just under 17,000 PT sessions! 

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