Running with your dog is a great way for you to spend some quality time together. At the same time, you’re taking care of your health and spending your dog’s energy. But, in order for this to be an enjoyable process, you’ll need to train your dog to run with you. Before diving further into this, let’s start by making it clear that not every dog is a suited running buddy. Especially if you have a puppy. If that’s your case, you should put it off while it’s growing as it can be bad for the bones.

Some breeds also don’t do well with any running or other high-intensity activities. Take brachycephalic dogs like pugs as an example. They aren’t great for long-distance running due to their breathing issues. It’s also important to consider that each dog has its own personality and while some may love running, others may not be big fans of it, even if they’re physically able to. With that being said, if you have an energetic dog that is physically able to run and would love to go for a jog, there is some work that needs to be done before you start.

1. Practice loose leash walking

If your dog is a known leash puller, this is the very first step you need to take. While leash pulling is frustrating during regular walks, it can be very dangerous when you’re running. During your workouts, there will be plenty of interesting events that’ll catch your dog’s attention. That’s why you need to start by mastering loose leash walking so that your dog can eventually run beside you and stay near you. To do that, you need to teach it that being by your side is equally rewarding as exploring that new smell you just came across or that squirrel that’s climbing up the tree.

Do this by using treats, toys, or praise whenever your dog keeps the leash slack. That way you’ll avoid running with your dog in front of you or weaving from side to side, causing you to trip or tangle your legs in the leash. Start this training at a walking pace and reward whenever your dog stays by your side without any tension on the leash. Always reward your dog when it’s in the position you want.


2. Work on building endurance

It’s not just humans that need to build strength and endurance slowly, dogs are the same. Don’t expect your dog to run 1 hour straight on the first try. You’ll need to start slow and build your way up. You can do this by adding small stretches of running into your walks. When you start, aim for a 10-minute run and add 10 minutes each week until you reach your goal time or distance. This allows for your dog’s muscles and connective tissues to adapt and grow without injuries. It can be frustrating at the beginning. At first, your dog may want to go faster than you’re capable of or slower than you want. Remember that this is a new experience for your dog and it doesn’t know what it’s supposed to do. With patience and time, you’ll be running side by side in no time.

3. Avoid extreme weather conditions

Dogs aren’t as efficient as humans when it comes to cooling themselves. This means that, in those days when it’s so hot that you’ll hardly be able to tolerate a run, you should leave your dog at home. If you would still like for your dog to join you in warmer months, go for early morning runs so you can avoid the heat of the day and avoid running on hot asphalt. To keep your dog safe during hot weather you’ll need to watch out for any signs of heatstroke and get immediate veterinary assistance when needed. Throughout every run, and especially on warmer days, ensure there’s always access to plenty of cool and fresh water. If you can’t bring your own water, run in a public area where there’s water available for both humans and dogs.

4. Use the right running kit

Your dog’s normal collar can be harsh on its neck and some harnesses can restrict shoulder movement, causing injuries. It’s important to use a piece of equipment that you feel the most comfortable using but that also doesn’t restrict your dog’s natural movement when running. There are many types of belts and attachments you can wear so spend some time researching to find out what is the best option for you. A good option may be a belt that has a pouch where you can carry your phone and house keys that clips to a leash with shock-absorbers. That way your hands are free so you won’t feel restrained by your dog’s movement and the shock-absorbers help reduce the amount of tugging during the run.


5. Know when to stop

Any caring dog owner knows when their dog isn’t enjoying itself even though some dogs aren’t that vocal about it. So it’s up to you to keep an eye on your dog to ensure everything is ok and you’re both having a good time. When your dog is enjoying the run, it’ll be engaged and enthusiastic. On the other hand, if there’s any whining, crying, limping, and hesitating, it might be time to stop and call it a day. Likewise, if you notice your dog is lagging behind or having trouble keeping pace, this is a good sign it’s time for a break.

6. Be mindful and respectful of others

No matter what you do, you should always respect others, and running with your dog is no exception. When you’re running always have your dog is near you. Otherwise, you risk hogging the entire road because of its leash. If you’re running with friends, don’t let your dog run up the back of any of them. This can be dangerous as your dog can easily clip their heels and make them fall. When running with more people, it’s best if you run between your dog and the other person since your dog can veer off at any moment.

Making sense of it all

Not every dog can make a good running buddy and that’s alright. Before starting to train your dog to run with you, consider your dog’s physical ability and temper. Do you think your dog is capable of running? And, most importantly, do you think your dog would enjoy it? If the answer to these two questions is “yes”, go for it! Otherwise, it’s best to find other things to do with your dog that both of you would enjoy. But, as fun as running with your dog sounds, it does require some training beforehand. It will require some patience but going through this training will make your bond stronger and you’ll gain the perfect companion for your workouts.