If you know us, you know we love running with our dogs. Our dogs have become the unofficial mascots of bRUNch Running over the years. Running with your dog is a great way to exercise your dog, yourself and as a way to bond. Before you run with your dog, check with your vet to make sure your dog is medically cleared to run. Some breeds are better at running than others. The biggest thing is if you have a younger dog is making sure their hips are good before you head out.
For us humans, running shoes are super important. For your pup, they need some gear as well. We recommend that you purchase a harness and a hands-free leash with running belt. KONG Company has some amazing and comfortable harnesses. Make sure the harness fits well and is not too tight. We love harnesses because they provide control and help to keep your dog safe.
When running with your dog you want your hands free. We love the Outward Hound Waist Packs. Both of us have an older version of this pack and love it! Not only are there a ton of pockets for poop bags and snacks but the water bottle holder allows you to bring water for yourself and your pup.
Leash length really depends on you and your dog. You don’t want a leash that is too long because than it can feel like your dog is pulling you or you are pulling your dog. The biggest thing with length is that you want to keep a length you can control your dog and keeps them safe. The biggest thing about running with your dog is safety.
As the owner you are in charge and you are leading the run. Your dog will need to get used to the routine and running in general. You will need to establish commands that work for you. These are the ones we use:
Hold: We use this command when crossing a street. This lets the dog know to slow down and allows you time to look for traffic. As you say, hold pull back on the leash. When you are ready to cross, say go and release the tension on the leash.
Leave It: This is an important one as you might encounter some creatures your dog wants to chase or some across some snacks. Leave It tells your dog to ignore it and go back to work. Depending on the breed, some dogs will be better at understanding the work mentality.
Depending on where you live you may have to run on a lot of sidewalks. The biggest challenge will be teaching your dog to slow down to cross the street. The commands you use on a walk with your dog should be the same on your run.
When running with your dog and passing others, try to pass them on their left and let them know you are coming up behind them by yelling, “on your left.”
Ideally you want to run at the same pace as your dog. In the early days you might find that your dog goes out hard those first few minutes. By holding tension on the leash assert your dominance and bring them down to a slower pace that is even with your own.
Just like humans, dogs can get injured running. When starting to run with your dog you need to start slowly. We recommend that you start with the walk run method with your dog and just focus on getting them used to getting into the routine of running and running on a leash.
Be patient and allow them to build up their stamina. Over time you will be able to go longer distances together.
Start slowly and develop a routine and soon you will see how much your pup loves to head out on a run with you.