Going for a run with your dog is a great way for you and your dog to stay fit. With a little practice, your pooch can become the perfect pavement pounding partner.
Running with your dog builds on the foundations put in place during walking training. You will find it’s easier to train your dog to run alongside you once he can walk without pulling on the lead.
2. Pick a side and stick to it
To save confusion for your pooch, decide whether you would like them to run to your left or your right side and stick to it throughout the training.
3. Start by power walking with a long lead
Keep your arms bent in a “running” position rather than by your side as you would when walking normally. The lead should be long enough that it hangs in a low U shape when you stand next to your dog.
4. Reward good behaviour with treats
If he is trotting alongside without pulling and looking up at you for reassurance that he’s doing well, reward him with a treat and/or verbal praise. Repeat time and time again.
5. Stop immediately if Fido gets too far ahead
If his feet are ahead of you, stop immediately. Be sure to stop before he gets to the point that he’s pulling on the lead. When he turns to look at you, ask him to sit and once he’s refocused and looking at you, set off again. It can be tedious but you must repeat this sequence every time he pulls ahead. Before too long, he will understand that every time he runs too far ahead, it causes you to stop completely and ruin all his fun. He’ll soon realise that the only way to keep the fun going is to remain level with you and avoid pulling.
6. Gradually pick up speed
Once he has nailed the technique of heeling at a brisk walk pace, increase the pace gradually over the course of a few outings. At first, try a mixture of a fast walk with some jogging thrown in. Then a full jog until he’s finally ready to start keeping up with you at running pace.
As they can’t sweat to cool like humans do, a dog’s main method to cool down is panting. Keep an eye on your pooch and be aware that if he starts getting too hot, it’s time to slow down or stop completely. Panting quietly with his tongue inside his mouth is a sign that he’s dealing with the heat well. If his mouth is wide open with tongue hanging out, it’s time to take a break. And remember, if your run is so intense that you’ll need water, your dog will need it too!
Not got enough time to take your dog out for regular exercise? Book a Mad Paws dog walker to pop in and take your pooch on an outing!