Fitness,  Health,  Pet,  Running

Training Your Dog To Be Your Running Partner

Hi guys!

I mentioned in my Quarterly Goals post that as a fitness goal, I was going to start running more and the one thing I want to implement is training Chandler to be my running partner.  I’ve run with him a few times and he’s actually quite a good running buddy!

So I wanted to get on today and share how you can train your dog to be your own personal running buddy too! [adToAppearHere]

So to start, I wanted to equip you with a couple of warnings or things to consider before you decide to get your pup into running.  As much as exercise is great for dogs and humans alike, and our dogs want to please us and will come right along with us, you want to consider a few things before heading out on the trail.

  1. Consider the breed of your dog.  Not all dogs are really cut out to be running partners so take that into consideration.  Check out this awesome chart to find out if your dog is suited for running.
  2. The next thing you’ll want to think about is having the proper gear.
    1. I’ve been running with Chandler using just a regular collar.  While it works just fine, I personally think for running, a harness is much better.  Here’s the one I recently bought to start using with Chandler, it’s reflective which is nice for running at night and it’s padded so it won’t cut into him: No Pull Dog Harness with Reflective Belt Padded Adjustable Green Large
    2. Another piece  to think about is the leash. Honestly, I think it all boils down to personal preference on this one. I don’t really have any specific information on what leashes are best though I’ve heard a lot of good things about those waist leashes.  In theory they do sound like a good idea because you can run hands-free but I’d worry about it if Chandler suddenly decided to bolt because he’d take me down in a second haha! With that being said, Chandler never liked those retractable leashes (plus I’ve heard they’re not super safe for running anyway) so the leash we’ve had since we first got him, which works just fine for us, is just a plain-Jane rope leash: Remington Coastal Pet R0206 GRN06 Rope Leash, 72-Inch, Green.
    3. Doggy bags.  Real talk here…when you start to run, do you ever feel like you’ve suddenly gotta poo?  Yeah…same here.  I’d imagine dogs go through something similar.  Chandler is super weird about peeing or pooing anywhere that isn’t home and has developed a bladder of steel to accommodate this habit but I still always carry bags with me.  When we first got him, I had bought just a simple little doggy bag dispenser from our local Home Goods’ pet section.  However, after doing some research, I found this one that is super minimal and will fit nicely into my running belt or onto Chandler’s harness.  Admittedly, another solution is to just throw a couple of loose bags into your running belt if you wear one but something like this is perfect too: Dog Poop Bag Holder, Leash Attachment Dispenser
    4. Make sure both you and your pup stay hydrated!  They sell these awesome collapsible dog bowls all over the place for relatively inexpensive.  They’re thin once they’re collapsed so they make for easy travel companions.  Make sure you’ve got a nice big bottle of water just for your pup, especially if you’re going out for a longer distance run.
    5. Some other gear to consider: a towel or blanket for dirt or drying off, treats to keep your pup fueled on longer runs (check out this recipe I found that is good energy for both you AND your pup!), a larger pack that your dog can carry if you’re going to be on longer, less intensive hikes or the like, paw balm/wax is a great alternative to (in my opinion) silly booties to protect your pups feet from ice, salt, sand and even warmer surfaces too.  I found this super easy homemade balm!
  3. Another thing to consider is the age of your dog.  Chandler is only going to be a year old on May 11 so his age, at this point is not really a concern.  However, if you’ve got an older dog, make sure you speak to your vet before taking your pup out on a run or a hike.  Just like humans need to sometimes get clearance from doctors for exercise, our dogs do too.
  4. Consider also, the distance or length of time you’ll be going.  Especially if you are just starting out, you’ll want to work your pup up to distance.  Your dog may be able to play forever in the backyard with you, and you may find a 5K easy to bust out.  However, doing lengthier amounts of time, doing consistent exercise may be tougher than you think.  Just like you had to work your way up to distance or time, so does your dog.  Consider finding a training plan that will help you and your dog work up to distance or time together. It may mean taking a few steps back in your own training but if you’re committed to getting your dog to run with you, it will be well worth it!
  5. As we head further into the warmer months, especially, consider the temperature.  I read something on Pinterest that talks about the “5-second rule”.  On a hot day, put the back of your hand down on the pavement.  If you can’t hold it there for 5 seconds, it’s too hot for your dog to be running.  Beyond that, dogs don’t sweat like we do.  They’ve also got all that hair so consider that when you check the temperature for the day.  Know the signs of dehydration or heat exhaustion.  If your dog shows any of the signs, cool him down immediately.  Pro Tip: About two weeks ago, here in PA, the temperature was pretty hot (high 70’s?) and we took Chandler to the park with us to run.  He was so hot from running but right at the entrance to the park there’s a nice big creek and he jumped right in after our run and cooled right down and was so happy for it!  If your dog is a swimmer and you’ve got a place like this on a warmer day, maybe think about that when deciding where to run!

I have been loving running with Chandler.  I feel like I have an extra sense of protection (even though Chandler is very nearly the WORST guard dog!), he keeps me on my toes and somewhat out of my own head, and all-in-all it’s just fun having my buddy with me!  With Ryan and I both working full-time, I feel like he doesn’t always get the attention he deserves so being able to run with him gives us some extra quality time that I know he loves just as much as I do!

Do you guys run with your pups?  If so, what kinds of tips do you have that make running with them easier?

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