If your dog is healthy, loves to run, and is capable of running a respectable distance, you have the makings of a wonderful running partner—whether Labrador or toy poodle mix. Dogs don’t mind if you rouse them at the crack of dawn and never fuss about runny noses or side stitches. But unless you happen to share your life with a born side runner (like Dalmatians, once bred to run alongside fire engines), you may have to teach your dog the human version of running. Dogs like to go faster than people, check out interesting smells along the route, and chase the occasional squirrel up a tree.
If you haven’t done so already, the first step is to teach your dog good on-leash manners during walks. Then proceed to walks interspersed with periods of jogging and finally graduate to full runs. Build distance and time slowly—in increments of 10 minutes, for example—to ensure your dog’s muscles and connective tissue have time to adapt to the challenge without injury. Don’t be discouraged if your dog is distracted or lags behind; give her time to figure out what she’s supposed to do. Running steadily without pause isn’t immediately logical to a dog, but if you’re patient she will catch on soon and likely love it.
Click here to sign up for our Fun Foundation 1 Class – the best place to start working on leash manners.