Running With Your Dog

Running with your dog is a great way to exercise, bond and keep both you and your four-legged friend in great shape.

Posted: March 18, 2012, 6 a.m. EST

running with your dog

Many dogs need more exercise than a walk can provide. Dogs that have excess energy or were bred to work such as herding, sporting and working dogs will enjoy an opportunity to stretch their legs.

Benefits Of Running With Your Dog

• Great exercise for you and your four-legged friend.

• Burning off excess energy can help reduce anxiety and can lead to better behavior.

• Allows you to spend time and bond with your dog.

• Dogs can be motivational running partners.

Before You Begin Running With Your Dog

Make sure to check with your veterinarian before taking your dog on a run.  Running offers several great benefits to a dog’s health, but it is not for every dog. Dogs who have heart conditions, difficulty breathing, are over-weight or suffer from over-heating, may not be cut out for a daily run. Even a dog that appears to be in perfect health could suffer from a physical problem, such as elbow or hip dysplasia that could worsen with a jarring exercise such as running. If you have a puppy, make sure that a running routine will not be harmful to developing bones. 

Getting Started

Basic leash training is important for a safe and fun jogging experience. Make sure that your dog will turn and stop with you and is able to walk and jog at your side without pulling ahead.  Leash pulling can cause sore neck and shoulder muscles for your dog and can also be dangerous for you.  Teaching a basic heel will keep you and your dog safe at a walk or run.

dog running


Work up your speed and routine gradually. If your dog is not used to running you will want to start with a walk/jog combination, keeping the speed and distances short until both you and your dog are comfortable. Gradually increase the distance in small intervals when you are both ready.

On The Run

• Run or jog on a soft surface. Dirt, grass, sand and even asphalt are all more forgiving than concrete which can be jarring on bones and joints.

• Try running in the morning, evening or in cooler weather. Hot weather can also mean hot pavement which can burn your dog’s paws or can lead to heatstroke and dehydration.

• Include a warm up and cool down in your run. Walking before and after a run will help avoid muscle tears and injuries.

• Have a plan. Know how far you are headed and at what point your will need to turn around. 

• Take breaks as needed. If you are going for a longer run, stop occasionally to check your dog’s feet and body for injuries. This is also a good opportunity for a water break.

• Praise your dog during and after.

• Have fun!

Avoiding Injury

Even if you take every precaution to keep your dog safe, accidents and injury can happen. Paws can easily become cut, scraped, burned or bruised, and muscles can be strained or pulled. Watch your dog for stiffness or limping during and after the run. If you discover your dog has an injury, visit your vet and avoid exercising until it is fully healed.

If you or your dog have difficulty running or running is just not for you check out other great exercise and activities you and your dog can do together. More>>


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Fernando   México, International

1/31/2016 8:06:30 PM

I used to run with all my dogs.

The last ones were an Akita and a Napolitan Masttif mix (with
They used to jog at 25 Km/hr (16
They used to run reaching 40 Km/hr (25
They used to do hurry walks at 11.5 Km/hr (7

We went outdoors (almost daily) for about an hour and a half per day. We could afford from 6 to 12 Km (3.5 to 7 miles) each day. We used to do many stops and speed changes along the travel
The akita (pure breed) could last longer and went farer than napolitan mastiff mix, because of their different

Before them, I used to run with a female cocker spaniel which weights 11 Kg (23.5 lb) and had a height size of 40 cm
It almost always kept an average speed of 10 Km/h (6 mi/hr). It was trained and was friendly so at the place where we used to run I almost never used a leash. Every time I got ahead, the dog was able to reach me easily, then every time it got ahead, it used to do stops to check other dogs tracks, smells and marks, and that gave me enough time to reach it without any additional
Hope this info helps to understand what some breeds are able to do and gives a call to measure travel parameters and eventually could publish à dog breed endurance/speed chart with as most dogs breeds and fitness levels as possible.

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Luana   University Pl, WA

5/6/2015 1:28:16 PM

I do like running but is it ok if my dogs are smaller? One is 15lbs and the other is 10lbs. I always thought if you went running with your dog they had to be bigger dogs.

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1/11/2014 6:27:01 PM

good article-thanks

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Lorna - 277613   Cartwright, MB

12/18/2013 5:13:52 PM

We have a designated road with a nice place to take a dip on it!

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