5 Sweaty Tips for Jogging with Your Dog
On your mark, get set, go…jogging with your dog!
Jogging is a popular form of exercise with humans—and it’s something we have in common with dogs. Pooches seem to have boundless sources of energy, which makes them an ideal choice for a running partner. If you’re planning to work up a sweat, check out these five tips that’ll get you up and running!
Work up to it
Before you tie up your running shoes, be aware that dogs need to be at least 1 year old before they start running with you. By that time, the dog’s joints and bones are fully formed and ready to train. But even if they’re old enough to jog, the two of you need to start for square one—that is, you learn to walk before you run. Start by implementing a walk/run system: walk for a minute, run for a minute. Plan for shorter distances at first, working up to longer stretches—keeping your dog by your side, start increasing the time spent running and less time walking.
Whether they’re big or small, most canines love to run—but you’ll need to take your dog’s breed into consideration. Certain breeds, such as Greyhounds, are built for bursts of speed, while others are built for endurance. Sporting and herding breeds can go the distance, but don’t discount little dogs, such as Terriers, Spaniels, and even Chihuahuas—they’ve got lots of energy and often make great jogging buddies for those looking to go shorter distances.
When you go for a walk, how does your dog act? Is he obedient, or does he take off when he encounters another person or dog that crosses your path? If your dog misbehaves on walks, he’s not ready to run with you. Work on good walking behavior, which includes no leash pulling, racing ahead of you, or stopping to sniff every tree. Basic commands including “Leave It,” “Sit” and “Stay” are helpful, especially when you come to traffic stops. Consider an obedience class or dog trainer if you’re having troubles teaching the basics.
Dogs thrive on routine, so use this to your jogging advantage. Jogging preparation can include putting on a harness and leash, having him sit next to you as you lace up, and waiting for your command to start a run once you get to a sidewalk. If you’re serious about running with your dog, consider a special running harness. This will show your dog that you’re about to go for a run and not a walk. Chest harnesses are ideal for running dogs, or if you’d rather run hands-free, invest in a belly strap or cross-body leashes.
Where to Run
You can go for a run pretty much anywhere, but keep your dog’s needs in mind. Although sidewalks are common for runners, the hard surface can be tough on your dog’s joints. In the summer, stay away from pavement, because it heats up and can burn your dog’s paws. If you can’t stay away from pavement, schedule your jogs in the morning or evening when it’s cooler. If possible, while you pound the pavement, let your dog run beside you on lawns, grass or dirt. If you’re lucky enough to live near trails, treat yourself and your dog to a scenic run without worrying about traffic or other pedestrians.