If you’re searching for a running partner and don’t mind forfeiting your title of the “cute one,” consider a buddy with four legs! Dogs make great running partners, especially if you’re not big on the chit-chat.
Before you hit the trails with your four-legged friend, read these tips and make sure your dog is ready to run.
- Make sure your dog is well socialized before going on a run. Your dog should be friendly and familiar with dogs, people and cars before hitting the trails.
- Keep your furry friend on his leash- no matter how well-trained he is. There are too many distractions for your dog to stay focused on the run. And as hard as it is to believe, not everyone is a dog person. Keep him within three feet of you, to one side.
- Bring enough water for two! Since dogs can’t sweat, they are more sensitive to heat than humans, and staying hydrated is even more important. And don’t forget some kind of bowl or dish for your dog (unless he’s mastered drinking from a water bottle). Collapsible water bowls are extremely convenient and easy to carry.
- Stick to trails when possible. Trails are shaded and softer than pavement and will be easier on your dog’s joints. But be sure to periodically check your dog’s paws for debris!
- Make a dog run that isn’t built for running. Some breeds make better running partners than others. The ideal jogging companion is low-maintenance and obedient, with energy and endurance. Check out some of the best dog breeds for runners.
- Run with your brand-new puppy. Make sure your dog’s skeleton is fully mature, which means at least a year of age (preferably 18 months for bigger breeds). If you’re unsure whether your dog is ready and able to run, check with your vet.
- Use a retractable leash. A retractable leash puts your dog in control instead of you. can easily tangle, allowing your dog to run too far away from you, or let them bolt if something attracts their attention
- Give your dog more than he can handle. You wouldn’t expect an unfit friend to happily join you on a 10-mile run, and it is the same with dogs. And just like your friend, your dog needs to train too, so start gently and build up. Start with easy strolls (everyone needs a warm-up) and shoot for fifteen minutes, three times a week. If your dog completes the run without getting out of breath or needing to sit down, try adding five more minutes every week. And remember to cool down too!