one of the greatest pleasures of being a runner is being able to share your workout with your best 4-legged friend! whether you’re running by trail, mountain, or road…running with your dog can help the miles fly by, or keep them dragging. here are 5 helpful tips to make sure you and your pup are in it for the long-haul:
1. shake it out
when your dog starts moving…so does his/her…bowels. make sure to build in a few warm-up minutes before you take off on your planned route. this time will ensure that you’re properly warmed up and your dog is properly…”lightened up.”
2. get the gear
running with your dog can be so much easier if you stock up on the right gear ahead of time. get a leash with a bungee end: that way, when you’re running and your dog stops to sniff something (which he/she will), there’s a bit of give for both you and the dog to work with. hands free leashes are also a great solve. many are designed to wrap around your waist so that you can keep a regular arm-pumping cadence during your run. lastly, always run with some trusty poo-bags and have a plan on where to dispose of/store them along your run.
when you’re running in the heat, remember that you are not the only one who needs to hydrate. pack enough fluids for two, and make sure to take water breaks for the pup.
4. look for cues
because your dog is not able to verbally communicate with you, keep an eye out for signs of discomfort/pain/exhaustion. certain breeds are meant for endurance sport more than others. make sure to check in your pet, especially during longer runs to make sure their enthusiasm and energy is still running high for more. also, check the pads of their paws to make sure they haven’t endured an injury along the way.
5. plan ahead
not every running route was built for doggy-companionship. is your run along a busy road with narrow shoulders? maybe you should leave the pup at home. trails are a great option for running with dogs. research the trail systems ahead of time so you can be prepared for sharing trails with other humans, bicycles and wildlife. some parks are more lenient with a leash policy than others, so check ahead. if your dog is well trained to stay near-by, off-leash trail runs can be a dream for you both!