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How To Train Your Dog To Run With You

Pawtivity

July 7, 2017

How To Train Your Dog To Run With You

How To Train Your Dog To Run With You

Sure, running comes naturally to a dog. The importance to training, however, is that your dog actually learns to run at your pace and so you don’t have a “runaway” dog dragging you along on your run. Here are the basic steps to learning to run with your dog. 

How To Train Your Dog To Run With You

  1. Walk the Walk – Teach your dog to walk at your side. 
  2. Build it Up – Take it slow and teach your dog to run at your side.
  3. Now Go! – Get some practice in going faster and at longer distances. 
  4. Try Canicross / Bikejoring – Your dog can also pull you along! Pave the way for more “-joring” fun.

There are essentially two different ways that you can run with your dog – by your side or up ahead a few feet in front of you. We recommend training your dog to run by your side first since this is most similar to walking with your dog. Once your dog learns to pace your run, you can switch to having your dog run in front.

You want to train your dog so he doesn’t cross your running path. Lastly, like humans, dogs need to build up their stamina and endurance slowly to prevent injury.

Mastery of basic commands such as heel, sit, and stay will help with training. We highly recommend consulting your vet to determine when it is ok to run with your dog, especially if they are only a puppy with an immature skeletal system.

Interested in biking with your dog? Once your dog has mastery of running by your side, try taking your dog on your next biking outing. Learn more by reading: How To Bike With Your Dog


LET’S GET STARTED – WALK THE WALK

 

Make sure your dog really knows how to walk the walk.

Walk with your dog at your side and then stop. Your dog should stop and look at you. Reward him with praise or a treat when he does.If your dog doesn’t stop, bring him around to sit next to you and give him a treat when he looks at you and then start walking again.

Your dog should match your speed. If your dog pulls forward, try using a short leash as this helps to control pulling immediately. Stop walking altogether until your dog stops and looks at you. Again, praise him when he does and continue walking again. Practice walking and stopping with your dog. Be consistent and reward immediately after good behavior.

If your dog tries to cross your path, you can use a treat to lure him to stay on one side. It is very important that your dog learns to walk in a straight line at one side. Practice walking with your dog in different directions (left, right, left).

Gradually increase your walking speed until your dog has a good mastery of walking at your side in a straight path that matches yours.


READY? SET? – WAIT… BUILD IT UP

 

Before you actually go off running with your dog, try easing up with a run-walk plan. Start walking with your dog at normal pace, then speed up into a jog, and then back to a walk. This will teach your dog to pay attention to your speed and to follow your lead.

Keep your walking and jogging paces the same so that your dog can learn the difference. With more outings, your dog will adapt to your pace and be able to run longer.

Keep beginning practices to no more than 15 minutes or 1 mile of a run / walk or jog routine.


NOW GO!

 

After your dog understands the difference between walking and jogging, start running faster and faster. Then, you can remove walking altogether and run!

Make sure that as you train with your dog, you get a good idea of when your dog needs to use the bathroom or when enough is enough. Your dog needs periodic water breaks – the more frequent in small doses is better than one large gulp (the same goes for humans). Drinking too much at a time may cause your dog to vomit (or give you cramps). Pay close attention to your dog’s breathing and paws at all times. If your dog starts to pant or slow down, it’s a good indication to stop for a water break or that it’s time to head home. You should be able to sense how long your dog can run over time, then build up slowly from there.

There are many more health and safety tips for your dog, especially when it comes running in the winter or summer.


CANICROSS / BIKEJORING

 

Once you and your dog become better at running together, you could have your dog start running in front of you.  This often involves getting a special harness, or hands-free leash. If you and your dog love running together, try joining a running, canicross, or trail running where you can run in a real pack or in races with other humans and their dogs. Want something more adventurous and be the talk of the town? Try bikejoring or skijoring!

Paws and feet ahead! Have fun.

 

Take a photo and share your experience with the Pawtivity community!

Related Pawtivities: Running, Trail Running, Beach Running, Canicross Race

Is there a great dog-friendly activity or event missing from our list? Contact us so we can share it with the community!


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About the Author

Find your next dog friendly adventure on Pawtivity. We are a community that inspires and captures the story of our dogs.

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