Whether you’re a fitness fanatic or just looking for a new challenge, why not try running with your dog? It can be a fun way to get some exercise in – and bond with your best friend.
Before we go any further, it’s important to think about whether your dog is suitable for running. Border Collies and Labradors make great running partners – whereas short-legged breeds such as Dachshunds and Corgis will struggle to keep up for long distances. A short trail run is a great option to get started with, and it’s suitable for most breeds, too.
If your dog is used to short, leisurely walks, ease them in gently when it comes to running – slow and steady wins the race, after all.
Stick to familiar territory – and keep road safety in mind – when you first get going so there’s less distractions for your dog, and keep treats on hand to reward them when they stick to the same pace as you – think heel training, just speedier!
Check the weather
Summer’s here, which means things are heating up. If you’re going to start training with your dog, try and avoid any midday sessions – early mornings and evenings are much cooler (and much more enjoyable).
For tips on how to tell if your dog is overheating, we’ve got some advice on spotting the signs of heatstroke here.
The right gear
To start with, use your dog’s regular lead – and preferably a harness if you have one. The most important thing is that it’s familiar, so you won’t need to get them used to a whole new set up.
It’s also important to have control over your dog to avoid any accidents. Slipping their harness or collar, and jerky or sudden movements can be dangerous for both of you.
Once you’re into a rhythm, you might want to think about buying a special running lead. These can attach to your waist, keeping your hands free whilst still making sure your dog is safe and secure.
Take it easy
Make sure you don’t try to do too much, too quickly (we can’t say this enough).
Patience and practice builds the perfect team. Start off slowly, build up your stamina (and your confidence) and enjoy a whole new bonding experience with your dog!