Starting off the new year with a run? Is your goal to consistently exercise? You do not have to do it alone. Train your dog to go on runs with you! Now, this sounds easier than it is. Not all dogs want to run and not all dogs train the same. It will take a lot of respect, consistency, and time to accomplish this goal. If you want to go on adventures with a pup by your side, here are 4 steps to safely train your dog to run with you!
Step 1: The breed
The truth of the matter is, some breeds are not meant for long runs. Dogs with short muzzles may suffer long-distance travel and constant speed. Heavy-coat dogs will overheat in warmer climates. Larger dogs could suffer injury to their joints and muscles. Breeds play a factor in your lifestyle and environment.
Before claiming a running buddy, check if your dog’s breed is comfortable with long-distance running. And if you are thinking about adopting a pet, consider their breed if you want your forever fur friend to accompany you on your adventures.
Step 2: Loose Leash Training
Train for loose leash walking before running. Walks are helpful to get your pet used to being at your side, listening to your commands, and ignoring the distractions of the outdoors, such as squirrels, cats, cars, and people.
This may take some time to train and you should not cut corners with this. Loose Leash Training is important and training your pet to understand this may be different for each dog. Find what works for both of you and keep at it.
Step 3: Staying On One Side
With them on your side, there is less chance that they can trip you and risk injuring both of you. Stick with one side and train them to stay there. Offer them treats on the side you want your pet to be at and keep at it.
This is an important step because it requires you and your pet to follow a structure. Pets thrive on structure and can succeed quite well if they are trained properly. Stay consistent with this step and your pet will stick to your side as they happily follow your lead.
Step 4: Cues and Commands
Slowly picking up the pace by using cues is helpful to get your dog to notice changes in the speed you want them to go in.
Example: “run” for start running, “walk” for start walking, “break” for a stop, etc.
Not only does this train your pet to think but it will keep you both safe. Having an energetic pup that goes without thinking is very dangerous. They could run into runners, tumble off the path, get distracted, or be injured by an untrained dog on the trail. Train your dog to know their cues and commands for their safety. It will help with your running but it will also help get them out of trouble.
Step 5: Getting Physical
Now you can start building their strength and endurance so they can have the best run with you without hurting themselves. Train them slowly and let them work their way up to the speed and distance you want them to be at.
Also, check with your vet if your pet is up for the challenge. A look over the dog’s health will determine if your pet can follow you on those runs. If the vet says they are up for the activity, then you and your pet are good to go! Keep with the training and listen to your pet’s emotions and actions. You do not want to push them too hard, Just like humans, they need breaks and nutrients.
Make sure you have what your dog needs for an outdoor adventure. Check out our blog post here for dog-walking essentials.
Hooray! You Acquired A New Running Buddy.
After all these steps have been accomplished, you now have a lifelong running partner and adventure seeker!
Happy Adventure, from The Fire Hydrant Team!