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Train Your Dog to be Your Running Mate

by Dennis ODonnell on April 29, 2020

Get in shape, strengthen your bond, and have fun! While running seems to be a straightforward endeavor for you, for your dog it’s a hugely rewarding enrichment activity. Why? All his senses get to fire, while he burns off steam with his best friend (that’s you)!

Here are some quick-start tips:

Start slowly: If you or your dog don’t have a running background, run intervals—mixing walking and jogging—and slowly build up the length of the jogging segments while decreasing the length of the walking segments. A slow start prevents injuries for both of you.

Take breaks: Remind yourself to stop and smell the roses—literally. Being out with you is fun for your dog. Exploring his world at the same time makes it even better since dogs experience so much of the world with their senses. Set milestones to let your dog be a dog; for instance, every time you pass a park bench, allow your dog to sniff and go to the bathroom. Once he’s checked his “pee mail,” get back to your run!

Have fun: Enjoy each other’s company! Give your dog verbal praise as you’re running to keep him fired up. Don’t stress about time or distance. While the exercise is great for you both, the bonding time is even better!

Running with your pup is a great way for both of you to stay fit while exploring new neighborhoods. Your dog will get to expand his world by combining physical exercise and using his senses.

A word of caution: As the human end of the leash, stay mindful of dangers like overheating. Bring water for both of you, keep an eye on the trail, and watch your dog for any signs of discomfort.

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