How to Run with a Dog

My wife and I were avid joggers when we first got married. We often ran with Rose the Beagle. We now know that if we would have been taught how to run with a dog, our runs could have been much better.

A frequent question runners and joggers ask is, “Is OK to run with your dog?” If you do it right, the answer is yes!

You and your dog will enjoy the runs better when you have good equipment.

For you that means proper running shoes and clothing that is suitable for the weather conditions.

For your dog (and you) it helps to have a running leash and a portable water supply.

In this video, Carrie Tollefson talks to Nichole Porath about how to run with a dog.

Nichole offers 5 tips to make your runs better. Here is my summary of their conversation along with my added comments.

How to Run with a Dog

Is it OK to run with your dog? It’s fine to run with your dog. Of course, some breeds are better running companions than others.

Some good running breeds (listed in alphabetical order) are:

  • Dalmatians
  • German Shepherds
  • Greyhounds
  • Jack Russel Terriers
  • Labrador Retrievers
  • Malamutes
  • Siberian Huskies
  • Standard Poodles

These are not the only good running breeds, but are meant to give you some ideas if you are thinking about getting a dog to run with you.

As I mentioned, we ran with our beagle. In general, beagles love to follow their noses. That can make running with a beagle a bit of an adventure.

There are other breeds that are skilled hunters and will want to chase after other critters. You need to know your dog and what things are likely to distract him.

But what if you already have a dog? When can you start running with your dog?

In general, your dog should be one year old. You should consult with your vet about your particular dog before you start a running regimen.

How to train a dog to go running

You train a dog to go running the same way you started running. Start slowly and gradually build up the distance you run.

It’s a good idea to start with walk / run sessions. Watch your dog and make sure the runs are fun for her. If your dog doesn’t enjoy it, then she will start resisting going out.

Here again it’s important to understand your dog. Some breeds are fine with short runs but should not go with you for long runs.

How often can I run with my dog?

Pay close attention to the paws. This is especially vital when you run on pavement. The condition of your dog’s paws will determine how far and how often you can run together.

Some runners have had good success having their dog wear dog boots. Look into using them if you are running on hot pavement or on snow and ice.

BTW, be sure to check out my article on running accessories for dogs.

How do I give my dog water during a run?

Your dog will need water. It goes without saying that this is most important on warm days.

Some breeds run well in the heat. However, other breeds do not. For example, labs are not good hot weather runners.

For long runs, carry two water bottles, one for each of you. Then you can easily stop and give your pup a quick drink at any time during your run.

What are the benefits of running hands-free?

Running with a regular leash requires too much of your attention during the run.

Using a hands-free dog leash automatically keeps your dog close to you during the run. It also allows you to run in a more natural way.

It’s also a good idea to have your dog wear a reflective vest. When you are both wearing reflective vests you make it more likely that drivers will see you.

One Objection!

At the end of the video, they show Nicole’s dog getting a drink from a public drinking fountain.

Personally, I strongly disagree with this. That water fountain is for people. If your dog needs a drink, fill her water bottle or portable bowl and let her drink from it.

I hope these tips help you and your dog start enjoying many runs together.