Most dogs will run just for the fun of it, and it also helps them to burn off energy. But getting your dog to run with you is a different thing. Jogging just doesn’t come naturally to most dogs. Sure, it’s likely that your dog will run with you for a small while. But oftentimes their natural instinct will kick in and they’ll start sprinting… And face it, you can’t keep up with that for very long. Or with some dogs, they think it’s a game and will run in front of you, turn around to look at you, and get into a play mode. This is where you can end up tripping over your dog. So, here’s a how to for jogging with your dog.
Why To Jog With Your Dog
We have to face it. Dogs are good at getting exercise. Humans may need a bit of encouragement. So, with your dog becoming your ‘jogging buddy’ it’s not likely you’ll skip out on your daily exercise. Dogs like structure, so once they understand how to jog with you, they’ll look forward to it in their daily routine. Besides jogging with your pooch is a great way to spend time together. Also, for a dog with high-activity needs, jogging is a great way to get exercise in and the potentially bored or destructive behavior out. A tired dog simply doesn’t create a lot of problems. Further, when a dog is exercised and mellow, they tend to do better in training sessions. So, jogging with your dog is beneficial to both your dog and you.
Breed and Age
Two things to be aware of is that certain breeds do better at jogging than others, and age could play a factor. Some smaller dogs, for example Pugs, should only jog for short distances. Also, older dogs tend to be predisposed to arthritis and other potentially jogging-limiting conditions. While you can’t brush all dogs with the same brushstroke, there are some definites to know.
Known as Brachy dogs, short-nose, flat-faced dogs generally do not run very far. This is due to their limited ability to keep cool and their narrow windpipes. Brachy breeds include Boston Terriers, Shih Tzus, Pekingese, Boxers, Bulldogs, Pugs, etc., Brachy dogs tend to snore, snort, sneeze, and make funny little noises due to their flat faces. These types of dogs tend to need monitoring when in heat or in activities that create heat. So, if your going jogging with your dog and it’s a brachy breed, you’ll need to start slowly and go for very short mellow runs. Brachy dogs tend to do best with a walk/jog approach. This is where you walk for 3-5 minutes, followed by a 1 minute jog.
There are a couple concerns related to age. First, if you have a puppy, it’s best not to jog with him or her until their bones are fully formed. Ask your veterinarian before you go jogging with your dog under 1 year old. Also, if your dog is older, which is relative based on the size of your dog, you’ll want to be cognisant about any aches, pains, or inflammation. With older dogs it’s best to coordinate a jogging program with your veterinarian. However, age is not a reason to skip jogging with your dog all together. It’s just a reason to pause and take inventory about the type of surface you jog on, frequency of your runs as well as length of time.
Items Needed For Jogging With Your Dog
Before you head out on a jog with your dog, make sure you have a few necessary items with you. These include a rugged and secure collar and leash, as well as fresh water, waste bags, and your smartphone. It’s important that your dog’s collar and leash are high-quality, and they do not unlock or become disconnected during your jog. You don’t want to learn that your dog’s leash is not secure while you are out on a jog, so make sure to check prior to setting out. You want a collar and leash that is strong enough to withstand tugs, particularly if you jog on trails where you could run into wildlife. There’s nothing like a rugged and secure leash to keep your dog under control when a bunny crosses your path… Or s/he gets a whiff of another dog, a deer, or a wild turkey. For water, ideally you want to bring enough for the both of you. You and your dog will likely drink 16 ounces of water for every 3-5 miles travelled. And waste bags come in very handy should your dog have to go while out on your jog.
A How To For Jogging With Your Dog
Now that you have all the information you need, as well as the required equipment, it’s time to get jogging! Here are our tips to make sure you have a great time jogging with your dog:
One of the most important things for your dog to successfully do before jogging is walking. Now, while that sounds like a common sense thing, what we mean is your dog should walk without pulling. Often called loose-leash walking, making sure your dog does not chase, pull, lunge, or does anything that could cause injury to you or your dog when jogging.
One Side Only
This is where you train your dog to walk only on one side of you. One of the worst things for jogging with your dog is to have him/her crossing back-and-forth in front of you. This can be very dangerous to you as well as your dog. So, you want to train your dog to stay on one side of your body when walking so that jogging on one side will be more natural. A great way to encourage this is by giving treats to your dog on the side you desire him/her to stay.
You want to give your dog the information needed to know that you are changing pace. “Let’s go,” or “Jog time,” said in an upbeat, happy tone are good. Then, after you use your cue word, increase your pace. You can start out with speed walking or a slow jog. When you increase your speed, keep an eye on your dog to make sure that s/he is still by your side, not going faster than you, and is breathing easily. If your dog breaks stride, either too fast or too slow, or crosses behind or infront of you, stop jogging and regroup. Practice walk-jogging until your dog understand what’s expected of him or her.
Just because you can jog 8 miles does not mean that your dog can. You want to start out with short jogs, interspersed with walks, and slowly build your dog’s endurance. Some dogs have internal distance stopwatches and will stop running at a specific distance. If this happens don’t try to get your dog to run more, just allow your dog to finish by walking. Jogging with your dog should be fun for both of you.
Adapting For Weather
When it’s hot outside, above 75 degrees, you’ll want to bring extra water and take it a little bit more casual or slowly. It’s not advisable to jog with your dog once the temperature reaches 90 degrees and above. Also, if you jog in the snow, make sure your dog has the proper paw protection as snow packs into dog’s paw fur and becomes painful. Also, if the temperature is below freezing, make sure that you consider your dog’s comfort - perhaps with a coat and eye goggles.
Spending quality time with your dog is so rewarding! Particularly if it benefits your and your dog’s health. Jogging with your dog is a great way to build the human-animal-bond you share with your dog. Particularly when you stop along your run to allow yourself and your dog to take in the scenes and scents, and to simply enjoy the journey.