Are you considering a new canine addition to your family? Do you want a furry friend to do those morning runs with you? Luckily you can train a dog to run with you (provided they are the right breed). It’s not easy though, so here are the things you’ll need to do to get your pup in running shape:
Selecting A Specific Breed or Training A Puppy
If you want a dog that is a good running buddy, there are a few qualities you should consider. The dog needs to be in good shape in order to run, so older dogs with joint problems won’t meet your needs. You also need a breed that is both active and obedient (you don’t want a crazy dog pulling you side to side during a run). Some of the best running dog breeds include Weimaraners, Golden and Labrador Retrievers, English Setters, Rhodesian Ridgebacks, Malamutes, German Shepherds, Huskies (and more!).
On the flipside, if you want a good running buddy you need a breed that isn’t brachycephalic (short-nosed dogs like bulldogs or pugs). These types of dogs are not suited to running as they overheat easily and have trouble breathing on longer runs. Also, be aware if you want to train your pup, that running isn’t safe in the beginning for puppies as their bones are still growing. Most breeds should wait about 12-18 monthsbefore picking up the pace.
Master Walking First
Training can be a slower process in order to get the dog used to the activity (and make sure they are well-behaved). Dogs should master walking beside their owners with a loose-leash (a leash that has slack and hangs sort of like a J shape) as when they pull on your run they could trip you up or choke themselves.
You also need to ensure that your canine is picking one side of you to stay on at all times. There isn’t a particular side that is better than the other; decide which side works for you and stick with it. Choosing a side is important because if your canine were to cross your path at higher speeds, that could mean serious injury for you both. Try reinforcing your pets good distancing with a treat and making it a habit until you’re confident that they are ready to pick up their pace.
Practice Direct Cues
Determining speed cues can help your canine better understand your expectation. When ready to start moving faster, cue your dog with a verbal saying such as ‘get moving,’ which will trigger the dog you’re about to enter into a jogging pace.
Subsequently, you can have another cue that will tell your dog to get into a running speed or for slowing down to catch both of your breaths and course-correct. By creating multiple signals, your dog will understand how to move accordingly.
Now that your dog has mastered a steady pace and staying on one side of you, try adding small stretches of running into your daily walks. If all goes well you can increase the amount of time running on each walk. After several weeks your canine will have built enough endurance and strength needed for longer distances.
Every dog has its own personality traits and may take to something more than another. Be patient with your pet and work gradually into training him or her on running beside you as it’s an activity that strengthens the body, stimulates the mind, and deepens the bond between you both. Incorporating an exercise like running is something that is definitely worth the wait! Do you run with your dog? Tell us in the comments below!