Do you need the motivation to run? Are you bored running alone? We get it and we are about to give you a fix for it! Yes, run with your lovable dog. They are the ones who would never ditch you on a run. Dogs, truly are a man’s best friend! They’re always positive about everything, well motivated active and ready for every adventure you want to do! And what better than having them as your fitness or workout partner as well? Fidos turn out to be amazing companions in every walk of life and a perfect in getting you fit and motivating you to do more! But in most of the cases, we see this only for a few minutes or just when you’re playing with them in your back yard or at home. If your dog isn’t in the best of his shape and you plan on taking him for a run, you might be the one picking him up and getting home! Difficult right? That’s why this post will help you learn on how to train your dog to run.
It’s true that not all dogs can be trained on a fitness regime. It is important and recommended you consider the breed of your dog before you want to set him or her for a fitness training with you. It will depend on what and how your dog is and only then will he or she agree to do what you ask them to.
It seems like a fact that if you run, your dog runs! But hey, that’s not the case most dog owners face. For the dog, when the owner is running it is more like a game play. The dog will only entertain this kind of run or walk when he or she is getting to fetch something or he sees the need run too. So, in this case, to get your dog to run with you, it is a no brainer that you too must run with them so that your dog and you stay fit and healthy.
Maintaining your dog’s health is as important as maintaining yours. They too need to eat healthily, sleep well and stay fit by exercising. There are many questions that arise in the dog owner’s mind before they start this and one of the main one being, will your dog run the distance you cover? Can he or she run at the same pace you’re running and most importantly, will he run by your side and not ahead of you!
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Checklist on How to Train Your Dog to Run With You
So, let us begin with the basic training tips on how to train your dog to run with you? Listed below are the checklist that would help you train your dog.
1. The health of your Fido is very important and cannot be left unnoticed. Make sure that your dog is ready for the training and is fit to do so.
2. Check the age of your dog before you take the run! There can be three scenarios to this:
- The age plays a very important role in this too. Dogs that are very young or very old cannot handle this and will not listen to any of your training practices. It is always recommended that dogs below the age of 2 years should only walk as running can harm their bone development and hamper their long term physical integrity
- If your dog is young (less than 2 years) it is better to go on walks with them and make them which will make them habitual for the long runs which they will take in the coming future
- For the dogs who are between 2 years to 8 years, you can start the process of running with them as how you would start for yourself
3. Now coming to how far to run? You can set a 5-mile run with them, to begin with, and see if they are able to keep up with their spirit and have the stamina. It is important to start slowly as both you and your dog need to build up the mileage and need to understand one another in this process
4. Going out for a run with your four legged running buddy? Then we suggest you get your dog checked. Just like you would get yourself checked before starting a program it is advised that you take your dog to his veterinarian before he can start his run. Look up on what your doctor says if there are any supplements that he recommends or some diet changes he advises for the better living of your dog
5. Consider the breed of your dog before you take the decision of training with them. Did you know a few dogs are born to run and some are not? A few dogs will and can go that extra mile and still be fine after a few minutes. The dog breed defines the dog’s fitness and temperament. It’s true that every dog needs exercise but what type of exercise do they need depends on what breed are they
Always remember that being consistent is the best approach and while you teach your dog cues for walking and running you will be able to answer the question of how to train your dog to run with you!
10 Effective Tips on How to Train Your Dog to Run With You
Now that you know the factors that you should check for training your dog. Check these important and effective tips on how to train your dog to run with you!
1. Help Him Warm Up
You wouldn’t dare to start your workout without warm up right? Those cramps could kill you! The same goes for your fur buddy!
Even dogs require one and it is only you who can help him warm up before the both of you take the stride. It’s necessary to do a 10-minute brisk walk and some stretches so that your dogs’ muscles and joints can move in full swing.
What’s the good thing about this?
Well, the warm up will also help in building endurance level of the dog in the long run. Start with just 5 to 7 minutes of warming up if your dog is just starting to run with you. For the ones who have been training with you for a while it you must warm them up for at least 12 – 15 minutes. Building endurance is a necessary part of their fitness regime because here’s a bubble burst to what people usually think – that all dogs are born fit! Well, they’re not. It is our responsibility to take care of their fitness and help them become stronger, fitter and they have to adapt to the environment just like the humans do.
2. Leash Training Tips for Your Dog
Picture this, your dog is unleashed and all of a sudden he goes wild and runs like a Bolt! What would you do? Well, if this imagination scares you, then you should always leash your Fido and train it how to run with a leash!
If your dog is accustomed to walking comfortably with a leash on, here’s some good news for you, he will run with a leash on too! But you wouldn’t want your dog to drag you right? So what should you do?
Easy! The solution to this is that you have a short leash in place when you take him out. If your leash is around 6 feet long and your dog has a habit of walking in front of you well, then he will continue to pull you in all circumstances. So now, what you do is keep a short leash, something that is close to 2 to 3 feet maximum and start making him walk along with you. This will shorten the distance between you and him and will help you take charge of the walking. No one drags either and both you walk at the same pace side by side.
3. Training Plans for Your Dog
Just like us, dogs too have training plans. Deciding a 5K or 10K Training Plan for your dog can be a bit challenging but isn’t this all about facing them and helping your pooch live a healthy life?
As mentioned earlier, you can start with something easy and after looking at how your dog fares you can choose between the 5k or the 10k plan. For choosing either of the plans you need to figure out the average mile time of your dog. You can do this by using a tracker. Once you have a comfortable or required pace, take that time and multiply it by the miles so that you get your dogs’ running time. So, ideally for 5K, it is 3.1 mile and for a 10K it is 6.2 miles.
Here’s an example to make it easy: 9-minute mile x 3.1 miles = 27.9 minutes
Now, coming to the food and water intake of your dog. This is also an important step in the fitness training of your dog and will be of help in understanding how to train your dog to run with you? Even you should know which are the right foods for you to eat before running.
4. Keep Them Hydrated, Always!
Keeping your dog hydrated is of utmost importance. Just like humans’ dogs also need the frequent sips of water while they train. You can avoid this if you are running 3-5 miles only and have a dog with no medical issues viz. breathing issues and if it’s not hot outside. But if the miles go beyond the mentioned, then it is a must to carry water for your dogs and give it to them at regular intervals. Along with your Fido, you should be aware of the hydration tips for a runner.
5. Observe their Paws
Are you wondering why you should check their paws? Well, it's simple- they don’t wear shoes, but we do! You should check their paws for blisters, soreness, frostbite and probably anything unusual. Since their paws are in direct contact with the roads, it's important that you check if the roads are too hot or too cold for your fur friend to handle.
During the hot sunny days, place your palm on the ground and check if the temperature is bearable for your Fido’s paw.
6. Post-Run Meal for Dog
Don’t feed the dog right before or after an intense run. It is important that they cool down and get normal breathing before they can eat. If this isn’t kept in mind it may cause their stomach to bloat or twist. This is very common in larger breed dogs or dogs which are deep chested. Always follow the rule of feeding them 60-120 minutes before and after the run.
According to the Association for Pet Obesity and Prevention around 53% of dogs are overweight. So keep a check on what you feed your furball.
7. Meet Their Nutritional Needs
When dogs train, they burn fat and carbohydrates. Protein still being the key necessity in their diet, so their nutrition needs to be a mix of antioxidants and proteins. You can mix chicken, salmon or any other protein with broccoli, yam, pumpkin or even sweet potatoes for giving them the right mix of healthy food.
Always feed your Fido couple of hours before or after the run. Avoid foods like caffeine, avocado, grapes, chocolates, alcohol.
8. Rules of the Road for Your Dog
As of how we have rules which need to be followed when we run or train on the road, dogs too have some which we need to keep in mind. Firstly, you need to make sure that the distance between you and your dog while running isn’t too much. This is only so that you can control your dog easily and not be running all over the road. Make sure that both of you follow similar pace so that it’s easy to maneuver even if you are running in a group.
9. Have a Plan for Dealing with Distractions
Dogs can get distracted very easily when they are training with you. They see a lot of things on their way when they are on the road. This could be other canines, people or just anything that attracts them. You need to have a routine reply to this whenever you think that your dog is losing his focus. Using of a keyword like “Don’t do that” or “Continue your run buddy” or even simple one like “We’re running” can help your dog understand that he needs to continue with the run. Make this a habit when you run so that he too gets habitual with the keywords and understands them. You need to be swift and regular when you do this.
After you move forward you can give your dog a treat and so that he concentrates on his run again.
10. Signs to Stop
Last but not the least! No matter what always have an eye over your pooch.
Dogs function very differently than us and we should always keep this in mind. Signs to check are- extreme panting, limping, unexpected stopping.
As we all know that the heat tolerance in dogs is low, the main reason why they pant is to cool themselves down. If your dog is panting rigorously, with his tongue out of his mouth and his mouth open widely you need to stop right there. You need to rest for several minutes and see if your dog is breathing normally. If he is fine, you can go back to your run with him. If your dog is not panting, is alert and looks fine you can go ahead and continue your run.
Always understand that a dog will always follow his owner. They will do things to please you and make you happy. All they need is positivity and consistency from you. Dogs, if trained well can become the best training partners you will ever have. And just in case your dog starts to love training with you, he will be your motivation for not skipping that run even for a single day! If you want more motivation, then these 16 proven strategies will help you run daily.
So, happy running with your four-legged buddy!