Dogs make great running partners. They're enthusiastic and motivated, and they act as a good reminder that your workout is waiting.
The problem is that not all dogs are ready to run. No matter how energetic they seem at the house, if your dog isn't in running shape, you might end up walking him back home.
Try these four tips to get Fido ready to hit the ground running.
Basic Training Tips
Before you start running with your dog, make sure he is healthy and ready for the exercise. Dogs that are too old or too young might not be able to handle a running program. In fact, dogs that are younger than 18 months should stick to walking. Puppies' bones are still developing up to 18 months old and running can impact the development of bones for optimal long-term physical integrity. Walking with a younger dog will help build a strong base for a future running program.
For dogs that are 18 months or older, start the same way you would. If your dog is new to running, don't set out for a 5-mile run. Start slow and build your mileage together. Consistency over time is the best approach.
How Far To Run
Start with a 10-minute run and then add 10 minutes each week until you reach your desired time or distance. Gradual build up allows for the muscles and connective tissue to adapt and grow to the activity without injury.
With time, your dog will adapt to your pace. This can be frustrating in the beginning. Many dogs want to go much faster than you are capable of and you find yourself trying to hang on to the leash. Others dogs may lag behind and appear distracted, which leads many dog owners to think their dog doesn't like to run.
In both cases, the dog simply doesn't know what he's supposed to do. You have to teach him how to be a runner. With a little patience and time, the two of you will be running side-by-side at a good pace.