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The Everyman: Running Ks With Your K9

A few tips for heading out with your four-legged running buddy.

A few tips for heading out with your four-legged running buddy.

Running with a buddy is a fun way to get out the door and get in a workout. When you’re feeling low on motivation and energy, having someone else with you can provide a needed boost.

And when you attach a leash to your buddy and scratch the back of his ears, the run can be even more enjoyable.

Running with your dog is great for you and for your pet. How many of you take your dog out in the morning before leaving him home alone all day while you’re at work? Or, if you work at home, how many times a day do you take him out? Are they walks or just quick bathroom breaks?

RELATED: Top Tips for Running With Your Dog

Do yourself (and your dog) a favor and go out for 15-minute walk up the street and back. And if he’s the right size, take him for a run.

Because we all know that a tired dog is a good dog.

Size

I grew up with medium-sized labs, so going for a quick jog with them wasn’t too much trouble. Large dogs are harder and smaller dogs will have a tough time keeping up. My wife and I have a little guy, a Terrier mix, who tips the scales at about 14 pounds. When I take him out on the leash and try to run up the driveway with him, I either need to go at a 15-minute pace or drag him on the pavement (of course I don’t do the latter). Or, if I’m in the middle of an interval, perhaps I should scoop him up and sprint. Something tells me he wouldn’t like that too much. Plus I would look funny without moving my arms.

RELATED: Beware Of Dog (And Its Owner)

Always Use A Leash

Some towns have leash laws and others don’t. Some of us can let our dogs out in the yard off-leash and they won’t go running off, while some of us have to keep Buddy on a leash. Whatever you normally do, always leash him up if you take him for a run. With cars, other runners and other dogs around, safety can be a big concern. And what if he takes off after a squirrel and runs into the woods? This goes for walking on bike/run trails too; I’ve come across a few people this year on my local bike trail walking with their dogs off-leash. I had to slow my bike to a crawl to avoid what could have been a serious crash. There are a lot of good leash options, from ergonomic ones to others that clip around your waist (“hands-free”). Stunt Puppy has some good options.

Find A Good Pace

If you’re a 6-minute miler, your dog probably isn’t. He might be able to out-sprint you but not on a 3-mile loop. You’ll get a feel for how fast your dog can run fairly quickly. And the more you take him out with you, the faster he’ll become. I know someone who routinely takes his dogs for 5- or 6-mile runs at a sub-8-minute pace.

Stops And Starts

Let your dog do his business before you start running to avoid having to stop once you get going. And don’t let him try to mark his territory every 30 seconds, as many dogs do. A good way to combat this is to keep the leash short. That will keep him away from the brush, bushes and trees lining the road or path you’re on, which will hopefully stop him from stopping so much. If he really needs to stop, however, let him do it. He might need to really go—even dogs can get runner’s trots. And that reminds me, always bring something to pick up, uh, what he leaves behind. Or use a stick to push it in the woods.

RELATED: Dog Gets A Medal For Finishing Half Marathon

Hydrate

Just as your body needs hydration, so does your dog. If you and Buddy are doing a 5-mile training run together, you better bring water or run past a water fountain or a store a few times. Dogs can overheat too. If it’s warm, stop every mile to give him a bit of water. Pour some in your hand and let him lick it up. Or try the Ruffwear Singletrak Pack, which is basically a backpack for your dog that contains water bottles and pockets for treats.

Do you run with your dog? Tweet us a photo at @jason_devaney1 and @RunCompetitor.