How to Run with Your Dog (Safely & Efficiently)

From time to time, we house-sit for a wonderful family in a beautiful house in North Boulder up on the Foothills. We always enjoy this, and not because of the perfect peacetime in the mornings or the chickens that give us 7 fresh eggs every morning. No we truly enjoy this because we also get to dog-sit their amazing amazing dog! She is such a sweet heart, an excellent listener, and a great cuddler (most importantly, obviously). This also means that I get a running buddy! I haven’t had a dog for a few years since my Sassy passed in college, so it’s nice to have a companion like Piper (the dog’s name). However, there are a few important pointers for running with a dog, for your safety and theirs!

My old dog and her boyfriend

My old dog and her boyfriend

1. Keep a short leash. This is especially so if you are running on sidewalks with cars near by. Say you aren’t properly paying attention and your puppy decides to wander too close to the street and the lead is too long to reel back right away. Also, when you’re moving at a faster pace, it’s better to have him or her right by your side in case of other people or dogs too. Safety first! And it’s important to be considerate of others who may not be so dog-friendly.

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Dogs we used to walk in California

2. Let your dog stop once in a while. Yes you are on a run, even if you are a serious runner, but you are with your dog. First and foremost, they may have to go to the bathroom. Second of all, your dog may love running but they also love to smell and explore! If you feel your dog lagging, let up a little and let them smell the roses. If you’re doing hard training, then you shouldn’t be with your dog anyways! Let them enjoy it!

Chris & Piper

Chris & Piper

3. Go on nice terrain. I’m not saying don’t go trail running, totally go for that! But think twice about going somewhere with little rocks or sharp objects. Yes, you have awesome running shoes, but your dog doesn’t! They may have pads on their feet, but they’re soft and they can easily get cut. Go on terrain you can both enjoy: sidewalk, trails, grass, dirt!

4. Run without headphones. So I guess this is optional. You can run with headphones and run with your dog, but I feel it’s better to be present with your dog. That way you can listen to their breathing to see if they need a break, if they’re whining or growling, and also to pay better attention to their movements. When I run solo, I listen to an audiobook and it allows me to kind of get lost in it. However, if I’m lost in my book and not noticing that my dog is limping, that’s a recipe for trouble. This isn’t a necessary step, but I sure as heck suggest it!

Piper after a long run

Piper after a long run

5. Bring a bag! It kills me when I don’t see this. This should be standard for any walk or run no matter how short or where it is! Even if you’re hiking and they’re doing their business in “nature,” people still don’t want to step in it. Tuck a bag in your pocket if you’re wearing a jacket, or just tuck it into the top of your pants, or even in your sports bra if you’re a girl. Do the right thing and just bring it.

6. Provide water for a long run. Dogs use more energy than we do when they run because they are using four legs while we are using just two. I know you may not want to carry a water bottle, but you have a dog, and you have to think of the furry thing! Or, if you know there is a stream near where you’re running, stop long enough for your puppy to drink up. There are making these fold out water containers for hiking with dogs that are perfect for clipping on your belt or pants and then filling up with your water.

Chris with a dog we used to care for

Chris with a dog we used to care for

7. Talk to your dog. Yes, your dog is with you already, but sometimes they like to hear from you. Remember to tell them “good girl” or “good boy” to show your appreciation with them keeping up with you. And if they’re slowing a little, say “come on” or “you can do it!” Remember to provide your support and encouragement all the way through.

And those are just a few tips from me to you about caring for you and your dog’s safety . As family gathers round in time for Thanksgiving, I’m betting there’s a furry creature or two that would love a nice run or walk. Dogs are a part of the family and we need to do everything we can to keep them safe and keep them cared for. Use these tips to keep you and your dog hungry and fit!

BONUS KITTY PIC

Sajah learned how to read!

Sajah learned how to read!

6 Responses to "How to Run with Your Dog (Safely & Efficiently)"

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  1. Eva Tucci

    November 26, 2013 at 4:10 pm

    this is an excellent and thoughtful post ..thank you

    • hungryandfit

      November 28, 2013 at 8:33 am

      :)

  2. Laura Waddell

    November 26, 2013 at 5:16 pm

    Lovely post Chris :), but two reminders, no running with a dog younger than 14 to 15 months as it can damage the growth plates in the legs, and definitely no drinking from streams, that’s a good way to have your pooch catch a parasite called giardia ;).

    • hungryandfit

      November 28, 2013 at 8:33 am

      Great additions, totally!

  3. PNWRunner

    November 26, 2013 at 10:16 pm

    The bonus kitty at the end was a twist! :) Great post. Bringing a bag is a must and keeping your pup on a shorter leash is essential too. Especially if they see something like another animal. You have better control over them, plus you wouldn’t want them to run into the street if that is where you are running. I tend to run with music, but I keep it low if I take the dog.

    • hungryandfit

      November 28, 2013 at 8:32 am

      Great comment !