If you think it’s time for you and your dog to head out and stay active, but you don’t know how to, you’ve come to the right place. To start out, the best cardiovascular activities you and your dog can do is running or jogging.
Both are good forms of cardio to cut off the fat for both of you. And along with a running buddy like your dog, it makes working towards your goal(s) better since you have a companion with you!
But without proper training, you won’t be able to work towards your goals. So here are some pieces of advice and steps to help you train your dog to become your running/jogging companion.
The right breed
Before you start training your dog to jog with you, it’s important you keep notice of what breed your dog is. Make sure to also know whether your dog is suited for the distances you want to go for. For short-distance, the dogs which are suited are typically short-muzzled.
Also if you have a puppy, do not try to run with him/her because his/her bones are still developing. With many breeds also, it’s important to research. Researching your dog’s breed can help you plan out training regimens to follow. Remember, each dog has their own personality and behavior patterns just like us.
And before starting, go to the veterinarian first to checkup with your dog and verify the information you were researching on your dog for training.
Start out slow (Walk)
Before letting your dog run beside you, try to master the art of loose-leash walking first. Doing so will help your dog stay beside you. But to do so, here are some steps to help you achieve loose leash walking.
- Let your dog walk out freely
The first step is to actually practice with your dog walking freely in a fenced area. If you do not have access to a fenced area, then you can practice inside the house in places like a hallway.
The key concept here is to encourage your dog he/she is doing the right job. To do so, direct your dog in an upbeat manner to keep walking with you. Also, try setting milestones for your dog. For example, every 10 to 15 (5-7 paces) your dog successfully does by staying beside you, give him/her a treat.
- Head outside
After your dog successfully is able to walk with you with no problems in the fenced area or your hallway, go out. Without trying so, your dog won’t be able to jog with you. Walk with your leash. If your dog is trying to pull, it’s because he/she wants to move forward. Try to stop first then take a couple of steps backward. If your dog is able to walk backward, award him/her with a cheerful voice. If he/she continues to pull, repeat the step above.
If successful with the step above, continue to increase the steps for the exercise. If your dog is able to walk with you in peace, award them randomly to keep them guessing.
Being able to achieve the steps above will make jogging with your dog easier. And along with loose leash walking mastery, make sure to keep your dog on one side. If your dog is going from side to side, it’ll make jogging harder. Also remember, if you want to reinforce your dog, do it through encouragement.
Try doing cues
Now since your dog is able to walk with you without interruptions, it’s time to take it up a notch and try jogging. To do so, try giving out cues to your dog to know it’s time to run.
Some examples of giving the cues are, “let’s go!” or “time to run!” And the more information you are giving to your dog, the better the results will be.
At first, try doing short bursts of jogging with the cues. And with the cues, engage it before you increase the speed of your walking to jogging. And of course, remember to reward your dog for being able to catch up with you.
If your dog is now able to follow your cues and match the pace you are running at, now it’s time to build his/her endurance. Like humans, dogs need to build up cardiovascular endurance.
But before going for the run, make sure to implement stretches for you and your dog. And also, for each walk you do, increase the times for running. If you follow the regimen for a couple of weeks, you will see your dog’s cardiovascular endurance improve.
Pieces of advice for a good/safe run
With your dog in condition to run with you, here are some pieces of advice to help you and your dog stay safe.
- Before running, make sure you and your dog are warmed up. Do warmups and cooldowns before and after to avoid burnout.
- Check-in with the weather to make sure the outdoor conditions are safe for running.
- Bring water for you and your dog. Staying hydrated is important.
- Make sure to not forget to take breaks!
- For off-leash running, make sure you and your dog’s surroundings are safe for it.
- Check-in with your dog and see their behavior patterns. If they’ve had enough, then it’s enough for the day for both of you.
Adverse weather conditions
The following is for the runners who dedicate to running no matter the weather. For some dogs, they might be able to do it, but most won’t.
Even though you are dedicating yourself to running out, there are other ways for your dog. At home, you can try to set up an obstacle course for your dog to go through.
There are also agility training classes for your dog. Or simply you can let your dog try to run on the treadmill. But before letting him/her train on the treadmill, check-in with the veterinarian to make sure your dog is fit for it.