1. Pre Run Planning
Knowing where you are going before you start takes out a huge stress factor! As a dog owner you’ll already have your favourite dogs walks, so for each of your dog running sessions map out your route in advance so you know how dog friendly this will be. Simple things to think about include avoiding pick up and drop off times if you live near a school or areas which do and don’t allow dogs. Keep to the same route until your dog is familiar with running this with you. It then becomes part of their routine and your run will be much easier to complete.
2. Dogs areDistracting
Following a running plan with a dog is different to running solo so expect things to veer off course, literally and figuratively. Dogs sniff. They pull, they poo and they like to say hello to other dogs or chase things. Teaching your dog to walk on a loose leash before you start running is a great start then you will be able to carry on the training when you run using rewards and vocal commands.The good news is that after a few sessions your dog will become familiar with how they must behave when running with you as opposed to a walk or social visit.
3. Essential Pooch Prep
Never forget these 3 essential items on dog runs – poo bags, treats and phone and work on these 3 essential commands – heel (or ‘walk on’ to keep your dog near your side), wait (when you need to stop e.g there is a distraction ahead), off we go! (or ‘run/lets go’ etc to signal you are on the move). A trained dog is an easy dog, and only you can teach them how to behave.
4. Look! No Hands!
If you are going to start running with your dog then you really should invest in a harness. Running using a collar causes a huge amount of pressure on your dogs neck and we don’t recommend it. A good fitting harness should distribute any pull across the dogs body. To help you reward train your dog by using treats, and to keep your own momentum going, we also suggest a hands free leash. This really frees you up to focus on you and your hound, especially when you are both in running training!
5. Be Patient
With yourself! There will be days in your running journey both with your dog when things feel rubbish. One day you may feel like you have no energy, another day your dog might be a real pickle, sometimes you may feel like things aren’t progressing at all. This will happen. Likewise, some days you’ll be riding high on the adrenaline from a great run, your dog will behave impeccably or you’ll be surprised that your session is over so quickly. You are in this for the long game and lifestyle change for you and your hound so persevere. It is worth it!
To find out more about the hands free Harness & Leash Spike & Milo are using click here.