1. Pre Run Planning
For each of your dog run sessions map out your route in advance so you know where you are going and how dog friendly this will be. If you live in a town near a school then avoid pick up and drop off times for example. 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 are Distracting
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
Take these 3 essential items on dog runs – poo bags, treats and phone.
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).
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 distributes 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!