Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Running with your Dog

Dogs love to run. There is no doubt about it. Now that I am running shorter distances on most of my runs, I am more often able to include one of my favorite running partners, my dog. Yesterday she even did a sprint workout with me. For the first 3 or 4 sprints, she challenged me to keep up. After the first few, however, I had to shout words of encouragement ("Let's go girl, come on!) to keep her motivated. Then on the last sprint (8 total, about 120 yards each), she surprised me and stayed ahead of me. Or maybe I was slowing down more than I thought.

If you have a dog, and he or she is healthy enough to run, give it a shot. Be sure to break her in slowly, and just as you would a new runner, pay attention to her response and know when it is time to quit. Here are some more tips for running with your dog.

  • Have her checked out by a vet first. Make sure there are no conditions that would limit her.
  • Start out slowly and with short distances. I hear of people who take their dogs on very long runs. My Spots is only good for 3 or 4 miles right now.
  • Bring some extra water, a bowl, and some treats/snacks. I find with Spots that if I can take a break and allow her to play in a creek for 2 minutes, she's good for another uninterrupted mile.
  • While your dog might be obedient enough to run unleashed (mine is not), keep her leashed anyway. If is for her (and your) own good. But be mindful of where she is. If you go on one side of a tree, and she goes on another... you get the point.
  • Watch for signs of overuse. Check your dogs foot pads regularly. If they appear torn or raw, stop running and see a vet. There are sprays and even boots that your dog can wear if this is an issue. If your dog appears sore (trouble getting up stairs, etc.), it could be a sign of arthritis or pad wear. Take it easy for a few days, and if it does not improve, see a vet.
  • Watch for signs of overheating. Excessive panting, vomiting, drooling, are all signs that you should stop, rest, and hydrate.

Have fun out there with your dogs!


Sophie Speidel said...

As you may know, I love running with my dog, Jack. Here is the link to our most recent adventure in the SNP. My running partners were impressed that Jack was so well-behaved and that he stayed with us (as an Australian Shepherd, he loves to herd the final runner in the group). They asked me, "How long did it take for you to train him to stay with you?"

Answer: We ran together from the beginning, when he was 3 month old. We would romp in the fields and trails at his pace (I was walking). As he got older, I started to take him on short, hour-long jogs on trails---never on roads. After his first birthday, we worked up to 2-3 hours at an easy pace on trails. He can now run 4 hours in cold weather with lots of water stops with no problems. He wanted to go out the next day, but we made him stay home while I ran so he could have a day off. He was mad.
Here is the link with a photo:


Jessica said...

Just found your blog! I have a Golden Retriever that loves to run with me. He is up to 12 miles and hates my taper weeks. I just found your blog and am doing my first ultra in a few weeks. Only a 50K though! Jessica

Neal Jamison said...


Wow, The way I feel today, I bet your dog can run longer than I can! There is no such thing as "only a 50K". Any ultra is such an achievement. Congrats too on getting into Boston! I qualified in 2005, but never went.

Thanks for checking out my blog.


Anonymous said...

I just started to run with my dog and he's got big problems pacing himself! It's not as easy as it looks for certain, but so much fun!