Running with your dog

Running is a fun activity to do with your dog. It's both a great form of exercise and great company. Movement is something all dogs need to feel good. That's why we're going to learn how you can introduce running training to your dog.

Introducing running

The most important thing to keep in mind is that all running training should be on the dog's terms. So, it is not the time to set any goals for yourself the sessions you take with your dog. Depending on how well trained your dog is, you can introduce running training at different levels. If your dog is untrained and perhaps even overweight, walking in varied terrain may suit you better at this time. If you have a fit dog, your training may be faster. Further down you will learn how your dog should run and what pace is optimal for his body.
Start your training with intervals, and then calm intervals, varying between running at a slow pace and walking. Be out for a maximum of a few miles at first and gradually increase the intervals you run. Further down you will find more information on how your dog should run, this can help you when deciding your pace.

Can all dogs run?

Any healthy dog can join you on the run. This also applies to small breeds, but further down you will find information on how your dog should run. This is of course just as important for a small dog as a large one. But it is not obvious that all dogs like this form of training. Therefore, it is beneficial to gradually introduce the dog to the task and that it is always done on the dog's terms.
Puppies should not be run trained for the first few months. Of course, puppies benefit greatly from exercise, but this should be based on their ability and the pace they choose.
If you have a dog that has had muscle, joint or skeletal problems, it is a good idea to consult your vet in the first instance before you start running training. It's also important to see a dog physiotherapist regularly to get advice on how best to train with your dog's particular condition. For these dogs, it is important that training is not rushed and that you are always alert if your dog shows any symptoms. Then your dog should rest from training.

How should the dog run?

The speed should never be faster than your dog can trot with you. Trotting is the dog's natural long-distance way of walking and puts the least possible strain on the body. You can gallop for shorter distances, preferably on soft ground, but this should not be seen as your overall pace. Simply slow down if your dog starts galloping.

What equipment should I have?

Canicross, line running, has become a big sport both on the exercise trail and as a form of competition. In this form, your dog runs in a special pulling harness and is attached to you with an expander leash attached to a belt around his waist. In this form, your dog should have a slight pull on the harness and run ahead of you. This form of training is best suited for those dogs that are already in good condition and have been running with you for a while. This is not suitable for puppies as it should not be subjected to any pulling until it is fully grown.
Equipment for those of you who want to run in the exercise trail is advantageous a belt that is tightened around the waist and then a slightly longer leash and harness on the dog. If your dog is not going to run as a form of Canicross, the harness does not need to be adapted for the dog to lie on and pull. Then it is advantageous for the dog to lie beside you or diagonally in front.

Things to consider on the trail

Keep in mind that the dog cannot sweat in the same way as we humans. They regulate your body temperature by panting through their mouth and this is something to be aware of, especially when the temperature is slightly higher. Never run with a dog on a hot day as overheating can be a life-threatening condition. Always make sure to stop for water breaks if you are going to run a longer distance together.
Asphalt is very hard on a dog's pads and during the hot summer months the asphalt can become red hot and result in burns. Therefore, think carefully about where you run so that your dog's pads don't risk being worn down. Varied terrain and preferably soft ground is preferable when running with your dog.
Do not exercise your dog just before a run. Always allow a couple of hours between a large meal and a run.

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