Here’s how to start running with your dog so that you will both love it!

Want to go running with your bestie? We have put together a list of simple tips and tricks for how to start running with your dog in a way that keeps you both motivated.

No matter where you stand on the running scale, from an everyday runner to someone who just wants to start getting into it, if you have a dog, then maybe you have thought about running together.

If you have dreamed of you and your precious pooch getting fit together and having a great time outdoors too – well, this is it – the start to your dream coming true. The guide you have been waiting for to get you both off the couch and into running with all the sweating, smiling and sunshine that comes with it!

How to start running with your dog

Make sure your dog is old enough to be running

If your dog is still a puppy, then they shouldn’t be running since their bones are still growing. It will take about 9 months for small dogs and bigger dogs might need about 16 months for their bones to fully develop.

Read: Puppy Socialisation: 7 Simple Steps to Doing it the Pawfect Way

Take it easy

The trick to starting to run with your dog is to take it slow and steady. If your dog has never run before and is quite unfit, then you need to ease them into it, as you would with a person who isn’t used to running.

If your dog is very overweight, then start by walking about 3 times a week and don’t walk too far to the point of exhaustion. If you have just adopted your dog from a shelter, then try to take them for some slow strolls first and assess how fit he or she is.

Start slow and steady

Don’t try to go for a long run the first time the two of you go running together. For the first few weeks, you need to build up your pooch’s fitness levels. Start with 3 times a week for 15 to 20 minutes and then gradually increase this as the weeks go by.

Start steady – this means that your beloved Bruno will need a five-minute warm up. During this time, look for any signs of fatigue such as flattened ears, heavy panting, tail down or back legs dragging. All these signs mean that your doggie is pretty tired.

If they are exhausted, then they might try to sit down and refuse to keep going. This means you have gone too far and too hard. Let them rest a bit and slowly walk back home. Then give them a few days off if this is the case.

Teach Bruno control when running

Running with a crazy dog who keeps biting at their leash, running all over the place, jumping in front of you and under your feet can be dangerous for you both! You need to teach Bruno how to run next to you and run on a leash in a controlled manner.

You will want Bruno to be within a meter from you to the one side. This means you will need to reinforce good behaviour with praise or a small treat when he does run next to you. Then he will start to see running in a controlled manner as an activity associated with reward.

Run with a leash

This ties into the point above, you need to run with a leash to ensure that Bruno does not run off or run into the road.

Teach him some manners

When you pass strangers on the road or trail, then pull to the one side and shorten the leash as some people aren’t really dog people like us.

Fuel up for the run

This part is actually very important. You both need to have a small healthy snack before a run and make sure the last big meal you ate was at least 2 hours before your run.

If you are running for more than an hour, then bring some water and high carb snacks along too. A collapsible bowel is a great idea to make sure Bruno gets water too!

Discover: Top 5 Pawesome Dog Friendly Parks in Cape Town

Get pet insurance

Being outside of Bruno’s comfort zone (aka your backyard) could put him at risk of other dog fights or even getting hurt – we hope this never happens, but we want to make sure you are covered in case it does.

Oneplan Pet Insurance is great because they have a variety of plans to choose from depending in what you and your pup are looking for. If your pet is pretty healthy and doesn’t need more than a routine vet visit and cover for the unexpected, then the Primary Plan from R160pm is a great option!

If your pet has any chronic conditions (which they cover after 12 months), then you might want cover for things like Pet Med Savings and Post Operative Care, meaning the Classic Plan R280pm might be more up your alley.

You can get more info about their plans and what would work best for your pet by filling out a quick and easy online quote here.

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