Dogs and humans both need plenty of exercise, so why not exercise together? Jogging is a common exercise routine for many people, and our furry friends can enjoy it too. However, jogging is not something that comes easy for every dog. So, here are some of the top tips for teaching your dog to go jogging with you.
Before you start training your dog to jog with you, you need to make sure they can handle jogging. Not all dogs are great running buddies for various health reasons. For example, brachycephalic dog breeds have shorter snouts than other dogs, which makes them prone to breathing problems. Thus, they shouldn’t run often. Also, senior dogs could have joint problems, which would make running uncomfortable or even painful.
Some dogs also just don’t like to run. You’ll probably find that young large breed dogs are the most likely to enjoy running. So, take your dog’s specific needs into consideration before teaching them to jog with you.
#1 – Start with Walking
Leash training is essential before you even consider running with your dog. Your dog should know how to walk beside you without pulling on the leash and come to you when called. If your dog is difficult to control when walking normally, they’ll likely be more difficult to control when running too.
By practicing loose leash walking, you can help keep your dog close to you. Use positive reinforcements to prevent them from pulling and getting distracted. First, practice in an area with minimal distractions, such as your home or yard so your dog can get the hang of it. Then, eventually practice in busier areas like parks to ensure that your dog knows how to listen even with a lot going on around them.
#2 – Use a Speed Cue
Once your dog knows how to walk nicely by your side, you can slowly introduce them to jogging. Use a cue to let them know when you’re about to go faster. “Let’s go” or “faster” are common options. Once you settle on the cue, make sure you’re consistent with using the same command every time. Otherwise, your dog might not understand when you want them to run.
You can start by teaching the cue using short bursts of energy. Use the command, and then start running. Your dog will likely follow you. Then, if you need them to slow down, use a command like “whoa” or “slow” to get them to stop. Practice the start and stop commands around your home and reward your dog for good behavior.
#3 – Gradually Increase Speed
Starting off slower is the best way to go. Every time you practice running with your dog, you can gradually increase your speed. That way, you can help them build up endurance. Most dogs are not built to run frequently, so you’ll need to train them for it just like you would with a human.
At first, only run small stretches. Then, run a little further or faster each time. It will take a few weeks, but eventually your dog should be able to run the ideal distances. However, it’s important to remember that not all dogs can handle running. So, if your dog seems extra tired at any point, it might be time to give them a break to keep them safe.
#4 – Keep Your Dog Hydrated
Most dogs don’t need water on short runs, but it’s a good idea to have some accessible just in case. Your dog should get the same amount of water breaks as you, and possibly even more if it’s hot outside. Using a portable bowl can be a great way to share your bottled water with your furry friend.
#5 – Know When to Stop
Dogs are often less tolerant to heat than humans are, so it’s important to keep an eye out for signs of exhaustion. If your dog is panting so hard that their tongue is hanging out the side of their mouth, then that’s a good indicator that they need a break. If your dog’s breathing doesn’t return to normal after a short break, then you might want to stop running for the day.
You should also be aware of extreme weather conditions around you. If it’s an extremely hot day or if there’s rain or snow present, you might want to stay inside. Your dog’s health is a priority, so you shouldn’t want them to be at risk of heat stroke or other potential health concerns.
Teaching your dog to go jogging with you might seem like a fun idea, but it can take a lot of time and patience. Just like with any other type of training, you should be positive and consistent with them as they learn. Dogs love spending time with their humans, so odds are, they’ll enjoy running with you once they get the hang of it.