The sun is out and you're looking forward to a nice run with your dog. But, before you tie your shoelaces, there are a few things that you should definitely pay attention to when jogging with your dog.
Jogging with Your Dog: Tips for Enjoying Running Together
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Such fun - jogging is even more enjoyable with your beloved dog.
How do I teach my dog to jog?
If your dog hasn’t had much experience jogging, you should allow it to get used to this sport step by step. This means that you should only run very short distances at first.
First of all, start with a distance of just 50 metres. The objective is for your dog to understand not to pull on the lead. If it manages this, immediately reward it with treats and plenty of encouragement.
If your dog has understood your commands, you can slowly increase the distance and tempo. Steadily build up jogging with your dog in this way over several weeks.
You should also consider integrating regular breaks so that your dog doesn't over-exert itself.
What equipment do I need for jogging with a dog?
Whether you need accessories for jogging with a dog depends on how experienced your canine friend is. If your dog runs freely alongside you and is already trained, you don't necessarily need special equipment.
On the other hand, if you would first like to get your dog used to jogging and it still has problems following your commands, the following aids will help you:
1. Jogging lead with waist belt
Unlike normal leads, jogging leads are more flexible with less heavy metal applications. The integrated waist belt takes the strain off your arm when running and also offers you the opportunity to securely fasten a water bottle, food and other small objects (e.g. your keys or phone).
You need tasty treats so that you can reward your dog in between. Dog biscuits or dry food are most suitable, but you can also take special liver sausage for dogs with you.
It's more pleasant for your dog to wear a chest harness instead of a collar. This way, it is less likely to injure itself if it ever pulls too hard on the lead.
Particular caution is advised if you go jogging with your dog at dawn or in the dark. You should definitely use a light to make your dog more visible for other passers-by, motorists or cyclists. There is a broad selection of reflectors, luminous tags or collars.
5. Drinking bottle
If there is no stream or lake to drink from on your route, you should definitely take with you a water bottle for your dog. This avoids your dog getting dehydrated and suffering from a circulatory collapse.
6. GPS tracker
Do you want to monitor your dog's movement or record its running route? Then a GPS tracker could be of interest to you, as it is a straightforward way of measuring your dog's activity. Most devices are waterproof and function even beyond national borders.
What requirements do I need to consider?
If you want to go jogging with your dog, you should consider a few points before you start. This is important so your dog doesn't get injured or overexerted when jogging.
First of all, the most important question is whether your dog really is healthy. Before your four-legged companion goes running several kilometres with you, you should assess its physical condition. If it is injured or has had problems with its hips for a long time, you shouldn't put it under additional strain with endurance sports. If you are unsure, you can always ask your vet for advice and get them to perform a health check-up.
Age is important
Make sure your dog is not too young for jogging. The skeleton of puppies is not yet fully mature. If you put your puppy or young dog under too much physical strain, you risk damaging its locomotor system including its bones, muscles, tendons and ligaments. Hence, you should only start jogging with your dog once it is of adult age (from around two years of age).
The third requirement for jogging with a dog is its social behaviour. There is a high probability of you meeting other dogs on your jogging route. Your dog absolutely has to follow your commands so that your fun isn't clouded by trouble with other dogs.
Hence, it is important not just for jogging to socialise dogs from the puppy phase and to attend a dog school. If your dog doesn't tolerate other dogs or humans, you should look for isolated jogging routes.
You can also find valuable training tips in the dog training section of the zooplus magazine!
Jogging with dogs: Which breeds are suitable?
Dog breeds differ in many aspects – principally their physique and nature. This also means that not all dogs are made for endurance sport.
In short, breeds with long legs and a relatively shorter back are better suited for longer runs. In contrast, dogs with short legs and a longer back can injure their spinal column and joints more easily with such movements.
The following dog breeds are perfect for jogging:
- Australian Shepherd
- Border Collie
- English Setter
- Golden Retriever
- Jack Russell Terrier
- Labrador Retriever
- Magyar Vizsla
Contrary to the widely held opinion that greyhound species are suitable for jogging, they are better for short running distances. Hence, Greyhounds and Whippets are perfect dogs for sprinting.
What else do I need to pay attention to when jogging with a dog?
You should only go jogging once or twice a week with your dog so that it can recover properly from running practice. This prevents painful and protracted injuries for your dog.
A further tip for hot summer days: Running in the blazing sun is not a pleasant experience for you or your dog. Hence, make sure there is enough shade or only go jogging in the cooler morning or evening periods. If you go running in summer, you must avoid hot asphalt and prioritise cool forest soil.