I run anywhere from 20-40 miles per week, depending on what my life and run schedule is. I prefer to run outside on the trails near the water instead of running on a treadmill any day of the week. I also love to bring my dogs with me whenever I can. I have three dogs, one is an American Staffy whose 90-pound and can go about two miles before he's tired. My little dog is a terrier mix who is so tiny that carrying her on the trail in a backpack is actually easier than running with her. And last, but certainly not least my 34-pound border collie and official running partner, Roxy. This gem can go miles and miles with me before getting tired. She can keep up with the best marathoners and doesn't take no for an answer. I'm convinced she's part greyhound. I mean literally, the dog never gets tired. Ever.
Despite the fact that Roxy never gets tired, it can still be very challenging running with her at times. I've got to make sure she has enough water, has her harness intact, has her leash just long enough to give her room, but not long enough to chase cyclists nearby. It's a lot of work running with a dog! It can also be extremely rewarding and I've got a list of tips to help make running with your pooch easier.
First things first, always have water on hand for your dog if you are going longer than a mile. I mean it! I get so sick of seeing these "runners" who go miles and miles and miles and never bring along water for their pups. Did you know that your dog gets thirsty 30% faster than you do? Well, you do now! Even if it's cool outside, your pup still needs water to replenish all of the water they are losing when running with you. Think about it, how many times did your dog pee today? They lose water quickly and can get dehydrated easily and it's important for them to stay hydrated all throughout the run. I carry a water belt on me that has two water bottles and one of them I use specifically for Roxy. Another great option is this guy which you can find on Amazon.
So Border Collies are known for running right? Yes, but they can get distracted easily by all of the things around them on the trail. Having a harness for your pup is key because it helps you control your dog more easily and makes your dog more comfortable while running because with a harness they have more stability. Here is a great option for a harness and it comes in really pretty colors. When Roxy and I first started running together she would run all over the place, every which way. I've learned a few tricks along the way to help maintain a steady pace for your pup and to keep you from tripping and falling on the ground. First things first, make sure your dog is wearing a collar and a steady harness, and always keep your dog in line with your left foot or right side, depending on which side you both are more comfortable with. Keep your dog close to you and make sure their paw is in line with your heels. This will help your dog know who's boss and will help maintain a steady state speed all throughout your run. The one thing Roxy tends to do on our trail runs that drive's me crazy is she like to attempt to chase cyclists. It's anoying, but if I keep her in line with my feet I maintain all of the control, not her. There is nothing worse than having a cyclist make a rude comment to you while you are in the midst of your run.
If you like to log some serious mileage like I do, keep running! Letting your dog stop and sniff every little thing will kill your mile times and your pup will assume they have the control. Pro tip: I like to warm up with a 1-mile walk which get's my legs and muscles movin and groovin and it get's Roxy ready to go. During that 1-mile warm up she's able to go to the bathroom, smell all of the smells and get any anxiety out that she may have. I see so many runners on the trail who rarely warm up and it's really bad for your muscles and a sure fire way to get shin splints. Always do your warmup!
The key components to having a safe run with your furry trainer is:
1. Hydration! Always have a water on hand. Having a water harness or collapsible water bowls for your dog ensures they are never left thirsty.
2. Run with your dog in line with your feet and make sure they are wearing and a collar and harness with their leash so you have better control over them.
3. Warmup, warmup, warmup! Warming up is healthy for you and your pup.
4. Never let them spend too much time on one thing, keep moving. The second you let them stop and smell everything they gain control of the run and you're left walking your mileage the rest of the way.
5. Stay calm, cool, and collected. Your dog feeds off of your emotions and the more you have your emotions in check, the more your dog will feel at ease.
I hope these tips help you on your fun adventures with your pup as they have helped me tremendously. Comment below and let me know how often you run with your pup. What type of activity do you do with them? Any tips to give me and Roxy?