How to run with a dog

Tips for running with dogs

People ask for tips on how to run with a dog since I cover about 40 miles per week offering dog running sessions through my business Run That Mutt.

I also go about 20 miles through dog walking. People are curious about how to run with dogs and how to start a dog jogging business, so I thought I’d answer some of the most common questions here.

How to run with a dog - That Mutt

How far can I run with my dog?

If you are wondering about how to run with a dog, your first question is probably “how far can my dog run?”

Probably pretty far. Your dog will be fine, although you do need to make sure to start slowly and with a short distance if your dog hasn’t been active lately.

If you’re worried, then start with 1/2 mile. Then increase the distance to 1, 2, 3, 6 miles slowly over a few weeks. Some dogs really can run distances of 5 or even 10+ miles in a day easily. Think dogs meant for hunting or endurance like pointers, huskies, etc.

See my post: Best dogs for running

A good rule of thumb for most dogs is 2.5 to 3 miles regularly and more if that seems easy for your dog (and you).

How can I tell if my dog is too tired during a run?

If she is dragging behind you or panting heavily. If that’s the case, slow down to a walk. Bring water along on hot days.

Can I run with my small dog?


Small dogs often have more energy and can run longer than the bigger dogs. Most Jack Russell terriers, for example, can easily run 10 miles per day. Start with 1 mile for a few runs, and increase the distance if your dog seems OK. Most smaller breeds should be able to run about 3 miles.

Which dogs shouldn’t go running?

Overweight dogs shouldn’t run because their extra body weight will put too much stress on their joints. Stick to walking until the dog loses some weight. Older dogs with arthritis should also stick to walking, as should any dog with an injury.

Dogs with “short faces” like English bulldogs and Boston terriers can overheat very easily. Running is still great exercise for them, but be very careful on hot days.

Giant-breed dogs like English mastiffs and Newfoundlands are generally lower energy and do not do very well with running. A lot of veterinarians recommend that giant breed dogs stick to walking because it’s easier on their joints. This is good advice.

Always check with your vet if you are not sure if running is safe for your dog.

When is my puppy old enough to go running?

Most veterinarians recommend that large-breed dogs should not go running until they are 1.5 years old because their joints will still be developing up until that point.

have taken some puppies running when they are around 9 months old as long as I run at a consistent, slow enough pace so the dog is moving at a fast walk and not a full-on gallop.

If you have ever watched a dog “run” with a person, the dog is usually just walking fast while the person is running. This is healthy exercise for the dog and will not put too much stress on his joints.

I do not recommend rollerblading or biking with large-breed puppies or dogs because the faster pace can end up harming their joints. If you’re not sure if running is OK for your puppy, ask her vet or someone who is an expert on the breed.

What if my dog runs too fast for me?

Then make him slow down!

Keep your dog on a leash no longer than 6 feet, and make him run at your speed.

Dogs are sprinters, so they can’t maintain a fast pace for very long. I’m not a “fast” runner by most standards, but I can outpace most of the dogs I run. They lose some steam after about five minutes. We typically run at about a 10-minute mile pace.

How do I keep my dog at my side when we run?

Dog runner with a black lab mix dog running! How to run with a dog

Run with your dog in a formal heel position, meaning she is at your side with her head or shoulder even with your hip. Keep the dog’s collar high on her neck, right under her chin and behind her ears.

When the collar slips to the lower, stronger area of her neck, that gives her more control so stop and adjust it.

Ditch the retractable leash. Use a 6-foot leather leash instead.

In your left hand, hold the leash close to your dog’s collar. In your right hand, hold the slack. Your left hand becomes sort of the “shock absorber” while your right hand is there just in case your left hand drops the leash. Keep the entire leash as loose as possible. I will hold the leash with literally two fingers from each hand to make sure I stay relaxed. A tight leash will only encourage the dog to resist and pull harder.

If the dog pulls, quickly pull up on the leash with your left hand to re-direct her attention back to you. You can also try switching directions.

Keep moving!

What is the best dog collar to stop my dog from pulling?

For most dogs, a simple choke collar or slip lead will work just fine. Martingale collars also work for most dogs. Martingale collars are usually made of nylon and they don’t tighten as much as a standard choke collar.

For powerful, easily excitable dogs, try a prong collar that fits properly. You don’t want the prongs to be too big, and the collar shouldn’t be too tight or too loose. Haltis and Gentle Leaders are also effective once the dog adjusts to wearing one.

Stop using a harness unless it’s specifically designed to prevent pulling.

Will my dog get hurt if I take him running?

Running with two dogs - Ranger and Annie

For dogs that aren’t used to being walked on pavement, stop and check their paw pads every 15 minutes or so. Dogs that are walked often will develop calloused feet – and that’s a good thing.

If dogs are kept indoors or in the grass all the time, their paws won’t be able to handle a lot of running right away. You’ll have to slowly increase the distance. It would be the equivalent of you going for a run in the street without shoes.

Also watch for any limping or stiffness the day after a run. If the dog is not used to running, she could pull a muscle or feel sore the next day.

How much do I feed my dog if he runs with me?

Measure your dog’s food for each meal and feed him regularly scheduled meals so you know exactly how much your dog eats per day. Do not “free feed” your dog.

If your dog looks a little lean, then feed him more. If he looks a little chubby, then feed him less. If you are increasing your dog’s exercise, then it makes sense that he will require a little more food in order to maintain his healthy weight.

If Ace tags along on a longer run than usual, I might feed him a little extra that day. He is leaner and more active than most dogs, so he eats more than the recommended serving on most commercial dog food bags.

When is it too hot to run with a dog?

Usually it’s too hot to run a dog during the middle of the day in the summer. Black dogs, overweight dogs, short-faced dogs and extra hairy dogs get overheated too easily. White dogs get sunburned too easily.

I don’t recommend muzzles, Gentle Leaders or Haltis for running on hot days. Dogs can still pant while wearing these, but some won’t be able to pant as heavily as they need to.

Bring water along during your summer runs or plan your route so you can loop back home for a quick drink.

Keep a close eye on your dog and take it easy if he starts to pant heavily, slow down or drag behind. Take breaks often and sit in the shade. Signs of heatstroke (hyperthermia) in dogs include rapid panting, dizziness, diarrhea, pale gums and a long, red tongue.

If your dog gets too hot, help him cool down slowly by offering him some water and a chance to rest in a cool, indoor area. Place cool, damp towels under his belly and paws.

Remember, some dogs (like mine) do not have an “off switch” during certain activities such as rollerblading or chasing a ball. It’s up to us to make them take breaks every 15 minutes to avoid overheating.

When I first got Ace I assumed he would stop chasing a ball when he got tired. Boy was I wrong!

When is it too cold to run with a dog?

As long as you keep moving, most dogs can go for a 20-minute run or longer no matter how cold it gets.

I live in North Dakota where the winter temperature is very often 10 below zero or colder. And that’s not counting the windchill.

The dogs are typically just fine for a half-hour run without any kind of dog coat as long as we keep moving. Even the short haired breeds without undercoats (like vizslas) are fine in January.

Dogs have fur coats and they can handle the cold better than us. If you are cold, then head inside. If you are fine, your dog is probably fine.

Obviously you want to take extra precautions on cold days by running closer to home and putting a coat on your dog if he needs one.

And by all means, if your dog is shivering and lifting up her paws for more than a few minutes, bring her inside!

What’s the best kind of dog coat?

Most dogs don’t need a coat.

If your dog seems cold outside, then shop for a dog coat at a sporting goods store that carries hunting gear for dogs.

Don’t buy those cute, fashionable dog coats. Those are cute, but they do nothing for extra warmth. If anything, the coat will get wet and make the dog colder. For serious protection against the cold, get your dog a waterproof vest designed for sporting breeds.

Unfortunately if you have a small dog, you probably won’t be able to find a hunting vest for him. I wouldn’t worry too much. Dogs have their own natural fur coats. They don’t really need more than that.

What kind of dog boots do you recommend in the winter?

I do not recommend dog boots for keeping a dog’s feet warm.

I do recommend dog boots for protection against de-icing chemicals or sharp/jagged ice. Dog boots can also prevent ice and snow from building up between the toes of a longhaired dog.

Anything bulky will feel too awkward for your dog, so look for a lightweight set.

If I don’t run, how can I get my dog tired?

Take him biking or rollerblading with you or purchase a dog backpack for him to wear during walks.

Dog backpacks are awesome for making the dog carry his own, you know, SHIT, when the nearest trash can is a ways away.

how to run with a dog

More on how to run with a dog – my experience

Saturday I am running in the Fargo Marathon, my first full marathon. I am not quite sure why I decided to sign up for this other than it seemed like a good idea at the time.

Really though, I’ve wanted to run a marathon for about the last five years. I trained for a few 26.2’s starting in 2006, but I always ended up overtraining and injuring myself so I couldn’t participate. This is a very common problem for newer runners.

I’m one of those people who can run through just about any amount of pain, so I would obsessively follow the training schedule, making sure to get in a long run each Saturday.

What I know now is that to an extent, it’s better to undertrain than to overtrain. Get some solid base running in, and don’t worry too much about speed or long runs.

I’m not saying that I undertrained – I run a lot more now than I did in 2006 – but I know when to give my knees a rest. I have been running injury free for at least 18 months. That’s something I know not to take for granted.

A fellow runner told me (at 6 a.m. during a 12-mile outdoor training run in mid-January) that there are only two obstacles that prevent someone from completing a marathon. The first is an injury; the second is never starting.

I think about that a lot, as it applies to pretty much anything in life. If you don’t try, you don’t fail. But you don’t win, either.

Just making it to the starting line on Saturday will be a win for me, something I’ve been chasing since May 2006 when I ran my first 13.1 and became addicted to the thrill of endurance.

I’m planning on running slowly on Saturday, probably sticking with the 5-hour pace group until at least the halfway point. I can’t risk an injury.

Unlike the majority of first-time marathoners, I won’t be able to sit around the office Monday morning icing my knees. I won’t be able to temporarily leave the sport. I want to be out running and walking my dog friends. Plus, it kind of pays my bills 🙂

Thank you to all my canine running buddies

How to run with a dog

I owe a huge thank you to all my canine training buddies. There is no way I would be a runner if I didn’t have extremely enthusiastic dogs to run with. One dog even tagged along for one of my weekend long runs of 13+ miles. Good boy, Eli!
Most of my longer runs, though, I ran on my own. I’d run the first 14 miles or so alone and then pick up Mr. Ace of Spades for the last two miles.

Running without dogs is totally different than running with dogs.

For me, it’s more relaxing without them.

Running with a dog or two drains my mental energy, something very much needed to complete 26.2 miles. I’m very committed to improving a dog’s leash manners. That means I’m always focused on my surroundings and on where the dog is and what the dog is doing.

A great amount of my physical energy is used to keep the dog at my side and to maintain a quick pace.

I don’t have to worry about any of that on Saturday.

On Saturday I get to relax, breathe, run slowly, enjoy the surroundings and have fun!

I’m making some entertaining signs for my friends to wave around to encourage the runners, and I would love some suggestions. No Google searches allowed! I’ve seen all those signs, and they were only funny the first time.

The best sign idea I’ve come up with so far is:

Hurry! They close the course in five hours!

Leave your creative/inappropriate spectator sign suggestions in the comments. Drinking comments or sexual references encouraged!

What tips do you have for running with a dog?

For more info, see my posts:

How I run 15 miles per day with dogs

What to do if an off-leash dog charges you

83 thoughts on “How to run with a dog”

  1. Good luck on the marathon, I still have to think of a sign to hold up, but watch for me around 25miles! (probably by elephant!) 😀

    I get bored too fast running without a dog. If I’m running with a dog like Charlie who wont pull or get too excited by other dogs and people I prefer having them with, but dogs like Bella (the 4 luv of dog rescue) who was a constant struggle to keep at my side and who got excited when she saw somebody a block away would make me tired of running really soon.

    My advice… Don’t be that person who has a big dog with a flexi leash that is pulled all the way to the end and your “jogging” behind them. It’s a lot more fun to run with your dog when your not struggling to stay on your feet.

    Good luck again!!

    1. Thanks so much for this! I just signed up for a half marathon here this fall and I am slowly increasing from like 1 mile and going up. I am determined to become a runner. I love running with my dog, a young pit mix that will be 2 in August. I like her so much better when she is tired because she is super high anxiety from a long shelter stay. (I mean I always LOVE her, but she can be really nuts sometimes and is very strong.) I get bored running very easily and I was just stressing today about how long will be too long for her to come with me and now I don’t have to worry as much. Good luck Lindsay and thanks for all your info and advice!

      1. Lindsay Stordahl

        I’m sure she will be able to run at least 6 miles at a time with you and probably even further.

    2. My girl is a puller and just wants to go.. She ran me for 4 miles @ 8:20 Pace and kind of threw off my gait and I am suffering a little. I am good with the pace but the pulling led me run different. I am thinking about using a head collar what are your thoughts?

      1. Lindsay Stordahl

        It’s definitely worth a try to see if you like using one and how your dog does. You want to make sure she is still panting while wearing it, though, so she’s able to cool herself. A few dogs keep their mouth’s closed (so they can pull harder) while wearing it. So just be aware of your pup.

  2. Wow, I don’t think I’d survive running a marathon! 🙂 I do like running with Jasmine, but short distances only, for both our sakes 🙂 But it is a great thing to do.

    As for the sign, how about some human equivalent of doggy treats on them?

  3. Shauna Rooke-Meyer

    I am so glad to have found this post and it is perfect timing! I have 2 dogs that I recently adopted and take running. Well, OK maybe more of a run/walk and then meander. 🙂 I used to run them up and down a street close to me but I got bored of that. I am sure they were as well and since it is mostly pavement I worried about it heating up when the sun would finally appear. I live in Washington State and we are on a record-breaking 2 days straight of sun. Woo hoo! 😉

    I live next to a tree farm which is trail-like so we have been running in there for the last couple of weeks. But for the last 3 days, probably because of new smells due to the ground heating up, it has been a more of a stop and sniff and then run into the trees attempting to drag me behind them. Thankfully I have a super strong Sporn leash and strong legs and arms so they don’t get far but it very frustrating! Sigh… One dog has great leash manners and I am working on the other’s but they both are doing this.

    I wouldn’t mind doing the sniff and wander but it defeats the point of getting quality exercise, right? We were up to 4 miles a day and now we are down to two. I really don’t have the time to take them for an extended sniff and wander twice a day. Any suggestions would be so appreciated!

    Thanks again,


  4. Shauna Rooke-Meyer


    Both posts are going to be very helpful! Thank you so much! I am going to print them off so all of the humans are on the same page. 🙂

    I think perhaps I am going to have to train and walk the puller, Fiona, separately from my good walker, Cody. I don’t think it would be fair to him to be ‘punished’ by stopping constantly because Fiona is pulling, you know?

    I definitely need to start at square one as she gets VERY excited when she knows we are going to walk. I have tried varying my routine constantly but she still jumps, bumps and scratches when I put on the leash…I have the bruises to prove it! I am going to have to wear long pants all summer long if she doesn’t calm down.

    Thanks so much!

  5. Shauna Rooke-Meyer

    My goodness, I keep forgetting to wish you the best luck ever for running your first full marathon! Good luck and have fun!

  6. Lindsay Stordahl

    Thanks, Shauna! I definitely think you should walk the dogs separately when you can. That will allow you to focus on Fiona. Let me know how it goes!

  7. This is your first marathon, go out there and have lots of fun. Think positive!! I have a few friends running the marathon from Chicago. Good Luck to all of you.

    The best is when you can run with your dog. I really enjoyed my runs with Dakota (Golden Ret.). Now that he is 10 yrs old I don’t run with him but my walks with him are just as good.

    My Motto is:

    Running is not in the legs, it’s in the heart!!

  8. Good luck with the marathon!!!

    Thanks for the tips. I am considering signing Sophie and I up for a 5k race later this year. The tips will come in handy when we start training.

    1. Lindsay Stordahl

      It went really well! Better than I expected. I ran slowly for the first 20 miles. It was hard not to speed up. But then I felt really good for the last 6 miles and was able to pass a bunch of people who had slowed down. I never hit any kind of wall or anything like that. Back to running doggies tomorrow morning 🙂

    1. Seriously, I watched you run by from inside! Charlie was out there too and when I saw you run by I was like nooooo……………….. Next year I guess? :p

      1. Lindsay Stordahl

        I’m surprised you spotted me! Too bad I didn’t see Charlie! I was too focused on getting to the end!

        1. I’m honestly surprised I saw you also, there were a lot of people!

          P.s. we have the trainer that Charlie’s vet recomended coming over to see Charlie on Thursday!

          1. Lindsay Stordahl

            Good luck with the trainer. Who is the trainer? I’m sure it will go really well!

  9. Pingback: Pup links! « Doggerel

  10. Just found this blog. Thanks for all of the great tips! I have two Jack Russell mixes (about 30 lbs each) and they love to run. One can go 18 miles and the other 13. For your next marathon (I know you’ll be hooked now. The first one always gets you), the best sign I’ve ever seen was: “Who Fartleked?” Had me laughing for miles.

    1. Lindsay Stordahl

      See everyone! I was serious when I saw most Jack Russells can run at least 10 miles per day 🙂 Ashley, you have two lucky dogs, and that sign idea is great!

  11. Great tips Lindsay!

    I’m a recreational marathoner too and I recently launched a blog devoted to pet fitness news and information ( Earlier today we published a post about canine thermoregulation and its implications when it comes to warm weather exercise. You and your readers might want to check it out:

    Thanks again for covering these cool and important topics!


  12. Hi Lindsay,
    Great post, thanks for sharing. I run 5ks with my 10 lb yorkiepoo, and I have some issues with him.
    1. I time my runs, and he stops to pee about 10 times per run. And that means he maks me stop by screeching to a halt, sniffs around, finds a perfect spot, then pees, although after the first couple of times only a few drops come out, if that. Sometimes he just sniffs around and doesn’t even pee.

    2. He also does great on the first half, but then slows down on the 2nd half (I think he doesn’t want to go home).

    Have you seen this before with any of the dogs you run with? Any tips? I want to just run without him, but then I would feel so guilty.

  13. Lindsay Stordahl

    Thanks for reading!

    Many of the dogs I run are similar to your dog where they want to stop and pee every 10 feet. I simply don’t let them. I let them go to the bathroom one time when we start, then maybe again halfway through and when we get home. That’s it. I don’t have to pee every 10 minutes while running, and they don’t either. Since your dog is only 10 pounds, you should have no problem controlling him, but I imagine you are afraid of hurting him. Just give him a firm “No!” and firmly pull on his leash. You can use your usual command to get him to run whether it’s “heel” or “let’s go!” or whatever. If all else fails, then scream “wooo! and sprint ahead so he chases you 🙂

    He may be slowing down on the second half because he’s tired, but you know your dog best! You’re probably right that he doesn’t want to go home! Try mixing up your route. Turn around a few times during each route without actually heading home. That way he’ll never be sure when the run is going to end.

    Your dog is very, very normal 🙂 And I wouldn’t feel bad leaving him home every now and then. Running without a dog is very different than running with a dog. Sometimes you probably want to focus on yourself. He’s lucky he gets to go most of the time, so don’t feel bad if you leave him home every now and then 🙂

  14. Lindsay Stordahl

    Also, if you keep your dog at your side in a formal “heel” position, he won’t be as tempted to stop and pee. So keep him controlled on a short leash at your side with little slack and room to run around.

    I am impressed you take your 10-pound dog running! I wish more people would do this!

  15. Thanks Lindsay!
    Those are great tips. I just have to learn to say no more peeing! I find it also helps if I run somewhere that has less grass and bushes, so when I’m timing my run I will stick to those routes. And great idea about heading home and then turning around, I didn’t think of that. The reason I think he’s not tired is because it happens when we run 5ks and it happens when we run just 1 or 2 miles. And it always happens on the way back. Once I ran a 5k with him, I had to practically drag him on the way back (sometimes I pick him up and run with him in my arms to try to make up time), and I thought wow maybe he is really tired. After the run I stopped and sat down to catch my breath, and then he saw a another dog and miraculously got all his energy back, and then yanked on the leash the whole walk home. I will definitely try your suggestions!

    The best part about running with my dog is when he looks back at me with a huge smile on his face, like he’s saying “thank you!”. It’s so cute I have to laugh out loud ever time, and he does it 1-2 times every run. Makes it all worth it!


  16. I run with my mal mix a fair bit. What works well for us is an umbilical lead. I attach Ruby to my hips and off we go, it keeps her at my side or at my heal without fussing about with the leash and on those times that she spies something like a squirrel she can’t get any momentum to charge after it as she only has a bout 3 feet of play in the lead. She is a big burly girl with all the strength of her mal side, so I not getting my arm pulled off is a good thing. 🙂

  17. Lindsay Stordahl

    Sounds like this option works great for you! I’m not a big fan of hands-free leashes because I like to correct the dog if needed. I’ve tied my dog’s leash to my waist before, and it’s just not for me. I’d rather hold the leash or have him off leash, but that’s just me.

  18. A properly fitting harness is safer to use on a dog than a choker or another collar. Pulling on your dogs throat can cause trachea damage and scaring, and over time they may sustain dysphagia. I have been running with my lab mix for over 5 years on tracks, on trails, on fields, etc. and the harness works great. Plus the harness provides much more control without harming your dog. Happy running!

    1. Lindsay Stordahl

      I really don’t like using harnesses, but I’m glad it works for you and your dog. Every dog/owner pair is different.

  19. Good tips, but one problem no one mentioned… it isn’t easy jogging with a bag of dog doo! I’m not always near a trash can and sometimes have to carry it til I find one (and a Lab creates a lot of doo). Sometimes I’ll bag it and put it where I can pick it up on the way back (if I know I’ve passed a trash can). (And no, that doesn’t work making them doo before you leave … she will have to go again if we’re out a couple hours).

    I don’t do marathons, I just jog for exercise. But I do enjoy jogging where I can let her off the leash. It’s just more enjoyable for the both of us! We both enjoy jogging on dirt trails best. Much less monotonous and more invigorating.

    1. Lindsay Stordahl

      Yes, I have that same problem. My town definitely needs more trash cans! 🙂 A dog backpack comes in handy for making the dog carry its own, um, crap!

  20. I just started training for a half marathon in Savannah on Nov 3rd, and this morning I took my very fit Rory (50 lb black mutt) on a 2.5 run with me (and 1.5 miles of walking). He has a light 3-lb dog pack to keep his focus on “working” for me (and so that he actually gets tired by the time I’m ready to go home). He seemed to perform very well, never falling behind and pulling back. I stopped for a bathroom break for him and when we started back up I only had 2 fingers on the leash and didn’t have to pull his collar ( he made no complaints and started trotting right along, head down, ears back, tail bobbing in the usual curl high above his back). He has been walking regularly with the 3-lb pack for 6 months on pavement. Is the pack appropriate for running, or will that stress his joints instead of strengthen them? I was thinking that I wouldn’t take it on runs over 3 miles. That means the first purple miles will be more mental energy to control his excitability on my part Thoughts?

    Also, how about,

    (image of golden, glowing pint of beautiful beer)

    1. Lindsay Stordahl

      I wouldn’t worry about the pack as long as there is not much weight in it. You can even have him wear the pack with no weight at all and it will still give him a mental workout for longer runs. The main thing I would worry about is the dog getting too hot. If you are worried about his joints, you could check with his vet. I had my dog wear a pack for 20 miles running and he was fine. He’s a 68 pound lean lab mix. I didn’t have weight in the pack. Just a few poop bags 🙂

      1. Thanks for the reply and advice. Instinct and reason told me that I’m doing it right, but I guess I needed the reassurance! I’m just being a total dog mom 🙂 I’ll continue to keep an eye on his tongue color and panting like your article mentioned. Oh and good idea on emptying the pack weights for longer runs. Great blog!

  21. I have a Rottweiler and it wont run with me it just seems to go at a slower speed and it’s only 4 months old so I just walk really slow with it what should. I do

  22. I really like that you recommend using a regular leash instead of a hands free leash. I’m very hesitant to use the hands free leash because I’m pretty sure my dog would dash in front of me when we pass our street. She thinks that just because she knows the way home that we have to go there. 🙂 She’s been getting better at running with me instead of trying to pull, but I”m not liking the fact that I have to wrap the leash around my arm to keep it short enough to keep her under control. What are your thoughts on shorter leashes (such as 1 – 2 feet) instead of a six foot one? Any recommendations?

    1. I use a hands free leash with my 95 lb malamute mix with no issues. It did take a little getting used to and I wear it on my hips so that if she were to pull its less of an issue. But the thing is she doesn’t. We have even jogged right by squirrels (on a walk she always wants to chase any squirrel she sees).
      Running, Espicially in a group , seems to improve Rubys leash manners massively
      And the hands free lead gives me better running form

      1. Do you recommend a specific brand? Rory and I are up to 10 miles in our training, so a waist lead sounds like a great choice!

  23. Thank you for the great tips on how to run with your dog. I started running with my puppy NIKITA (now 9 moths old) for short periods of time, and have been gradually incressing. She keeps up with me just fine, as long as I don’t dont go running under the blazing sun, specially because she is black (but than again who likes to go running under the midday sun?). Once again, thanks.

  24. Thanks for the info. I’m training for a half marathon in 4 weeks and run with my 2 year old Boxer. We have only done up to 5 miles together, but I want to build up to 7-9. He is a real handful on the lead when walking, and constantly pulls, but when running he settles down very quickly and its a joy to see him trotting by my side.
    He does seem to slow down after 5 miles or so, although he does not pant and still wants to play ball when we get home, I guess he’s just being lazy and I need to challenge him a bit more.
    I’ll try him out tomorrow on 7 and go from there

  25. I swear by a waist leash. When I first started running with Ruby it was a lot of stop and start on off leash trails. As our distances increased I found using a regular lead was awkward
    When she settles into a pace Ruby often runs behind my left foot so I’d be running with my left arm in a weird position.
    With a waist lead worn on my hips (ruby is a big strong dog after all) I can run hands free with her in a perfect heal. I can grab the lead quickly if I need to since its right under my left hand

  26. Lindsay,

    Thanks for the post! I rescued a border collie/aussie mix about 2 months ago in the midst of training for my second half marathon. I have taken him on 2+ hour hikes before but wanted to take him on my 10 miler this morning and wasn’t sure if he could handle the distance. After I read your post, I thought I’d give it a try. We ran a 5 mile loop and stopped halfway to let him drink a little water and he was ready for the second half! He did great. Ran right at my side the entire way.

    Here’s the best sign I’ve ever seen – ‘Kick some ASSphalt!’ 🙂

  27. If a new (to you) dog, make sure hat their paws can take it. The spirit may be willing but soft under-used paws may not. Also if new dog make sure that nails are not too long and hurting them.

  28. You gave some really great tips but I still have one problem. I have a small 17lb dog that is in great shape and we go on three or four mile walks a day. Whenever I try to go jogging with her she refuses to go faster than a walk. She will do a slow jog on our way back home but she fights me the whole time we are jogging away from home. I have never had this problem on our walks! I tried running with treats in my hand or her favorite toy but nothing seems to work. Help please!

  29. Lindsay Stordahl

    Hmm. Maybe she really just doesn’t like to run! I guess I would try incorporating short sprints into your walks. Literally just a few seconds. Run ahead yelling “yeah! woooo!” to make it a game and get her to chase you. That is what I do for dogs that don’t like to run.

    What I find, though, is that some dogs are just not runners.

  30. I just watched “Happy People: A Year in the Taiga”, a movie about trappers in Siberia. They showed how this guy’s husky mutt ran 150 miles in about 12 hours behind a snowmobile and it didn’t even bother to run in the tracks! Incredible.

  31. Great article. I’ve been running on/off with my dog for the past year. Now that I’m training for a half Ironman, he’s been my constant running companion & he loves it! If I have workout gear on, he follows me around the house so I won’t leave him!

    Here’s a sign I saw at my last half marathon, that was unique & I hadn’t seen before. Made me laugh out loud despite my best effort to hold it in…

    “Smile if you already pooped your pants!”

    I didn’t read all the comments, but I hope your first 26.2 went well!!

  32. Hi!
    Great tips! I will be using some of them. My current running partner is my Dachshund. He is “older”, 9, but no one told him that. He still acts like he is two! We run 3 miles 4-5 times a week. At first , I didn’t think he would do it but he loves it! He does very well staying right beside me, at my pace and spending this time with him has greatly improved his behavior in the house. Dachshunds can be very stubborn and he is no exception. But, he seems to be listening better and I’m loving it! Also, I was recently diagnosed with asthma. Running with him keeps me from focusing on my every breath. I seem much less stressed about it when he is with me. So we are seeing lots of benefits from this! I recommend this to everyone!

    1. Lindsay Stordahl

      Good to hear! That’s awesome that you take your little “low rider” with you! He should be an inspiration for Dachshunds everywhere!

  33. I just watched documentary tiaga by Werner Herzog. This guy has huskys and malamute . He traps and rides snow mobile back and forth. His dog runs besides him the 150 mile trip nonstop. Does this every couple weeks. The dog made the trip like it was nothing. And he got 5lb fish at the end. Wolves routinely run 50k a day.

  34. Hi there,
    This is a brilliant article, thank you. I recently started jogging with my three year-old Jack Russell Terrier – she almost always gets around and hour and a half to two hours daily walking (on and off-lead) and is quite possibly the happiest, bubbliest, most responsive dog in the world. I’ve been taking her jogging with me at quite a slow speed for 30 minutes each day for the past week as well and each day she seems to become more and more nervous. It’s really strange, and I was hoping you could help me figure out what’s going on? She’s not typically a frightened sort of dog, but when I put on my running shoes her ears go back and tail goes down and she looks miserable, and today when I picked up the lead and called her she didn’t come – I found her under a chair in a corner trembling! She’s been very off her food this week as well (I don’t know if it’s related to the running) but this is all SO unlike her! Please help me understand!
    Thank you,

    1. Lindsay Stordahl

      Sorry to hear that. I don’t know what’s wrong. How does she respond if you take her for a walk instead of jogging? Is she still excited for her walks?

    2. Hi — this reply is a long time after you wrote, but I just saw your post. It may be that nothing is “wrong.” Many dogs do not like running. Humans impose this on a dog; Jogging is not something a dog would do on his/her own. Dogs by nature want to stop and smell; run and wait; walk, smell…. The most natural and ideal way to run with a dog is to have the dog off leash in a safe area (trail). A dog will run ahead or off to the side and then stop and wait for you. Do you know how many steps a small dog must take to keep up with a human? Don’t lose your sensitivity to your dog when he communicates so clearly to you. Thanks.

  35. I just got our dog this week from a rescue. She is about 6 months old and is a chihuahua pitt bull mix about 21lbs. I figure I need to just start her with walking. How long of walks should I take her on? Also when do you think I could start running with her. I’m quite slow at the moment and most of the time would also be pushing a stroller. I guess I just want to know how long will it take to build up her pads to be running on pavement/asphault?

  36. I know this is old but I LOVE my dog and ALL SAFETY articles about running with dogs that I read, touch my heart, I don’t want anything to ever happen to my little buddy. I just seriously just finished comparing all the collars I bought a few and tested them out, and tried to pick the best one, I am talking about night collars, things that flash, because I feel if I am going to be protected and visible at night, and it’s important enough for me to have a flashlight or vest, then it is important to do the same for my little buddy. qualitycampingandhikingoutdoorgear. blogspot . com is where you can find the comparison if you are interested, just goes over all the various types of night collars that you really should use if you’re going to take your dog out. They love you so much and honestly cannot make the decision themselves and cannot buy it themselves. They rely on you for your protection.

  37. Hi Lindsay,

    Wonderful article. As it so happens, I am starting my own dog jog in business. I have been running w/my Lab for over 3 years now and I’m following my passions (dogs and running) into my own business. I’d love for you to visit my website and see what you think. I’ll most likely be reading your book on how to start a DG biz. Hope to hear from you!

    Oliver Sun
    The Dog Jogger

  38. Are you insane?! 20 miles? Dogs can run further and faster than us? This is the most dangerous article I’ve ever read about dogs. You have absolutely no sources for your information and I think this post should be deleted. Jack Russell’s can “easily run 10 miles a day”? Where is this info coming from? It’s just your opinion. Also, the way you act like it’s no big deal is arguably worse. This was a disturbing read.

    Humans have a MUCH more efficient way of ridding our body of heat. Dogs do not.

    Humans can run further distances than 99% of mammals. Please don’t say dogs can run further than us.

    Smaller dogs can run further than bigger ones? Wrong! They have to expend more energy to go the same distance as a Larger dog. They may have more energy, but that doesn’t equate to distance running. Larger dogs can more easily cover ground and can store more fluids for a longer time.

    Humans can store more liquid and can more efficiently cool themselves. Dogs store less fluid, have to expend more energy to go the same distance, and have a much much MUCH less efficient way of cooling themselves.

    Again, this is an extremely dangerous post. You are so irresponsible for posting it that I don’t even know what to say. The fact that it comes up as the top search result when I decided to google this is terrifying.

    Your dog SHOULD NOT run more than 1-3 miles a day depending on the breed. Any more is animal abuse. What you are doing is animal abuse and if you came into my clinic saying you run 40 miles a week with your dog, I may report you to authorities.

    I’m devastated that this post was the #1 result.

  39. I can’t run I’m 70 yrs old and the knees are shot. How about a video riding a bike with the dog, I can ride a bike but I’m afraid she will run in front of the bike and get hurt. Thanks.

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