Dog running – How I run 15 miles per day

I try to write about what no one else knows. No one can copy that. No one can fake that.

What do I know?

I know what it’s like to run 15 miles every day in all weather.

Fifteen miles is an average day. Sometimes I run (and walk) 20 miles. Sometimes five or six.

I am in the best shape of my life.

In May I ran in my first full marathon, and I was nervous about hitting the dreaded wall (the point where the marathoner literally runs out of energy). The wall generally happens around mile 20, and then it’s survival mode.

I never hit a wall. Not even close.

At the end of the race, I felt like I could run another 26 miles.

I’ll probably end up running one of those damn 50- or 100-mile races just because I feel like I should.

You know what I’ve realized? I’m a professional runner.

Chocolate colored labradoodle and pudel pointer in the snow

I started a small business in August of 2008 where I take people’s dogs on 30- or 60-minute running sessions. This changed my running.

Before I started my dog running business, I always wanted to complete a marathon, but I never could.

I followed a typical marathon training plan two or three times. The plan always started with daily 2- or 3-mile runs and a longer weekend run starting with 6 miles and increasing over time to about 20 miles.

This plan always kicked my ass, and I was never able to complete it without injury. I would end up with damaged hamstrings, a sore ankle or bum knees. Or all of the above. No matter how slowly I tried to build up the mileage, I always got injured.

Eventually, though, I was at least in “good enough” shape to start my business. I’m not sure I believed “Run That Mutt” would actually take off. I just had a new obsession based around running with my own dog and a few rescue dogs. If someone would pay me to run her crazy mutt, I would be in.

If you want to become a distance runner, just start slowly.

And I mean slowly.

Like, run a mile once a week for a couple months. Forget about speed.

Then build up to the point where you can run three miles at one time. Increase that over time to about six miles. Then run six miles a few times a week for an entire year before you even think about training for a marathon.

Get your body adapted to running so running itself is not such a big deal. Then shoot for 10 miles after six miles seems like nothing. Do that for a couple of months.

When I started my dog running business, I had to build up my miles slowly and that worked to my benefit. I didn’t have many customers at first so I would run three miles a day. Then four. Then a few months later I had a few more customers and I was running six miles in a day. Then eight. After a year or so I was doing 10 miles consistently and so on.

As far as marathon training is concerned, you’re better off doing less and remaining injury free than training too hard. At least you know you’ll make it to the starting line.

The finish line is not what you should be worried about at this point. Most people don’t even get to the starting line.

Me, a runner?

I still don’t think of myself as a runner. I’m pretty darn slow, actually. I run at about an 11-minute mile pace most of the time. “Serious” runners would laugh at this. They might even say that it’s not running. It’s jogging.

As far as I’m concerned, if you are not standing or crawling or walking, then you must be running. Jogging does not exist. I have never gone “jogging.” I never will.

Many of the people in my life do not view me as an athlete. They think I play with dogs all day.

“Oh … you have a ‘dog walking’ business? Do you get paid?”

I know I bring this upon myself. I don’t brag about myself at all, normally. I don’t even talk about myself unless someone asks.

I forget that what I do is impressive to most people.

I can run a marathon on a Saturday and then go back to work Monday and run another 16 miles without a problem. And then on Tuesday get up and do it again and then again on Wednesday.

Most people struggle to even run 3 miles. I forget that. I take my ability for granted.

The body’s ability to adapt to high mileage

My body has adapted so well that running 15 miles per day is basically as easy for me as it is for a couch potato not to work out at all.

People say things like, “Wow! You must be able to eat whatever you want!”

Actually, not really. Because our bodies adapt. It’s not a big deal for my body to run 15 miles per day. It’s like, if you walk a mile every day, it’s not really much of a challenge after awhile, is it? You don’t lose any weight. You maintain your weight or even gain weight.

Since I run somewhere around 15 miles every day, it is no longer a challenge.

To lose weight, I would have to mix up my exercise routine, and that seems impossible for me right now. Lift some weights. Swim. Sprint. I haven’t made this a habit, so I accept the consequences of my actions.

Adapting to the cold

Another weird thing I’ve noticed after four winters of dog running in North Dakota (this winter is my fourth) is that my body heats up really fast in the cold. Like, really fast.

No matter how cold it gets outside, I still run. My body seems to have adapted to this, and as long as I’m moving I don’t need many layers to keep warm. I’m usually hot.

If it’s 0 degress (F) outside, I might wear a single long-sleeve shirt designed for warmth and my running jacket and I’ll be warm within 15 minutes. My cut off for wearing any gloves at all is 18 degrees. If it’s above 18 degrees, it’s too hot for gloves.

I just find it fascinating how our bodies really do adapt to whatever we give them.

If you eat mostly fast food and soda, your body adapts. If you only sleep four hours a night, your body adapts. If you swim 80 hours per week, your body adapts. It’s really amazing.

I know I will never have to deal with injured knees or hamstrings or ankles anymore.

Sure, I might slip and fall or trip over my own feet like any idiot, but my body has adapted well to the abuse of running.

And what about the dogs? How do they do it?

The dogs adapt, too.

Running with a dog for 30 minutes or 60 minutes really isn’t a lot of work for most dogs. When they run with me every day, they become fit, too. I wish I could find a way to take them all running together for about 15 miles at one time. It’s just not realistic because of their various speeds and temperaments and excitement levels.

If I come up with a realistic idea to allow for group runs of four or five dogs, I’ll let you know. That could really be something.

I’ve also thrown around the idea of offering longer runs for dogs, something like 13- or 15-mile runs. A 15-mile run is exactly what some dogs need. And they are very capable of running at least that distance.

The possibilities of a dog runner are endless.

Who would’ve thought?

Follow this link to learn how to start your own dog running business.

I’d love to hear your running stories, whether you are a seasoned runner or just getting started. Also, what are some crazy ways your body has adapted?

Here’s a picture of Ranger and Annie. They go running with me several times per week. They take their running very seriously. Both have ran more than 750 miles with me since September 2010. Annie is close to breaking 1,000 miles!

74 thoughts on “Dog running – How I run 15 miles per day”

  1. I was very interested in your article. I know few people who regularly walk their dogs, and no one who loves dogs AND is a runner/jogger. (I’m not sure if I’m a runner or a jogger – sometimes I’m a walker :o)

    I started on a womens’ over-30 soccer team when I was 30. I wasn’t a jogger/runner but became one to stay in shape for playing soccer. I played about 5 years and had to quit due to a back injury/surgery. When I recovered, I started running again, just to stay in shape and exercise my Lab. Maggie and I covered many a mile together, til she was almost 12, and died from cancer.

    That was 3 years ago. I’m 47 now. I’m STILL trying to get back in shape. After the loss and heartbreak of losing Maggie, and 6 months later, getting a new Lab puppy, it has been hard to get back in shape AND especially lose that 13 +/- pounds I gained between dogs and having the time to exercise regularly.

    What I’ve learned? You have to run every day, or at least 6 days a week. People who run 3-4 times a week (or less) tend to have more pains/injuries (my observation) and it could be because they try to make up for NOT running the day before but I think your body adjusts better to a daily routine. Besides, I remember in anatomy & physiology our teacher told us muscle fibers start to atrophy in TWO days. Think about that.

    And for all you ladies out there? If you need to drop a few pounds, do it before you enter your early-mid 40’s. It took me about 10 months to lose those 12-13 lbs and that was with 1-2 hours daily exercise and eating sensibly (which I’ve always done). I never had trouble before trying to drop a pound or two when I needed to. Even carrying a couple extra pounds will weigh you down and wear you out faster, plus the added strain on your joints. (Ever see a fat race horse?)

    Yes, start slowly. Don’t worry about speed. JUST DO IT. Even when you don’t feel like running? Just get out and tell yourself you’ll at least “go down to the corner and back.” Every time I have to give myself this pep talk, I always feel more energetic once I head out and I just keep going.

    You don’t need to be a marathon runner to stay fit. I average about 6 miles (9 is my best). I’m happy with that. Besides, it’s very time-consuming – some people just can’t manage to devote that much time. My congrats to Lindsay for incorporating a way to make it profitable. :o) (Talk about motivation!)

    I will do it as long as I’m able – there’s no better feeling than being fit. And if I can no longer run, I’ll walk.

    1. Lindsay Stordahl

      Thanks so much for sharing your experience! It’s motivating for me, too, to hear about others. I don’t know what I’d do with my dog. He gets me out and about every day.

  2. Oh wow, 15 miles. Yes, I find that very impressive.

    I like the idea of taking it slow. I like to run with Celeste, my 4-yr-old mexi-mutt. We both get tired (me more than her). But I usually end up running too often too soon, which results in painful shins and ankles. More importantly, it stops being fun.

    So I stopped running. But you’ve inspired me to try just once a week, maybe at lunch.

    I have to intersperse little hikes around the sanctuary with Mina. She cannot run anymore, but she does love little traipse in the woods.

    1. Lindsay Stordahl

      Hey Marji, Thanks for stopping by and commenting. When I get shin splints it’s because I’ve increased my mileage too much too soon or I need new shoes. I agree, you definitely don’t want to run unless it’s fun. I hope you and Celeste get out there for a short run this week! If not, then enjoy your walks and hikes.

  3. Running 15 miles a day is pretty impressive! Good for you for being in your best shape ever. I’m merely trying to walk 2-3 miles on a consistent basis. You’re so right about the body being remarkably adaptable. Unfortunately, it “adapts” to our bad habits as well. I’m glad you have Ace and all your other dogs to keep you motivated. I thought your advice about training to be a distance runner was really good too.

    Also, great photo of Ranger and Annie. The number of miles they are logging is pretty impressive too. Bet they love it when they see you coming!

  4. You article couldn’t have come at a better time for me 🙂
    I’ve been running with my dog Mac (GSD) since last May, and we go out about five days a week together- four early morning 5 K runs (I think thats 3 miles?) and a longer Sunday run which is up to 10 K now (six miles?). I just took Mac to the vet for his checkup/annual shots, and he said to be careful with his joints and recommended glucosamine and chondroiten. We’re also going to get his hips X-rayed in the spring to see if he is at risk for hip dysplaysia. We bought him off of the internet from the people from Deliverance, so we have no idea who his parents are, or if he has any genetic risk through them.
    I’m considered leaving him behind on the longer runs on Sundays now at least until we see the results of the X-rays. The vet told me just to let him set his own activity level, and he seems to poop out anywhere between 7-9 K and then he just wants to walk.
    Coincidentally I am also just starting to train for a marathon in the spring. I felt the same way you did (no wall & tons of energy) after a half-marathon, so I’m setting my sights a bit higher. I have been a little nervous about whether I have it in me or not, but I’m going ahead and damn the torpedoes so to speak.
    Anyway, I’m rambling now- I am enjoying your blog- thanks!

    1. Lindsay Stordahl

      One thing to remember is that when we are running, our dogs are usually just trotting along at our sides. Trotting is much easier on their joints than full on running, which dogs don’t do a lot of. It is smart to be cautious when you are dealing with a large breed with the potential for joint problems, though. I think it’s a good idea to let the dog set the pace. Keep me posted.

  5. It was encouraging to hear your thoughts on running. I know we were all born to run, but I need to take it slow, real slow to begin with. P.S. I have a big spot in my heart for black dogs! I hope Dex gets adopted soon.

    1. Lindsay Stordahl

      I truly believe anyone can be a distance runner. But yes, we all need to slowly build up our mileage. I know there are some people who are able to just go out and run 20 miles without any training, but that is not the case for most of us! Thank you for reading and for commenting!

  6. I’ve decided to start running with the dogs. However I don’t do it every day and I’ve been wondering if that is the wrong way to go about it. So thank you for your post! I read it yesterday and then decided that we would do two seperate walks, Belle’s still in rehab and I want to work on her leash manners. So we started walking then I just started running and lo and Behold I could run farther then I thought I could!!!

    Belle didn’t care for the running last night unless she had a snowbank to run on. Alaska has had a really winter with a lot of warm winds and melting snow to ice! Yippee!!! not.

    So we’ll take it slowly, still enjoy our walks but rev it up every once in a while!

    Thanks!!!

    1. When I first started running Mac I deliberately gave him a day off (just walks) in between running days- just in case he got stiff or sore from the running, as he wasn’t used to it on a regular basis.

      1. Lindsay Stordahl

        Tia,

        I think that was a smart idea to give your dog some days off from running, especially when you were just starting out. I’m sure you still give him days off here and there. Sometimes it’s nice to just walk and not have to worry about running. Walking is more relaxing for me, anyway.

        1. He gets the same days off that I do: Mondays and Fridays 🙂 It is nice just to walk, and those are usually the days he gets to go off leash and play “stick” with me.

  7. Hi Lindsay,

    I found your blog because I am thinking of starting a dog walking business and I’m so glad I did (find the blog) because I also just started running in March. I am so excited about the possibility of combining my passion for animals and exercise to make money! One question I have, and this may be in the book, is do you ever have problems with dogs having accidents in the house after the run? I’m concerned because I’m sure they drink a lot of water after and then they are stuck in the house until the owners get home.

    Thanks!
    Dara

    1. Lindsay Stordahl

      No, I’ve never had an issue with that. A lot of my customers are actually at home with their dogs when I stop by. Some work from home. Some are stay at home moms and so on. The only time I’ve been worried about accidents is when I’m caring for puppies. I have a client now who is only about three months old. When we come back in from playing in the yard, he drinks a ton of water! But he’s still in that housebreaking stage, and his owners certainly understand that. They would rather have him get out midday and lessen his chance of an accident rather than have him stay home alone for 8 hours and definitely have an accident. Plus, they try to get home early enough to let him out again.

      I do think it’s important to stay in good communication with each customer and to come up with a plan if any of the dogs start to have issues with this. Giving them a smaller amount of water would be my suggestion.

  8. I just recently started running with my dog Missy a Border Collie/Lab. I’m hoping to run a 5k in March. I’m starting of slowly increasing how long I run and decreasing how long a walk on a run every two weeks.

  9. Hi,
    I was wondering if you had any tip as how to train a dog to run with you. I have a jack russell terrier who while he loves to run by self, appears to not quite be a runner. My boyfriend took him for short runs a few times, after 2-3 miles, he appears to be stubborn and fully stop, which unfortunately leads to my boyfriend getting quite annoyed with our dog. I’d like to try again, wondering if you could advice how to deal with such behavior, as I don’t want to make my dog frustrated or even disliked the activity of running if I was to drag him. Should I start slow, 1 mile run, once or twice a week. I can run 5k without training, as I am fit. My concern is how to make my dog like the activity to the point where he can be our partner. Should I not use a retractable leash? Thank you for letting me know.

    1. Lindsay Stordahl

      Does he run for a few minutes and then stop like he wants to turn around and go home? One thing I will do with dogs like this is turn around and head home but then keep running right by the house. Or change up the routine quite often so he doesn’t exactly know which way home is.

      If your dog loves visiting new areas, you could drive him to a fun park and go running from there to make things more interesting. Or bring along his absolute favorite treats (real chicken, hot dogs, etc.). Give him a treat whenever he is actually running nicely. Don’t use a treat to bribe him into moving or he will learn he gets a treat whenever he stands still.

      Bring a squeaky toy along or something fun he loves.

      Run ahead of him screaming “woooo!” to get him to chase you.

  10. Where do you run with your dogs? I’m concerned about potential joint damage with our Doberman running on the pavement as I read that pavement could be stressful on their joints. It certainly isn’t fantastic on ours. Is that a valid concern or is it something that’s really not as serious as some people make it out to be?

    1. Lindsay Stordahl

      I run on concrete 99 percent of the time. Concrete sidewalks. My joints used to get really sore when I wasn’t as much as a seasoned runner. That was five years ago. I would do 2 to 5 miles and my knees would be killing me. Now I do 15 to 18 miles every day and my knees are just fine.

      Still, that’s just me. I’m not a doctor. I don’t know. Maybe I’ll have bad arthritis in 10 years. Maybe I’ll need new knees. Personally, though, I think running on hard surfaces has actually made my joints stronger. And any exercise is generally better than no exercise at all, of course. Some people use this as an excuse not to run at all.

      I’m not at all concerned about the dogs I run. I am so slow compared to them. They basically walk fast next to me at a trot. I think your dobie would be OK. Good question for a vet, though.

  11. Hi
    Congrats on your first full marathon. I also run, sometimes with my dogs, and I’ve run a marathon as well. The reason why you did not hit “the wall,” other than that you consistently train at long slow distance all week, is probably because you are used to running about 10 -11 mins per mile I think you had said before. At that pace, your body is used to burnring more fat than sugar and glycogen for energy. Fat burns a lot more slowly, so when most runners hit that glycogen depletion around 2 + hours of running, they really feel it. That’s the wall. Your body is used to operating at that level, so your body interpreted the feeling as normal, hence no wall.

    My issue with running with my dogs is that I have a really difficult time keeping them in heal position until they get in a rythm in about a mile. Even then, sometimes they try to pull. Plus, one of my dogs is deathly afraid of the dreaded school bus. If one drives by he drops flat to the ground instantly. Imagine me and the other dog continuing our run only to be jerked backwards suddenly by dead weight. Other than that it seems like both of my dogs love to run between 3 and 5 miles no problem.

    As always, your blog is a lot of fun. Great job.

    -Tim

    1. Lindsay Stordahl

      That makes sense, Tim, about the wall. Very interesting. I hadn’t really thought of it that way and I completely agree. I do feel like I could run 50 miles at my slow pace and I would be just fine. I also find that if I increase my speed even a little bit I get pretty winded. So that is a goal of mine, to pick up the pace.

      When I run with two dogs, I typically have one on each side and I keep their leashes loose but with little slack. Every now and then one will get spooked and try to bolt in front or jump behind, but I have good control of the leashes all the time. As for keeping them in heel, I keep the collars high on their necks and do a little pop on the leash as needed to keep them in heel.

  12. Hey there – just found your blog and this post. I just raced a 5k with my dog and I want to be able to safely build up his millage. I run much more than he does so I’ve been taking him out for 30mins and then dropping him back at home and finishing the rest of my run alone.

    I don’t want to push him over his limits but I’d love to take him on my longer trail runs. How can I do this safely?? he is a doberman/shep cross – 5 years old. I need him to drop about 10lbs to be at his optimal weight. Should I just continue doing what I’m doing? or can I take him out longer and just add in some walk breaks to increase his endurance?

    thanks!

    1. Lindsay Stordahl

      I would try 45 mins or so next time and see how that goes. Then try an hour. Does he keep up with you pretty good or does he slow you down? If he has no trouble keeping up, he’s probably good to go out for longer runs. Just be prepared to take walk breaks if he slows down. He may need a day of rest in between runs, too.

  13. Hi, I just came across your blog and found this post. I used to run a ton and stopped when I started graduate school. Im in NYC and the air quality is pretty awful. I recently adopted a hound/boxer/bulldog mix. She’s about 17 months old now, full of energy, loves to sprint and do the puppy crazy run around the apt and dog park yet she HATES maintaining a trot. Her fav toy is a ball (I drop way too much money on toys because really, she doesn’t care for anything other than her simple ball) and I’ve been trying to encourage her to keep up with me using her ball or squeakers but I get the “yea right” face. We used to jog 5K before her spinal surgery (congenital spinal stenosis) and I stopped when she started limping and collapsing, and realized there was a bigger problem other than sore joints. We are now 2 months post op and she’s sprinting everywhere but trotting? forget it. If I take her to central park she’s pulling me in all directions and when it comes to fetch there is no desire to pause for a good 30 min on her end. So, I’m curious if she’s ever going to jog with me. I’m definitely interested in building her back up slowly. I miss my best jogging partner. Thanks for this post, I wish I could run 15 mi a day. 🙂 BTW, my marathon wall was mile 18 and boy did it hurt. At mi 22 I started running again and pushed through, but ouch.

    1. Lindsay Stordahl

      Hmm, I’m not sure what the deal is. Some dogs are just slower. Sure, they can sprint for a few seconds or even a few minutes but then they slow down. Many of the dogs I “run” with actually run at about the pace of a walk. Maybe that is the case with your dog.

      1. Melissa Victoria

        It’s been a month and a half since I posted and I’ve tried a couple things. These cold fronts definitely help; She doesn’t jog on humid days. I started walking her to Central Park (2 mi walk there and 2 mi walk back) and playing fetch on the grass, chasing horses together, running from raccoons… and she quickly learned that when we head in a specific direction she gets to go to Central Park. Her desperation to get there motivated her to speed up a bit. But the trip there is gross, hectic, and all cement so rather than continue hating that, I tried taking her along the river for jogs. Turns out she has developed a love of chasing runners, bicycles, and scooters. There is also the occasional patch of grass to freak out on (she DOES freak out when we touch grass in a good way that makes me feel like a terrible owner for living in a city). She is so overwhelmed with stimuli that she ignores her ball for the most part and is way more interested in tracking all the many squirrels. We’ve worked up to approx 5 mi of very very slow jogging, the occasional sprints after other active people, and the stubborn walk because the squirrel ran in the opposite direction we are heading in. Overall, there is some permanent nerve damage but I can see her limp improve with each passing day and I usually give her 1-2 days of recovery with long walks and whatever massaging I can get away with. We went last Thursday and I took a couple days off because I am fighting a cold. I can see the crazy puppy in her eyes… if I don’t take her tonight she will be very misbehaved! Thank you for motivating me to keep trying with her.

          1. Melissa Victoria

            Since you’re revisiting this, I wanted to let you know we are doing between 2-6 miles most days split up into 2 runs if doing the longer distance. She gets excited when I lace up my running shoes. And about the cold, you’re totally right. I’m cold for about 2 minutes and then I start moving and I wish I had worn less. My ears and hands are the only things I usually regret not covering. What really helped was getting a hands free leash on a bungee cord. It gives her more flexibility to hang back and sniff or run ahead and sniff and I can maintain my consistent pace. Neither of us are leaning oddly while running because of the short leash. I can’t say she is fast but I can say she has stamina and it has really helped with her recovery from spinal surgery. And about timing, it takes THE SAME AMOUNT OF TIME as a regular walk but we both get exercise in. Afterwards I do some walking lunges while training her to heel with me at the same time. Best workout!

  14. So happy to have found this article, I’m a gym runner, which I hate. I grew up running in the mountains in VA. However, life and work have sent me to the gym for my runs, which are nothing to brag of now. I recently adopted a 4 month old pitt/hound mix full of energy for my 4 yr old daughter. Our older dogs are 12+ and not much of fun for her to play with just cuddle 🙂 . However, I recently moved near a state park full of trails! I’m wanting to start Taylor out on the trails, she’s got good behavior, loves to run and play but I’m not sure if she’s too young? I know I need to start her slow, I have a trail loop in mind is 2.1 miles too much if I rotate walking and jogging or should I wait till she’s older?
    She’s already a long legged thing, my daughter calls her ‘ her pony’.

    1. Long walks are fine, up to as long as she will go with a little jogging. If you are worried about her joints, just check with the vet about what age she could start running. I think people get too worried about that, though. When we run, dogs usually just walk fast since we humans are so slow 🙂

      1. Thanks! Took Taylor out today and that pup was born to run! I choose a 2.2 rugged hike trail to just walk with her (rugged here is mod to me) and swear that pup would look me in the eye sometimes and say ‘let’s go for it’. She did great!

  15. Hey Lindsay,

    That is awesome that you have found a passion and that you have taken that passion and made a living out of it. You should send me an email so we can chat

    brian boggs

  16. My main concern with taking my dog for long runs with me is his water. How often do you offer your dogs water and how do you transport it for them and ‘administer’ it? My dog is a rottweiler/labrador mix.

  17. Lindsay Stordahl

    I usually don’t bring water for myself or the dog. We typically run for 4-5 miles in an hour in weather up to about 85 degrees. I don’t run during the hottest parts of the day during the summer, and I live in a cold climate (North Dakota!). On hot days (above 85 F or so), I stick to walking and I carry water in a small backpack. Another trick you can do is plan to circle back to the house halfway through the run so the dog can get a quick sip of water.

    It just depends on the dog, its fitness level, breed, age, the weather and so many other factors.

  18. Two extra benefits of running with your dog: first, when race you race without your dog, it’s a breeze. You don’t realize how much extra work it is running with a dog until you’re without him!

    Second, the dog is so much more fun to be around the rest of the day! Fatigue can be wonderful.

  19. Hi. Very interesting article and very impressive daily mileage!!!
    I have recently ‘adopted’ a border collie from a friend who had to move house and couldn’t take her with him. I have been a keen runner for about 3 years and I try and run 6 days a week. I love my running!!! Sadly, I find taking the dog a bit of a pain though. I love the freedom of running alone where I want with no hassle. I find taking a leash and poo bags a real hassle. I live on a farm so shorter runs around the fields are no problem as I don’t even take a lead because its private land. Longer runs where I’m on trails and crossing roads are a pain, so much so I don’t take the dog (much to her dismay 🙁 ). Have you got any tips for either having her constantly off leash or how to get her to carry a short lead for road crossing etc so I don’t have the hassle of leash on, leash off, stop start etc. I just don’t enjoy the run that’s way 🙁
    Many thanks
    Andy x

  20. Lindsay Stordahl

    You may like a hands-free leash that fits around the runner’s waist.

    Another thing you can do is have the dog run while wearing a dog backpack. Then you can put the poop bags in there – both the unused and the used bags – until you get to a trash can or dumpster.

    Not sure if you’ve seen my post on how to run with a dog, but here it is: http://www.thatmutt.com/2011/05/18/how-to-run-with-a-dog/

  21. How long are your long runs? I find that dogs don’t really need an energy boost. They digest their food much slower than we do, which is why they are just fine eating one or two meals a day.

    Does your dog seem to run out of energy on longer runs? There are some canine power bar type snacks on he market. Like I said, I don’t think they are necessary. I think they are more for the human to feel better about he dog. Still, if it’s a concern for you, you could ask your dog’s vet what he or she thinks. I will do some more research, too, and get back to you on my findings.

    In my experience, though, dogs seem fine running for a few hours with no extra food during the run, assuming it is not too hot out, in which case the dog might overheat. Sometimes I will increase the food at the dog’s next meal, though, for the extra calories.

  22. Michelle Calabro

    We are starting 6 plus miles soon. So far, I have not given her anything during our runs. I will be starting to train for a 1/2 soon and wanted my four legged little lady to train with me….I wanted to make sure I was given her enough food once we reached 10 or so miles. 🙂 We are good on getting enough water.

    Thanks for your response and love reading your blog.

  23. Lindsay Stordahl

    Congrats on hitting six-mile runs and training for a half marathon! What type of dog is she? If she is already doing 5 miles, I don’t think she will have much trouble with 6, 8, 10 or 13 miles.

    1. Lindsay Stordahl

      Aww, I’m sure she is so cute! I asked a question about this topic on That Mutt’s Facebook page today, and so far people have said they typically don’t feed extra treats on longer runs. Just water.

  24. Hello, this was a fun blog to read. We have a lab/pointer mix and she goes running with me 3 days a week. On alternate days we walk 3 miles. Our running is up to 6 1/2 miles with her usually still leading the way. I have her on a short leash and allow her to “lead” but she always waits for my signal with regards to direction in any fork in the road or street crossing. Luckily, I never have to carry a poop bag for more than a mile before going past a trashcan. We built up to this mileage slowly and carefully. Any sign of her being tired and I find shade and water for her. And yes, we run on hot days too because here in so cal it can be 80 degrees at 7 in the morning. Again, runs are adjusted based on how she is doing. Truthfully though, I am building my mileage and am not sure how much higher in mileage I will allow her to go. I will just keep a sharp eye to see how she handles more mileage. Love to hear your stories!

  25. Lindsay Stordahl

    That’s so awesome that you are running with your dog three days a week. Do you know how many dogs would love to be in her shoes? I’m guessing that because of the pointer in her, she will have no problem increasing the miles to 7, 8, 10 or more. But it’s good that you are slowly building the miles and keeping a close eye on her.

    Thanks for sharing your experience!

  26. I have been running with my Weimaraner for the past year. He is the best running partner, always ready to go! He seemed to get tired around 6 miles tho. Do you think I can keep taking Him on my longer runs or should I just take him on smaller ones? He slows didn’t a lot to where I am almost pulling him home!

    1. Lindsay Stordahl

      I think he will let you know when he is tired. Sounds like six miles is his limit. You could try a little longer, just stick closer to the house at the end.

  27. I’ve been running with my Westie for about nine months. I’ve gone as far as six miles with her and she’s always ready for more.

    I found your blog because I was searching for advice on how to run with a dog. She is pretty high spirited and, being a Westie, is a hunter. I made the mistake of starting out allowing her to run to the end of her leash when she saw a rabbit (as many as ten rabbits some mornings) and when she wanted to ramble (always). It’s getting frustrating – shock…I’m tempted to leave her, but don’t have the heart as she enjoys the runs tremendously.

    I’ll be following your advice on how to train your dog to run with you. Any additional comments/advice/hints appreciated.

  28. I’m 60 years old… aargh!!! I started running one year ago with my dog, a Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever. I’ve been training for a half marathon and my dog runs every training session with me. We broke 20km two days ago. I’m so proud of my 7 year old pup. He trots along beside me at an average pace of 6:30 min/km. I plan routes so that we run part of the time beside the Swan River, Perth Western Australia. We’re still both hitting the track!!

  29. Dogs are fantastic running partners. I love running with Lars, mmakes an already enjoyable experience just that even more enjoyable seeing him have so much fun.

  30. Do you think I would be able to take my 9 month old lab hiking on the appalachian trail this summer? we would be doing about 15mi/day – walking. thank you!

    1. Lindsay Stordahl

      Yes, definitely. Bring plenty of water and walk in the shade as much as possible. I wouldn’t worry about the distance, but possibly the heat.

  31. What kind of dogs are those? I just recently adopted a mixed breed dog who looks kind of like them and I have been trying to figure out what she is!

    1. Lindsay Stordahl

      The bigger one on the left is half Lab and half poodle, so Labradoodle. He is a very laid back, sweet, medium-energy, friendly guy. The one on the right is a purebred Pudelpointer. She is friendly and sweet, too, but very high energy and serious about her work – pointing, running, flushing and hunting. She is very much a working girl, but also a pet.

  32. I usually run with my pit at night around 7-8 pm. Just for fun we usually do a mile jog and then some frisbee and basic obedience.

  33. I LOVE YOUR BLOG! I also love running with my dog! I have a border collie mix (with healthy joints) named Delilah. I believe much of what you write (about running) is common sense but it is very nice to hear it from someone other than myself. Running is our therapy together. Delilah’s behavior and mine are much better after a long run.

  34. Hi Lindsay, I have a 3-5 year-old Doberman mixed with maybe some Rottie and/or some Lab–she’s a rescue so we don’t know her history at all. For several years I have been doing intervals: 1 min. jogging, 2 min walking, for about 35 minutes total. My old Dobe loved to go and could have gone for hours, but I end up dragging this one along after about the first 12 or 15 minutes. I don’t think she’s getting tired, since she trots along happily once I stop jogging, and when we get home she’s sprinting away in the backyard after the squirrels and birds. I go in the early morning before any heat mounts, and we got her last Spring so I don’t know how she’ll be when the whether gets cooler. Do you have any advice for getting her to keep up? Besides it being a real pain, having to drag her 70 pounds is throwing off my gait and starting to hurt my back. Thanks!

    1. Lindsay Stordahl

      Hi Lori! I’m glad you’re running with your dog! I have taken a few hundred dogs running over the years, and there are some that are just not big on speed. They run behind me the whole time and then come home and still have energy, so it might be the speed that is the issue with your dog.

      Some things I do to get a dog to speed up are to actually slow down to the dog’s pace and then get the dog excited with my voice, to get them to chase me and run at my speed. I then say things like “Woo! Yeah, Buddy!” and I’m sure I look ridiculous.

      Other than that, I’m not sure what you can do. If she is in great shape, she may just not be a runner. Maybe bring highly valued treats? A squeaky toy? I know that’s not the best but just brainstorming.

      Also, for what it’s worth – I am a fairly “slow” runner. I do about 10-minute miles on average and I am still faster than most dogs. Do you think you are just too fast for your dog and your last dog was just faster than most? The one purebred Dobie I have gone running with was by far the fastest dog I’ve taken. He could also go for hours like your previous dog.

  35. I have been an athlete and active in my younger years (now 44 years old). I’ve tried to stay active, going to the gym, running.. But never have maintained a routine. I’ve gained 30 pounds from my younger years and have struggled to get it off. This year (now that my kids are grown and I actually have time for me) I decided to make a commitment to run and get in shape. I also decided to get a running partner (dog) since I was running alone. I researched the local shelters and found my perfect mate. Remi and I have been running together for about 4 months now every other day. She loves it and has really kept me motivated. We are doing intervals of
    walking/running/sprinting with the use of an app built for interval training. We are up to 41 minutes on our workouts and approx 3.5 miles. Remi would not even walk a mile without lying down when I got her because she was in the shelter for almost a year. She now loves our time outdoors. She has been my best motivator and I’m down almost 20lbs. I can’t resist her stares to get out the door even on the days I’m not really feeling it, but i just can’t resist her eagerness. Running with her has been a wonderful experience and life changer. She’s an awesome dog!

    1. That’s so good to hear that you have been running with your dog and that you both enjoy it so much. I agree, dogs are the best motivators, and I think running with them can be so relaxing. Well, maybe not relaxing all the time, but it’s a stress reliever for me.

  36. Wow, 15 miles a day! For me that’s a lot even though I do run, cycle and/or walk with my dogs daily. It would probably be quite fun to run that much though, do you go to a lot of different places when running? Or do you have basic routes you usually run?

    I train canicross with Jet. We train twice a week, and do a few long sprints each session + warm-up and cool down walks and runs. We have signed up for our first canicross race, which will be 2.5k, but hopefully we’ll be able to run it quite fast. I attempt to run 4k at least once or twice a week, but lately I’ve been a bit lazy, and just walked or cycled. Jet’s crazy though. He could actually run all day, even after canicross training, he would be ready for another one half an hour later.

    Really good post, nice and informative, and motivated me to possibly try running more often with Jet. I think I’ll try to run just a bit more next time! 😀

  37. When I started dog walking dogs it was because I dig dogs.It started with people watching Emma Lou(yellow lab) and I always out for a walk.We go to the hills,lakes,creeks,beach and different cities,towns to get her use to different situations.I`m 57 years old.At that time I was in ok to good shape.My neighbors asked me if I would walk and train there dogs.I started with 3 dogs to walk.I went online and found Liondsay`s blog.She said she runs/hikes with dogs.I thought wow thats what I`m going to do.I did not know anything about the dog walking business.I started Dog run and hike for my business.People love it.There dogs are in great shape now and so am I.Where I live theres a lot of open land with lakes and hill to hike and run.I`m loving the hell of this and I owe it all to Lindsay.Theres this groove you get into while your jogging with dogs.The whole dog walking/jogging business is the coolest thing.People pay me good too.I have to get a lot better at the business side of things but I`m learning.

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