Many people fancy the idea of running with their dog but how easy is this and how do you get started? Having never run with a dog until we got a new puppy last year here, we wondered the same.
After gradually introducing our little 'fella' to this wonderful sport, we found that a few key things can make a difference in helping 'man's best friend' to become a great running partner.
1) Start with a recovery run. A very easy recovery run of 3-4 miles is a perfect distance to start with a puppy or dog unfamiliar with running. If you're jogging you may well find that your dog charges ahead but is then distracted by something giving you a chance to catch up.
2) Follow a route your dog knows. It's best to follow a route your dog already knows from walks. That way if your dog races ahead he won't get lost.
3) Be prepared to stop if necessary. It's never great to stop once you start running as you can lose your rhythm and even get cold. However you may have to if your dog is distracted by other dogs or wants to relieve himself. Having a relaxed attitude to pace is key to running with a dog.
4) Take some doggy treats on the run. If you've got a puppy you may need to incentivise him or her to keep moving with some of his favourite doggy treats.
5) It's nicer to take your dog off the lead…If you're in an enclosed park and it's safe it's nicer for both you and your dog to let him off the lead.
6) But if not, there's special gear. If not there are special dog running harnesses which you strap around your waist.
7) Watch your step! If you take your dog off the lead you may need to watch your step. Some dogs like to jump up or simply stop with little warning just in front of you.
"Having a relaxed attitude to pace is key to running with a dog."
8) Keep chatting to your dog. The best way to keep your dog moving and avoid him stopping or jumping up is to call out to him "Come on" as you run.
9) Increase distance gradually. One 3-4 mile run once a week is probably enough for a puppy. Experiment by adding a little distance or adding runs gradually.
10) Every good dog deserves a reward. Your dog will probably be more thirsty, hungry and tired once you get home. Have a bowl of water and his food at the ready and don't be surprised if you hear some gentle snoring soon afterwards!