Tips For Running With Your Dog

Written by: Milica Brzakovic
How can your dog become your running partner? This article will explain in detail how to achieve that and if it's possible with all dogs.

If you’re an active person who likes to stay in shape, your dog could be a great work-out buddy.

Under the presumption your dog is active too, of course!

So, if that’s the case, there are a couple of things to think about when it comes to running with your dog.

Haven’t found the right training partner yet? Maybe there’s someone you keep forgetting and that’s right in front of you! Yes, that’s right! What about your dog?

So – how and when do you start? What should you have in mind? Read on and get some answers when it comes to running with your dog.

Tips For Running With Your Dog

Having your dog as your workout buddy can be great in so many ways and your running sessions can be a great opportunity to spend some quality-time together – while staying fit at the same time. So, in order to make this as a good experience as possible, check out the following tips!

Talk To Your Vet

Before you start running, you should talk to your vet and get a “green light”. Just to be on the safe side, do a regular check-up and make sure your dog is ready to go. Dogs can’t express themselves in the same way we can, so this is your way of making sure that your dog is fine with the running. Make sure your vet pays extra attention to heart, lungs and joints – as they’re essential for workout.

Start Slowly

Even though your dog is “greened”, you shouldn’t start preparing for marathons as of yet. As with any new activity, you should start slowly and increase gradually. A dog who hasn’t run before needs time to get used to it. You can’t expect the runs to be at the level you want immediately. Instead, build up slowly until you reach the desired level. Your dog’s paws are quite sensitive and it takes time to toughen them up.

Choose Surface

As mentioned, you should watch your dog’s paws and choose your running surface. Look out for ice, glass or hot concrete and other things on the road that may hurt your dog. Try to choose the surface you run on, as much as you can. And if you notice any signs indicating that your dog is in any kind of pain, such as limping or licking its paws, stop running at once. Also, check for cuts before and after running sessions.

Provide Water

This goes for both you and your dog. It’s important to drink enough water, both before and afterwards. If your runs are longer, always bring water for both of you. Otherwise, your dog might start drinking from puddles which should definitely be off-limits as the water in them is most likely toxic and contaminated.

Use Leash

Leashing your dog is necessary for a good run. That way you will keep your dog under control and you’ll keep a regular pace. However, don’t use retractable leases as your dog can tangle if there’s too much space between you. The optimal length for a leash is 3-6 feet.

Be Attentive

Be observant and look out for signs that will tell you how your dog is doing. This is especially important in the beginnings of your training sessions, but you should never stop being attentive. If you notice foam coming out of your dog’s mouth, heavy and fast breathing, glazed eyes or that your dog is slowing down, it’s most probably time for a break. If you take it slow and don’t force anything, there’s no doubt that your dog will enjoy these runs very much.

Clean The Paws

You have to keep your dog’s paws clean, as salt and dirt can get stuck between your dog’s toes. As a result, this can lead to irritation or infection. In order to prevent this, make sure to clean the paws with a warm and soapy rag after the workout session.

But, the next question is…Are all breeds good running partners?

Best Breeds For Running

While all dogs like some kind of activity and need it on a daily basis, not all dogs are great running partners. In general, bigger dogs are more suitable for running. Some breeds were even bred to run, such as huskies and greyhounds. On the other hand, smaller dog with “pulled-in” faces like pugs and bulldogs aren’t the greatest workout friends, as they tend to overheat and have trouble breathing due to a lot of exercise.

So, if you’re looking for a good running partner, these are the breeds, according to runnersworld , that will most likely be up to the task:

  • Weimaraners. This breed is suitable for long and steady runs, thanks to its muscled body and high activity level. Weimaraners need a lot of exercise and activity, so they will be happy to accompany you on a long run.
  • Viszlas. Another great breed for long runs. Viszlas are also great at handling heat, so they will have no problem with runs during summer.
  • Labradors and Golden Retrievers. Both of these breeds are really easy to train and make great workout partners, both for short and long runs.
  • Rhodesian Ridgebacks. This is a very strong and active breed that needs regular exercise, both mental and physical. Rhodesian Ridgebacks also tolerate hot weather really well and can run long distances even during warm days.
  • Malamutes. This big and strong breed is perfect for runs when it’s cold outside. Originally sled dogs, malamutes thrive on exercise and activity.
  • German Shepherds. Active, enthusiastic and intelligent – all great qualities you’re looking for in a running partner. German Shepherds will maybe enjoy your runs more than you!

Besides these breeds, the following are also great running partners:

  • German Shorthaired Pointer
  • Parson Russel Terrier
  • Greyhound
  • Pit Bull
  • English Setter
  • Beagle
  • Dalmatian
  • Fox Terrier
  • Swiss Mountain Dog
  • Siberian Husky
  • Border Collie
  • Belgian Sheepdog

How Do I Train My Dog To Run With Me?

running with your dog

If your dog is one of these breeds you can go ahead and run, right? Well, in some cases yes, and some no. Not all dogs are ready to run, no matter how energetic. So, you’ll have to start slowly and make your dog ready for running.

So…how do you accomplish that?

1. Do A Check-up

Before you start, you have to make sure your dog is healthy and ready to start running. Dogs younger than 18 months shouldn’t start, as their bones are still in the phase of development. So, if your dog is older than that, healthy and the appropriate breed – there’s nothing stopping you!

2. Start Slowly

Start with a 10-minute run. After the first week, add another 10 minutes. Continue like this gradually until you’ve reached your goal. By increasing slowly, you will give your dog’s muscles time to adapt and decrease the chance of injury.

Also, give your dog time to adapt to your pace. You set the pace, not your dog, so you have to teach him or her. With time, you will be in sync.

3. Shorten The Leash

If your dog is already walking nicely on a leash, running on a leash probably won’t be a big problem either. However, if your dog is used to pulling you have to deal with this accordingly and teach that this is unacceptable behavior. In order to do that, you have to shorten the leash and keep your dog by your side, instead of ahead of you.

Do’s And Don’ts

To sum it up – these are the basic do’s and don’ts when it comes to running with your dog.


  • Give your dog some time to adjust and train him or her to be a good running partner.
  • Check with your vet.
  • Start slowly.
  • Run on trails, as it’s much better for the joints and paws than concrete.
  • Teach commands. Your dog should know how to behave and you should be able to control him or her. This is especially important if you’re running through the city with traffic and other people.
  • Provide water. Take water breaks regularly, especially if it’s warm outside.
  • Check the paws. Make sure there are no cuts or injuries.
  • Most importantly – enjoy! Your runs should be a pleasant time and something both of you enjoy.


  • Don’t think that all dogs are good runners. Some breeds simply aren’t made for long runs.
  • Wait with running until your dog’s body is almost fully formed. Otherwise, you might damage your puppy’s bones and joints.
  • Never skip warm up. Before you start running at the wanted pace, walk or jog slowly for some time.
  • Don’t forget tick protection. This goes for both of you, if you’re running on trails or through woods.
  • Don’t use retractable leashes, as it might end up with pulling and tangling.
  • Avoid too hot weather. Even though some breeds can handle it well, dogs still tolerate heat much less than people. Also, pavement and sand can get really hot during summer which isn’t good for your dog’s paws.
  • Ignore your dog’s feelings. Look out for signs that will tell you it’s enough.
  • Don’t give treats right after the run. Wait for your dog to cool down before you reward the good run with a treat.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can Dogs Run Long Distances?

Dogs are made to be active and to run around. However, the amount of exercise and physical activity each dog requires depends on several factors, such as your dog’s breed, age, health, or personality. Some breeds were bred to run long distances AND pull sledges without breaks and food for a long time ( such as huskies ), while other breeds might not be predisposed to running a lot of time because of their constitution (short-legged dog breeds, or brachycephalic breeds). So, if your dog is not used to running, it might not be wise to force him/her to run a very long distance.

Are German Shepherds Good Running Companions?

German Shepherds are among those dog breeds that love a good run! Having such a strong, muscly body, a German Shepherd can keep up the pace with almost any runner. However, it is important to introduce this activity slowly, as it can be highly exhausting to dogs that didn’t have a frequent, intense physical activity before.