Have you watched children lately? They run for fun. They run without thinking.
How about your dog? Does he run zoomies in the yard for sheer joy?
But we’re human adults. We need rules. Here are mine.
Rules for Running With Your Dog
1. You don’t have to RUN with your dog to run with your dog.
When you’re playing fetch, run in the opposite direction and make your dog chase you. Run with her to get the mail from the mailbox. Pick up the pace during a walk and run together down the street. Not everything has to be a big deal.
2. Make sure your dog can run with you, not ahead of you.
Being pulled on a run is not fun, unless you’re going up hill. But if your dog pulls, don’t assume he can’t run with you. I believe some dogs pull because their humans go too slow. And something as simple as a front fastening harnesscan decrease pulling quickly.
3. Let your dog choose the route.
Yesterday, Honey refused to follow me on our regular run. So I changed directions and ended up running along the lakeshore. Nice choice, Honey. Very nice.
4. Remember that humans and dogs are built to run.
Human hunters and their dogs can bring down antelope after outrunning them—not using speed but endurance. Channel your ancestors on the savannahs of Africa and run with your dog.
5. Don’t sweat the equipment.
I run braless with a pair of Keds sneakers on my feet. I can hear the gasps of horror now from people who have swallowed the Nike propaganda.
But both my reading (check out Born to Run: A Hidden Tribe, Superathletes, and the Greatest Race the World Has Never Seen) and my experience have taught me that less is more. Since ditching running shoes I have stopped spraining my weak ankles and gotten fewer blisters.
Ditto for the fancy runner’s leash. Just start running and buy goodies later, if you need them.
6. Don’t make your dog run if she doesn’t want to.
It’s supposed to be fun. This morning Honey would not run with me. It was too close to her breakfast and she was afraid she’d miss it if she went with me. Ok. She went back inside. I went for a run.
7. Pay attention to road surfaces.
If you’re wearing sneakers, it’s easy to forget what sharp gravel or hot asphalt feels like to a dog’s bare paws. If possible, chose a route that allows you to run on grass or a soft path. Your joints will appreciate it too.
8. It’s ok to break up a run with a sniff.
I see runners every day dragging their dogs away from an interesting scent. Hey, it won’t kill you to jog in place for a few seconds.
9. And if you or your dog just hate running, do something else.
Swim with your dog. Bike with your dog. Hike with your dog. There is no end to the ways human and dog athletes can have fun together.
Dogs and humans are meant to move together. So discover your inner zoomies. Go for a run with your dog.
Your Turn: Do you love or hate to run? Is it more fun with your dog?