Running Course

How To Run With Your Dog

An image of your dog, curled up on the couch alone, is burned in your brain every time you step outside for a run. “Why won’t you take me with you?” his sad puppy eyes are most definitely saying. You want to bring him along, but is it just that easy?

“A lot of dogs love to run, but they don’t necessarily know how to go on a run,” says Nike Running Global Head Coach Chris Bennett. Here’s what you’ll need to know before grabbing the leash.

  • Let your pup set the pace
  • Bring double the water
  • Get an adjustable leash
  • Keep it short to start
  • They’re not all runners
  • Keep your pup safe

Set your pup up for success

Let your pup set the pace

Let your pup set the pace

The most important thing to know? This run is not for you. “If you want to clock a fast time, don’t go with your dog,” says Coach Bennett. Start off slow, and when your dog wants to stop and sniff the roses, let him. “He’ll be more excited to go on the next run if he’s enjoying himself.”

Bring double the water

Bring double the water

Dogs only sweat through their paws, so it’s very easy for them to overheat. Bring lots of water to keep him hydrated. And while you’re packing, bring along some treats and poop bags, too.

Get an adjustable leash

Get an adjustable leash

They’re key for keeping both your dog and other runners safe. Adjustable leashes give you a bit more control over where your dog wanders—and give him a bit more space to explore. And when you need to reign him in, a harness is more comfortable for a dog than a collar around the neck.

Keep it short to start

Keep it short to start

Start slow and easy, and be ready to bail when your dog has had enough. “If he’s slowing down, or just plain sitting, the run stops,” says Coach. It might be that your dog is bored or isn’t feeling well, and you don’t want to drag him along. “You want your dog to run with you again!”

Make sure you have some treats to celebrate after the run. You always want to celebrate.

Chris Bennett
Nike Running Global Head Coach

Research before you run

They’re not all runners
Breeds with short snouts like pugs and boxers aren’t necessarily built for running. Same goes for ones with little legs like corgis. And some just aren’t interested. “Know your dog, and be OK with his physical limits,” says Coach. Learn more about whether your dog’s breed is suited for strenuous exercise at the American Kennel Club.

Keep your pup safe
Train your dog to run next to you, so you don’t trip over the leash, ideally on the outside of the trail or path so there’s some distance between him and other runners. And always pay attention to the surface you’re running on—blacktop on a hot day can burn a pup’s paws, for example.

Get an extra push with a guided run

The Nike Run Club’s guided runs take you alongside Nike coaches, athletes, and special guests who encourage you every step of the way.

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