I’ll be honest, I loooove walking dogs but jogging?! Um, no thanks!
Or that’s what I thought until I accepted that my dog and clients’ dogs would love it and learned to enjoy it with them. Now I’m on a mission to encourage more guardians to give it a try.
The long-held recommendation to consult your physician before starting an exercise regimen stands true for dogs. Ensure your pup is in good health including groomed of excess fur (that can inhibit the coat’s ability to regulate temperature) and trimmed nails (ever try to play a sport with long nails?!).
We do not recommend having your dog run in a flat collar. While pre-training is advisable is to reduce pulling (unless you are interested in an activity like canicross where pulling is appropriate), having control via a dog’s neck area isn’t ideal. A harness is better for safety. My personal preference is a padded harness.
Leash – there are many styles; consider where you plan to run and purchase accordingly. A regular 6′ leash will do the job just fine but a bungee or adjustable lead is far more convenient.
Waist belt – With some leashes, the handle expands to fit around the waist. Another option is to purchase a designated waist belt. Some brands offer full systems (leash and belt included) while others are designed to accommodate any brand of leash. Still others include a small pouch for essentials like pickup bags and a water bottle holder. Bear in mind the importance of hydration!
Other considerations are visibility and pad protection. While geared more towards backcountry jogging, the pros at Colorado Canine offer helpful tips you can read here.
This area is rife with opportunity! Bike paths, wooded trails, and quaint neighborhoods make jogging an accessible activity. The East Coast Greenway, College Woods in Durham at the UNH campus, and Roger’s Park at the end of Dion Street in Kittery may be the ticket for you and your pup. I recommend scoping out a route without your pup first to ensure safety. Watch for details like litter and dogs who aren’t restrained in their yards. It is also advisable to consider the terrain. For example, stone dust is much better on my senior runner’s joints. Wooded trails may be a little tricky for footing if you’ve never run before or if your curious dog is unaccustomed to uninterrupted forward motion but provides more cushion than pavement and often offers more pleasing views.
Getting into a rhythm with your pup is a very serene feeling and brings a sense of accomplishment. If you’re digging it as much as your dog, be sure to check out sports like 5K runs that permit well-mannered dogs, canicross, and its winter relative skijoring.