Running With Your 4 Legged Friend

By: Christine Nichols

By: Christine Nichols

Who else sees a dog running and thinks, what a bad a$$ pup?!

Well mine is finally making his way up the puppy ladder to the prestigious rank.

Everyone, meet Maverick, a 15 month old German Shepherd who has a personality you wouldn't believe and energy through the roof! He loves to cuddle with mommy, play with daddy, chase birds and squirrels and spill his water dish. His new found love --> RUNNING!!

When my husband and I were trying to decide which type of dog to get, my first thought was, "which one can I run with?!" And from there we went down the list of the best running dogs and on it was German Shepherds. Yay! We had both always wanted one so we decided that was the breed for us.

Other than running abilities I also wanted a dog that no one would mess with me since I tend to run alone now and these pups have strong protective and loyal instincts. Trust me, no one wants to mess with me when he's around!

After talking to the vet I was told I can start running him once he reaches one year old. He's about 15 months old now and around 13 months I started taking him out. I'm currently still building him up and he's doing SOOO great!

How to start running with your puppy

My very first run with him was as follows:

 - 1/4 mile jog (like really really slow)

 - 1/4 mile walk

 - repeat 4 times

Once I realized that wasn't very hard for him I started picking it up a bit…

 - 1/2 mile jog

 - 1 minute walk

 - repeat 3-4 times

Then I started picking up the pace to basically my easy run pace and increased the run time and shortened the walk

 - 3/4 mile run

 - 1/10 mile walk

 - repeat 3-4 times

I continued this process to where he can now run 3 miles without stopping! And I will continue to increase the distance so he is able to run longer distances with me at a hard pace. Trust me when I say he has A LOT of energy to spare and he seems to really enjoy it. And I really enjoy it afterwards when he sleeps the rest of the night :)

A good rule of thumb is to start running (jogging) with your pup (I use pup interchangeably with dog, because all dogs are puppies to me:) ) for 10 minutes every other day or every 2 days for one week. Each week add another 10 minutes and see how they are doing with it. Maverick was more than ready to go for longer than 10 minutes and so I somewhat skipped ahead. You know your dog and know what they can/cannot handle.

Things to watch for when running with a pup

- are his/her ears pinned back? This may indicate he/she is working too hard and needs to rest

- are they wheezing/coughing? Definitely a sign to back off

- check their pads. You want to make sure they do not have any cuts on their pads or things lodged between their little toes

- excessive panting. Obviously they are going to be panting but be able to recognize when it is excessive which again indicates they need to rest

- they can't talk to you - well I think mine can haha but really - they can't tell you when they are tired, need a break, need water, etc. So you need to be aware!

Things to remember / bring with you when running with your pup

- water - if you can. If you can't bring it with you then make sure it's available immediately after the run

- a doggy bag - just like you, running kicks the pipes into gear and they will probably have to relieve themselves!

Products I like to use when running

- harness - I bought a no pull dog harness off of amazon found here 

- e-collar - I bought the Garmin Pro Sport and it is the best thing that has ever happened to me. Maverick runs right at my hip and does not bolt, zig-zag, jump, or play tug of war anymore. Great investment! And it puts me at ease since you never know what you'll run into and I feel like I have much more control with it.

I did not receive any compensation for mentioning products in this post

Running with your puppy is so much fun! I am so proud of Maverick after every run and it's bonding time for us. If you have the chance to start I highly encourage you to get your pup out there with you :)

Christine Nichols