A couple of months ago, our family added a new member.
We weren’t necessarily in the market for another pointer, but here we are.
Train Your Dog to Run
First things first, before we really dive into this one, I’m not an expert dog trainer.
I have received some basic dog training and handling training when I worked with the SPCA a while back. I’ve owned dogs and been around dogs literally my entire life. And I have watched copious amounts of Cesar Milan programming over the years.
I feel like I knew a few things about working with dogs, but I’m very much aware that I don’t know a lot and my experience is relatively limited.
As such, this as far from professional advice and you’d be wise to consult with a qualified dog trainer for any needs you may have with your pup, now or in the future.
Back to the topic at hand: training your dog to be your running partner.
Does Your Dog Like Running?
Before you get too invested in the idea of your dog being your running companion for years on end, I think it’s important to determine whether or not your dog actually likes running.
Sure, most dogs are down for the cause if they are chasing a ball or herding some cats or just able to get out and stretch their legs freely.
But that doesn’t mean they like to run for the sake of running.
If your dog really doesn’t like running, it’s probably not wise to force the issue, especially for longer runs.
If your dog likes running, however?
Then it’s time to get to work!
Train Run Specific Commands
This. Is. Massive.
There are obedience commands that are important both in daily life and when you train your dog to run.
Chief among them would be drop it and leave it.
Those are solid commands that every dog should know, and you’ll probably need to use one or both of them on many of your runs with your pup.
But learning some commands that are more specific to running are also important, both to make your runs more enjoyable and with an eye toward safety.
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I don’t know why, but I got in the habit of verbalizing our turns with Bailey a long time ago.
Now when we approach an intersection, all it takes is a simple left, right, or straight and she knows what to do.
No tangle of legs or tripping over each other. No yanking the leash to steer her in the right direction.
I just tell her where to go, and she goes.
Another command I’ve found useful many times over the years are street and sidewalk.
More often than not, I run the dogs on the streets of our neighborhood.
But on occasion, we need to bet up on the sidewalk to avoid traffic or some other road obstacle.
When I say sidewalk, she simply jumps the curb without breaking stride and we keep cruising.
And when I’m ready to head back to the black top? A simple street cue tells her it’s time to merge back toward the black top.
Most Importantly: Train Yourself
The biggest key, I think, when trying to train your dog to run with you is training yourself to run with your dog.
You need to be consistent with your commands and expectations.
You need to pay attention, not only to the dog but to the environment.
Speaking from experience, it’s a lot easier to keep the dogs from chasing a rabbit (or other woodland creature) when I see said rabbit before either of the dogs does.
The Training Never Stops
At a certain point, more than likely, your dog will “get it.”
But that doesn’t mean the training is finished.
As long as you keep running with your dog, you keep training your dog.
And your dog keeps training you.
Running with your dog really can be a beautiful partnership, one that hopefully lasts for many thousands of miles.
Do You Have a 4-Legged Running Partner?
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