With huge thanks to one of our favourite test associates Cadi who has agreed to share her 9 Top Tips for running with your dog. This follows a previous review where the wonderful Brewdog featured and couldn’t resist asking for more.
Meeting Brewdog for the first time
When I arrived at the rescue centre looking for a new four legged best buddy I had one main criteria. ‘It must be able to run with me’. The moment I saw Brew Dog in his kennel I knew I had found my buddy. Brew Dog was a lanky, bouncy, scared labrador cross from Romania. Big and black with a fantastic curly tail, it took him a while to grow in confidence but over the past two and a half years he has become the most amazing (if at times frustrating and difficult) friend to have by my side.
Running with your best friend
We have been on many adventures together and my favourite thing in the world is to go running with him. Running is a great way to develop the bond you have with your dog. Plus it’s excellent to always have a companion to head out with.
9 Essential tips for running with your dog
- Start short and steady – just the same as humans, dogs need to build their running up gradually. It’s important not to start them too young either – let those doggy bones develop first!
Brew Dog was over a year old when I got him and I started running with him after a couple of months. Our first run was under two miles and we gradually worked our way up to the point he ran the Beachy Head Marathon with me!
- Run their way – I choose to run, Brew Dog gets taken along for the ride. So, it’s only fair he gets some choice in the speed. If he can go off lead he’s free to sniff and pee at will, but if on the lead I make sure he gets sniff-pee time. It gives me a chance for a breather too!
- That said… – This has to work for you too. Don’t let your dog be in control. It won’t do either of you any good if one of you is dragging the other one. Plus, some dogs just don’t want to go running. If they aren’t happy, you’re going to have to stick with walkies.
- Check their paws – We can feel our own blisters but dogs can’t tell us when they’re feeling sore. Checking your dog’s paw pads is so important as you build up the miles. If you’re running on road be very careful of hot tarmac in summer and corrosive chemicals in the grit which is spread in winter. The best thing to do is get off the roads and onto trails and footpaths as much as possible.
- Watch and listen – You know your dog better than anyone. I always keep one eye on Brew Dog when we’re out. Watching his body language and keeping an eye out for tiredness and slight limps. It’s my duty to care for him and I’ve been known to cut runs short if I’m not happy he’s 100%.
- Be prepared – if you’re used to heading out with nothing but your running watch, you’re going to have to adjust a little. Poo bags and treats are a minimum but if you start upping the distance, don’t forget water too. When I plot runs I always look for streams on the route so Brew Dog can keep hydrated.
- Teach them left and right – no, seriously! We all teach our dog to sit and stay (well, I’ve tried to teach Brew Dog that) but left and right is far more useful when running. Brew Dog knows his and it makes it so much easier when we get to a junction or corner. It saves confusion and you both from tripping over each other!
- Find races to do together – once you’ve both found your rhythm it’s great to choose races to do together. A good start is your local ParkRun but some trail races allow dogs to race too. Brew Dog is starting to build his own medal collection! Be aware the excitement can change how your dog reacts. It’s best to start at the back in your first race, so it’s not too overwhelming for your buddy. Don’t expect a PB though – you will be stopping to pick up poop at some point!
- Have fun! – You are going to have one super fit dog. Enjoy running for fun with your best mate. Make sure it’s fun for them by ensuring they have a well fitting harness for your adventures. Nobody wants’ to be pulled around by their neck! Don’t forget to get them to pose for lots of hilltop pics too!
Read further reviews from Cadi and the epic Brewdog and their review of the Black Diamond Sprinter head torch.