Running with dogs

Author: Susan Hinde


Very few dogs like to run and so selection is important

Kipper is a 13 year old cross whippet belonging to a long term volunteer at Millstream Animal Shelter.  Due to his owner’s hospital admission and a potential long term illness Kipper was, for the second time in his 13 years,  given a billet at Millstream Animal Shelter.   On a visit to the shelter I noticed the agitation and distress that being kennelled was causing him and how disturbed Pat would be if she knew he wasn’t coping, and so I decided to take him home with me.

I’d always wanted a canine running partner but with a border collie that rounded me up when I became “exerted” i.e.  breathed too heavily,  and a chubby female who sat down as soon as I started to jog, it wasn’t to be.   Now I was taking on a totally deaf, 13 year old who clearly wasn’t eating well – possibly due to tooth decay.  However, what he also displayed was great agility despite having unreliable back legs.   Within a month he’d had 16 teeth extracted, had gone from nibbling once a day to demanding food at every opportunity, and surprisingly, as long as there is no strong wind to blow him over – he runs like…, like, well, faster than me anyway.   And he’s as light as a feather.

At last I’ve found my ideal running partner in the least likely of dogs.

There are things to remember when considering adopting a canine running partner:

It’s a fallacy that dogs like running.  Not many like to run for no purpose.  Most prefer to sniff and potter and have little sprints of short distances (20 metres) in the name of “play”, and they are definitely not interested in your goals and training programmes.  It’s unkind to make your dog run with you when you can see he doesn’t want to.

If you are new to running, your dog will pick up on your anxiety levels and sounds of exertion and this could elevate his/her stress levels and cause him to act out of character.  Be sensitive to how your dog feels about you running.  If he is disturbed by it he could act overly aggressive to other dogs or passers- by in a mistaken belief that you can’t keep yourself safe and you need protecting.

Keep a stack of pooh bags in your bum bag so that you don’t have to rely on memory when you leave home and always take a lead, you never know what you will come across – sheep, horses, mountain bikes, and other people running.

Your dog will get thirsty too so take enough water for you both.

Not all stiles are dog friendly.  If you can’t pick your dog up you will probably have to turn back at some point.

Farmers shoot dogs and get away with it and so essentially, keep your dog under control and check out the route on lead before allowing the dog off lead.

Test the dog with sheep, cows and horses before contemplating allowing him to run off lead in the countryside.

If you have a tip for those running with dogs, please let me know so I can add it here so that we can all learn from it.  Particularly so if you know of a good off- road route which is dog friendly.

One Response to Running with Dogs

  • Susan Hinde says:
    May 28, 2013 at 10:07 am
    My little running man
    As quick as a flash and as light as a feather
  • We’d “up the hills” and off together.
  • Our time was short – I was well aware
  • And I was never sure how long you’d fare.
  • But you did us proud and you ran your ground
  • A running partner, I was lucky to have found.
  • Kipper – Jan 1999 – 22 May 2013
  • (Running happily up to three days before he died! – the way to go)