Running is for the Dogs

Dog fun in un momento, but first let’s get to lunch!

My lunch today was mmm, mmm good thanks to leftover Jennie-O applewood smoked turkey breast  tenderloin that I used to make a delicious turkey sandwich.

Leftover Turk-a-Lurk

Along with the turkey, I included fresh spinach and sauerkraut on the sandwich for a little added nutrition.

Spinach + 'Kraut

To round out my mid-day meal, I included some vibrant red produce in the form of grape tomatoes and red pepper slices.

Vibrant Veggies (Well Tomato is a Fruit...)

All Together

Oh lunch, how I love you. ;)

Running is for the Dogs

It’s no secret that Sadie is my favorite running buddy. She’s always in the mood for a run, doesn’t judge my pace, lets me choose the distance and route we’ll be running and entertains me along the way.

(I actually ran my fastest 5K ever with Sadie by my side in a 5K Doggie Run!)

I’ve received several emails from readers asking me about running with a dog. How did I start running with Sadie? How far do we go? Does she ever get tired?

Sadie "I Could Run 10x Faster If Julie Wasn't With Me" Dog

The first thing you should know is that Sadie is a vizsla, an extremely athletic and energetic breed of dog. I can honestly say I’ve never come across a dog with as much energy and stamina as Sadie. I can take her on a 6 mile run and the first thing she’ll do when we get home is run straight to her toy bin to try to coerce me into playing with her for another hour.

Not every dog can handle long runs. According to an article Lizzy sent to me via Twitter, the following breeds are “world-class” running buddies and can handle long distances (more than 10 miles):

  • Weimaraners
  • Vizslas
  • German shorthaired (and wirehaired) pointers (If we didn’t have Sadie, this is the dog I would want!)

Additionally, these breeds also make great running buddies:

  • Australian shepherds
  • Border collies
  • Kelpies
  • Cattle dogs
  • Labrador retrievers
  • German shepherds

In my experience in running with Sadie, these little “tricks of the trade” I’ve implemented have made our runs much more enjoyable:

  • Purchase a harness if your dog is large or a “puller” (I bought this harness which clips in the front of Sadie’s chest. It allows me to have more control over Sadie and prevents her from pulling when she sees something intriguing like a squirrel or a bird on our runs.)
  • Be consistent with discipline (I always say “no” very sternly when Sadie runs toward another dog on our runs. She eventually learned that she can look at other dogs, but not touch and play with them when we’re in the middle of a run.)

To me, the most important thing to keep in mind before taking your dog for a run is knowing when to stop. Signs your dog is fatigued and may need to stop running include:

  • Pace slows
  • Dog starts to run behind you
  • Dog makes a bee-line for the shade and attempts to lay down
  • Breathing is heavy
  • Mouth is open very wide
  • Glazed eyes

Also, be very aware of the heat. Sadie’s stamina is amazing, but a hot day really takes a lot out of her!

As far as water breaks are concerned, I generally use the rule of thumb noted in this article:

  • If you’re only running a few miles, your dog does not have breathing issues and the weather is cool, you probably don’t need to carry water. Conversely, if you’d need water during a run, you definitely want to provide the same number of water breaks for your dog.

Here are some other helpful resources those of you who hope to run with your dog may be interested in:

Question of the Afternoon

Do you ever workout or go running with your dog? If you don’t have a dog, would you ever want to have a dog as your running companion?

Comments

  1. says

    i would LOVE to run with our dogs, but they are still needing some serious leash training first! i do like to just be able to go by myself too though…so i usually run with them at the dog park where they don’t need leashes :)

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  2. silvershadow157 says

    I’m dying to have a dog as a running companion but my current lifestyle doesn’t allow for a dog. I’m literally counting the months until I finish my masters and fingers crossed will be able to get a dog!

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  3. agudaitis says

    I own the laziest dog in the world (bullmastiff)! I can take him running for a mile or two, and then he is completely worn out! The best advice I can give is to train them how to properly walk on a leash and transition that into running. There are a TON of articles online about leash training.
    My dog (Newman) is a rescue dog, and when I adopted him he was already trained to walk next to me on my left. This helps sooooo much when we run together!

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  4. says

    Toby (6 year old golden retriever) is my all time favorite running buddy! When I was training for my last half, he did all my training runs with me and I got him up to running 12 miles!!! he did great! and he would always have energy at the end of our runs…until about an hour later when he would pass out :)

    runner’s world has a great section about running with your dog and warning signs to look for to see if your dog is fatigued or too hot:
    http://www.runnersworld.com/dogrun/?cm_mmc=nutrition-_-2010_07_22-_-nutrition-_-DogRun

    That’s one thing I always make sure of – if it’s too hot out, I don’t take Toby.And on our long runs I always made sure we would make a pit stop for him to have some water (but not too much!) about half way through.

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  5. says

    I usually run with my dog, and I find it easier to go when she is with me, kind of like how you said your fastest time was when you ran with Sadie. I don’t know why that is, maybe because they pull, or encourage with their enthusiasm? Molly does pretty well, but she is more of a sprinter so she is learning to pace herself. Good thing I am not a runner, and therefore need as many walking breaks as she does! She starts to “pretend pee” when she wants more breaks lol.

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  6. says

    our dog is a lab and not a running dog cause we have to keep boundaries. Someday though I’d LOVE to run with a dog. I have a friend who has been taking his dog out and I wish I would take mine out for jogs. Deacon is always so happy I have a feeling it would be fun

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  7. abbynormally says

    I would love to run with my dog! He has a bad hip though…. which makes me very sad!

    Also I worry about GDV, or stomach turning in dogs … it’s lethal and usually caused by a dog eating or drinking a lot and then exercising. Just a head’s up!

    Annnd I love Sadie! She’s so pretty!

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  8. says

    aww, my family used to have a Weimaraner! unfortunately she had to be put to sleep. :( heidi was fun to run with though… for about 5 minutes. she was very interested in everything all around- squirrels, bugs, the grass, you name it. i didn’t have any special leash for her though. i miss having a dog and hope we can get one someday in the future!

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  9. Heather says

    We have a Rottweiler and he’s not really a running dog, but I do run with my son in his jogging stroller sometimes and it is hard to push a stroller, pump my arms, and run all at the same time! I don’t think that I would be able to handle running with a dog! Lol

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  10. says

    Last winter I ran with my big dog Jim (lab/chow mix) 3-4 times a week. We could run 6 miles and although tired he would still be dragging me the entire time. However I noticed early this Spring that when it got to the 20 minute mark he was done. He ran slower and it took a lot of begging and pulling on my part to get him to continue on. It’s like he regressed in his training. Now I’m hesitant to take him out on runs becuase of the ridiculous temps and the fact that I’m training for my first half marathon and I’m afraid he won’t be able to keep up. Kind of sad because I know he needs the exercise.

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  11. says

    Chester and I have attempted to run together. He’s about 90lbs, so the beginning of the run is tough when he pulls…he’s a little explorer too, so I am frequently being yanked in all kinds of directions depending on where the smells (or squirrels) are.

    When we do run, I use a harness on him…and our runs are so infrequent (mostly due to him being a magellan) that we keep it to about 2-3 miles.

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    • peanutbutterfingers says

      hahaha! love that you called him a magellan. i actually did a report on good ol’ ferdinand back in the day! :)

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  12. says

    My parents have a German shorthair (so in loveeee) that is about 9 months old so I haven’t been able to run with him yet. The last time I walked him he was way too interested in the ground to imagine running with him but my mom has said he is a much better walker with one of the harnesses you talked about and getting older. Can’t wait to run with him soon!

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  13. says

    We had a black lab for 13 years, but by the time I got into running he was about 9 and his joints were already too old for serious running. We’re looking into a new dog though, and I’m rooting for a viszla- I want a running buddy, and my mom likes that they’re short-haired!

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  14. says

    These are such great tips lady! I have a little guy, with short legs so running more than a mile is pretty much out of the qustion, but my friend (with the vizsla) will be able to benefit from these, for sure!

    Thanks!! =0)

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  15. says

    We have a German Shepherd / Corgi who is the fastest dog I’ve ever seen! We run 3-5 miles with her every day. Aside from the sniffing and pee/poop breaks, it’s pretty constant. Although we should work with her on her joy of meeting other dogs. She gets way to excited!

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  16. christina cadden says

    I wish I could take the beast running but it never fails that I always get hurt when I do. I do take her on walks though!

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  17. says

    I love love love your blog! I found you through skinny runner and spend all my free time going back through and reading all your posts. (I am not a stalker though!!). Anyway, we have 2 dogs a vizla named Sam and a german wire haired pointer named Lakota. Our visla is also super skinny and never runs out of energy. Before I had my 2 sons I would take Sam on every run with me (and sometimes Lakota too but she doesn’t do as well on a leash). Now I can usually be seen running with my double jogger and 2 boys inside:) and the addition of a dog is just more than I want to deal with right now. My husband uses both our dogs for hunting which is a great workout for them in the winter. Luckily we have a huge backyard for them to run around during the day but like you said it seems our dogs never get tired. Good luck in your half marathon coming up, I ran 2 last fall and am running 2 more this fall. I just completed my first ever triathlon which was a ton of fun. The thing I love most about your blog is that it gives me the motivation to continue to eat healthy and exercise daily even with a full time job and 2 kids. I just read some of your Q and A posts. Just wondering how you and Ryan met?

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  18. says

    Unfortunately, Eddie is NOT a good dog to run with. He keeps up great and loves it for about 10-15 minutes, then he starts dragging behind and I have to drag him so I stop.

    Can I borrow Sadie for a run sometime?

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  19. Anne @ the doctor takes a wife says

    You (1) reminded me I need to brush up my spanish skillz, and (2) make me wish my puppy would run!!

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  20. says

    I run and walk daily with my puppy Lily , an American Bulldog. She’s awesome and loves to wrong and whats not motivating abotu a dog barking and bugging you to go for a walk . I can’t say no.

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  21. Erinn says

    I’m SO EXCITED to see you have a VISZLA!!! My viszla, Tommy, is 5 years old, and still a massive handful, but he makes the best running partner, like your Sadie! Anyway, sorry for the crazy dog lady talk, but I had to comment. Love your blog :)

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    • peanutbutterfingers says

      pssssh definitely not crazy dog lady talk! i feel like i flag down ANYONE i see w/ a vizsla. :)

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  22. says

    I’m keeping my fingers crossed that my puppy will eventually run with me! That was one of the things I was looking forward to when we adopted him this summer. He’s a dobie/lab mix, we think. Right now we’re having a hard time getting him to walk- he seems a little anxious of all the noise and freezes everytime he sees another person or dog. Hopefully he’ll grow out of it!

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  23. says

    Note to everyone….Basset Hounds are not workout buddies!! Haha. My more pups can only handle a 20 minute walk with lots of sniffing time! I’ve been trying to get him to go on longer walks with me, but he gets so delirious that he thinks these small lion statues in front of a house in our neighborhood are real!! He will stare and stare at them and eventually try to get them to play. Haha, so sad!

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  24. Erin says

    Such a great post! I cannot run with my dog because 1) she is a maltipoo and 2) she is lazy…VERY lazy. I do try to take her for frequent walks though. Sometimes she will stop mid-walk and sit down on the sidewalk as if to say, “I quit! No more!!!” LOL. Sadie is such a sweet puppy. I always enjoy your posts about her and just want to give her a big ol’ kiss!

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  25. says

    I have 2 Jack Russell Terriers. One of them (Nelson) LOVE to run, and he’s a great partner for shorter runs about 1-3 miles. The other one (Jackson) runs and hides in his crate when I get out the leashes and have my running shoes on. :) His legs are shorter though, so he has a hard time keeping up with Nelson.
    They both love to hike though and get excited to go for walks.

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  26. says

    We have 2 Vizslas. One is Aspen who is a total runner. She seems like she was born for it. Red, on the other hand has never had the desire to be an athletic dog. We call him the anti-Vizsla. My husband usually runs with Aspen but when he’s not running or if she needs a double then I’ll take her. She love love loves it… you can’t get out the door without her realizing your gearing up for a run. She’s been conditioning for a LONG time and is in great shape. Her longest run with my husband was 20 miles! I was worried she’d be totally wrecked but nope, she was completely fine. Like I said though she’d been training so she worked up to it. Love your blog! Kandis

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  27. says

    I’ve never ran with a dog, but I wouldn’t discount it if we ever end up with a dog that is good for running. We want pugs, someday, though, and they are NOT running dogs.

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  28. Caroline says

    Thank you! And thanks for the links to other articles too. I’ve tried to look up advice but never could find anything worthwhile! I’ll have to look into a similar harness…

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  29. says

    What a great running partner. We had 3 Vizslas and they do have a lot of energy! Unfortunately they have all passed away, but I would love to have another. Running is a great for these high energy breeds – it keeps them out of trouble. We now have a German Shorthaired Pointer, and she is a runner too. Unfortunately I never go with her…her running buddy is our Australian Cattle dog. Sadie is a beautiful Vizsla.

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  30. Courtney says

    Sadie is such a CUTIE!! And this totally made me want to get a do to run with!

    I thought I would let you know as well that runnersworld.com has a section right now about running with your dog. They have articles about what kinds of dogs make good running partners, what sorts of gear to use, and how to run safely with your pooch.

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  31. says

    This is a great post, Julie!!! I am really wanting to take Happy out for some runs… I’ve taken her on a 7 miler before and she wanted to keep going after we got home! She just stood by the door and whenever I took her out she’d be itchin’ to go.

    Anywho, how old was Sadie when you first took her on a run… or when you consistently took her on runs?

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  32. Hannah says

    Was your dog just featured in Garden and Gun? I came across the photos and then randomly came across your blog….I have a viszla too!! They make wonderful running partners. And napping partners!!! Loved the post.

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  33. Mandie says

    I run with my german shepherd in the south carolina heat all the time and not only does she make me feel safe but she keeps me motivated and going strong! She’s great at keeping pace for me too. I love running with her!

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  34. Kristina says

    We got a dog partially so I would have someone to run with as my husband is NOT a runner. We found this viszla at the pound and fell in love with her! We would take her to the dog park or the doggie beach (we used to live in Fort Myers) and she would run for 2 hours non-stop!!
    I put a leash on her and try to go for a 4 mile run and it was like I was dragging her to the vet!! It took me 30 minutes to go 2 miles with this dog (normally, I can get my 4 miler done in 30 minutes!)
    I believe Viszla’a are highly needy, nurotic, anxious, adorable, lovable dogs!! Ours is now 12 years old and is finally starting to slow down…sort of. I’d love another one after she’s gone, but we need a year or two break to regain our sanity!!

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  35. says

    I just discovered your blog through Skinnytaste, and while I came looking for workouts etc…I am reading all about your viszla! We have a German shorthaired pointer and the two breeds are so similar in their energy and build. I always get excited to see other pointers. Ours is named Walker and he is my running buddy too. Their zest for life is inspiring! We, too, joke that ours has no concept of personal space. I hope Sadie stays healthy!

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  36. Karen Litzinger says

    My weimaraner, Ranger, is the best running partner in the world! She runs off leash and she stays right next to me (for the most part). If I am slower than her, she waits for me at each intersection and corner, not always patiently, mostly with a look of pity!:-) She is now eight but trained really quickly and lives to go run. She will NOT be denied, so she is great motivation on rainy days. I do use really firm commands while running but I dont say NO because it sounds like Go. We use the Go command when she can run free when we get to the farm fields in Germany. I use heel and stop.

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  37. says

    Julie! My 6 mth old rescue australian cattle dog mix (probably mixed w a smaller terrier b/c of his size) is SO much fun to run! Runs are so much easier with him, he’s so enthusiastic and makes me look like a total amateur. I adore your blog which you know but since getting my pup I have been reading through ALLLLLL your Sadie posts and I am LOVING it so keep up the awesome dog posts ;-)

    Ever had trouble w Sadie not wanting to run from the house? Once I drive my pup to trails or whatnot he runs perfectly but if he’s running away from the house he wants to turn back … thoughts?

    Thanks again rockstar!!! And keep those ADORABLE Sadie pics comin!! :D

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