Teaching Penny to Run

One of my favorite parts of having a dog is lacing up and heading out for a run together.rhodesian ridgeback, run with dog, chicago, adventure

Emily, Eko and I have put in plenty of miles on trails and paths

Since Penny came along, our adventures have multiplied but our runs have been scaled back. Per veterinary guidelines, it’s best for a dog’s long term health to wait until the pup is around 18 months old before running with them on a regular basis.

Penny is 15 months old now, so I’ve decided to start in on the basics of training her to run.

rhodesian ridgeback, run with dog, chicago, adventure

Penny knows how to run, but not so much how to run with me

Ridgebacks are born runners, so there’s no question of desire or ability. The real challenge is teaching Penny to run at my considerably slower pace. Our first trial runs were short jogs around the block where I did my best to coax Penny into matching my speed and Penny did her best to coax my shoulder from its socket.

Ever so slowly we’ve worked our way up to slightly longer runs.

rhodesian ridgeback, run with dog, chicago, adventure

Since Penny is still on the younger side, I keep her running on grass/soft surfaces as much as possible

rhodesian ridgeback, run with dog, chicago, adventure

Penny’s catching on to the idea that running by my side is much more enjoyable than trying to be a sled dog 

rhodesian ridgeback, run with dog, chicago, adventure

Of course, we still have a long way to go and there are plenty of challenges to overcome

rhodesian ridgeback, run with dog, chicago, adventure

Like when Penny stops dead in order to pursue more interesting hobbies (CSI: Enhance…)

rhodesian ridgeback, run with dog, chicago, adventure

We’re glad to have spring weather back, but the birds and critters that come with it make running just a bit challenging!

Like all things training, teaching Penny to run with me is a gradual process. Right now we’re keeping both mileage and frequency to a bare minimum. But also like all things training, I know the effort will pay off.  I can’t wait to cruise along the lake with both Eko and Penny by my side.

Any other runners out there have training tips for teaching a pup to jog with you?

39 Comments

Roo loves running on leash! And off leash, of course. I started with running laps around my house in the yard, similar to your around the block runs, and would give her a tiny piece of treat every so often. She is only 14 months so I keep it short as well. I always make sure to stop immediately if she pulls or gets too far ahead and since she loves to be moving forward, I usually only have to do that a couple times for her to remember to stay with me. Also, giving her something to carry in her mouth really helps with distractions – not sure if that would help Penny or not 🙂

It’s worth all the effort. Although I love being able to run with them off leash in our open areas, it’s essential to learn to run on the leash. Jack is perfect and a great runner…Maggie not so much, she’s never really gotten the hang of the whole leash idea – she hates it.

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