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May 4, 2015

Teaching Penny to Run

One of my favorite parts of having a dog is lacing up and heading out for a run together. 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.
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?

Comments for Teaching Penny to Run

  1. It’s a miracle, that they never pull on the leash if we run together …but it’s easier to run with a girl, Easy uses the emergency break too much to read the news… that’s more an obstacle race :o)

  2. Nothing like Newton’s law of motion whereby “an object in motion continues in motion with the same speed and in the same direction”…except for shoulder sockets and running 4 legged companions. 😉 Good luck with your training sessions.

  3. dashlilly says:

    I have tried, my nephew has tried… doodles are not good running buddies. Either Dash wants to stop and sniff or turn back because he thinks he just saw a rabbit and Lilly, well Lilly just wants to keep jumping on the runner to say “hey, what do you want to do next? are we going to keep running like this? what’s the deal?” Looking forward to the pics of Penny and Eko by your side. Enjoy!!

  4. fredrieka says:

    Running is the best part of my day

  5. Rose says:

    For now I use a no-pull harness with a hands free running leash. Kind of hoping he figures out to get to run… He can’t pull. Def better than a regular leash! I know it’s kind of not “training” but pulling has been a big challenge and source of frustration. At least this way we can go together.

  6. My humans are trying Ceaser Milan training. I don’t like it but they do.

  7. Kismet says:

    I think Penny is training Emily on running.

  8. Emmadog says:

    Mom’s favorite way to run is with a dog. Penny will be great and you will all enjoy lots of family runs together. Hopefully you aren’t accident prone like my mom and can remain upright…we have a crash about once a year where she comes home a bloody mess even under the watch of us dogs.

  9. Wait…I thought Penny just turned one in March? She’s 2 1/2 months older than Khoi and he just turned 11months. Someone’s math is off or is it the time lag from Chicago to California? I getcha though, they are a blast to run with provided you can switch off the nose. And ears. And eyes. They look for anything more interesting than what they’re doing at the moment. My husband gave up on Neeka; she would bolt to the shade then want to stop to cool down. Still waiting for Khoi to finish growing. We’ve taken to running with them off leash on trails. Hard to do in the city though.

  10. Lana says:

    Our boy runs seamlessly, with wonderful grace, elegance and efficiency. Our girl is a complete klutz, and cannot run at all. When she is running, she is not gracefully keeping the pace. She skips the step, she gallops for some time, and she stays behind slowing me down like a 105 pound anchor. Interestingly enough, when we take both pups on a run together, she is doing much better. We hope that, someday, our boy can finally teach her how to run. 🙂

  11. Shalini says:

    Kahlua is VERY unhappy when he is out running with me on roads. We might still get away with a few trail miles, but the roads are evil, and loud and everything that is wrong with the world is on a road. This was one of our long successful walks.

  12. My only tip – always expect the unexpected. (I know that doesn’t help!) No matter what I’m ready for, Daisy throws me a curve. She either suddenly crosses in front of her, which almost sends me flying, or she stops short, which also trips me up. I’m sure Penny will be much less tricky!

  13. Cupcake says:

    Don’t worry, P. You’ll figure out the slow motion running with your dad. Just remember – humans do not do zoomies like we do… Sad, but true.

    Love and licks,

  14. she wants to be a retriever, go penny go

  15. Shana and Hobbes says:

    I trained Hobbes using a technique we learned in puppy class for having him walk at my side. I held small treats in my hand closest to him and if he stayed with me, I would pop him a treat; if he pulled in front I gave him the command ‘with me’ and if he slowed down to be next to me, I would pop him a treat, you get the idea. At first it was lots of treats and praise, now only praise unless I want to reinforce. I use a hands free leash (Kurgo/$20) and he pretty much stays at my side but can go a bit ahead or behind and I can limit that by making the leash shorter if need be. He still stalks the rabbits, birds and lizards we see along the trail as we are running, but does not dash or pounce at them any more. We run 4-5 days a week together now as well as an off leash beach run/romp usually once a week.

  16. 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.

  17. Alisa says:

    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 🙂

  18. DZ Dogs says:

    Great pictures! Looks like fun, i’m sure she’ll learn really quickly where she ought to be during a run!

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