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Running with Your Dog: Expert Tips


Take dog walking to the next speed level and you and your canine will score twofer benefits. "Your dog is a great motivator who makes exercising fun," says Jt Clough, the author of 5K Training Guide: Running with Dogs. Capitalize on your daily outing by burning more calories as you build your pet's cardio fitness. Lace — and leash — up with these tips from Clough.

Ease into it.

Dogs should be physically active for at least a half hour twice a day, according to the American Kennel Club. Begin with 15 minutes at a comfortable clip in the first week, adding five to 10 minutes and more speed as your four-legged friend progresses, Clough recommends.

Pace yourself — and your pal.

"Most dogs run faster than humans," Clough says, but you shouldn't feel you have to sprint. Heed these suggested speeds from Josiah Neuman, the training director for the Neuman K-9 Academy: Small dogs, like Boston terriers, can typically go 2 1/2 to 3 1/2 miles per hour (or an easy-to-brisk walk for you). Medium-size breeds, like spaniels, can run at 3 1/2 to 4 1/2 miles per hour. Large dogs, like golden retrievers, can travel 5 to 6 miles per hour.

Share your sips.

On the road for more than 45 minutes, or Spot is panting heavily? Tote extra H20 so you can share with him, Clough says. Try the collapsible Canine Hardware Hydro Bowl ($9, Go solo on hot days when the humidity hits 45 percent or above, Clough suggests.

The Plan

To double your dose of fitness, head out with your doggie for this fun 30-minute session from Jt Clough.


Minutes Activity*
0 to 5 Easy walk/warm up
5 to 7 Jog
7 to 8 Walking lunges
8 to 10 Jog
10 to 14 Fast run
14 to 16 Easy run/recover
16 to 17 Bench or curb hops (Jump onto a bench or a curb with both feet, then jump back down. Have your dog do the same.)
17 to 20 Six 20-second sprints, each followed by a 10-second rest
20 to 21 Walking lunges
21 to 25 Moderate run
25 to 30 Easy walk/cool down

*All activities are based on your dog’s ability.

Get a Grip

The tricky part of running with your pooch is finding a leash that will keep both of you happy and her in line. We road tested belt-style leashes and gave these a paws-up.

For Bigger Dogs

The sturdy Runner's Choice Hands-Free leash by Iron Doggy has easy-to-grip handles for when you have to rein her in fast. ($45,

One Size Fits All

The Ruffwear Flat Out leash can be used belted around your waist or like a traditional leash and is easy to set at a specific length. ($30,

For Smaller Dogs or Pups

The flexible cord on the Stunt Runner leash by Stunt Puppy gives your jogging buddy just the right leeway. ($35,

Originally published in FITNESS magazine, October 2012.