Running with your dog?

I'm currently trying to organise a fundraiser for the RSPCA called "The K9 Challenge". It's a 9k fun run which you do with your dog. A lot of people think that I'm (literally!) barking mad when they hear this idea.

What do you guys think? Anyone out there who runs with their dog regularly... or have you heard of or attended a similar event?


  • I regularly run my son's weimeraner - my own dalmatian is a bit too long in the tooth. I only ever take her off-road and not near sheep, cows, etc. but she loves it and so do I!! However although shes very well behaved I'm not sure she would be quite so good in the company of large numbers of other playmates all running around!!
  • I ran the Warminster 10 miler this year. There is a guy their who runs all the races with his dog. The dog seems to enjoy it more than he did and it seems to add something to the 'social' side of the event.
    This story does not have a happy end though because in the final mile there is a extremely steep stretch of road between some houses.The dog slipped and because the runner had the lead wrapped round his hand he went over as well. The end result was a nasty gash to the head. Runner/dog owners beware.
  • Sorry to be a party-pooper, but as a long-time dog owner I really don't think it's such a good idea. What about walkies instead?
  • I always run with my border collie. She has tripped a few others up when I'm in a group. Non dog owners get very up tight about it. But for me a training runs would be much less enjoyable without Jess to chase. As for a pack though, it may be problematic
  • I always run with my dog Daisy on a lead. She loves it and so do I. She's company and protection.

    But I'm not sure how she'd be with lots of other dogs. Much as I'd like to enter the race I think I'd have to leave Daisy at home because she might fight with the other dogs, especially as she'd be on a lead and that makes her tense in company. If I let her off the lead I would never see her again, she's a Beagle and she can't help following her nose.

  • What a great idea! I only wish I could join in, but it's too much of a hassle to get my dogs over to Britain in time. In America there are often races with dogs and owners - of course you have to have animals that are sociable, no fighters!

    John and I have run many races with ours, in fact in 1994 John successfully ran the Frankfurt marathon with our Snowy. If dogs train with their owners, there's no problem. I do all my marathon training with at least one of ours. Good luck to you and cheers for having such a great idea.
  • I was chatting to a guy who has just bought a border collie who he's planning on taking training with him. He has friends who have done a similar thing and apparently they have actually rigged up panniers for the dog and also rigged a bladder system for the dog! I think a lot depends on the breed though.
  • I've run with my labrador a few times - he loves it, but I wouldn't try to do it in company. I'm currently nursing some wounds sustained when he ran between my legs a couple of weeks ago - he saw someone he knew and went straight across!
    Walkies is a better bet.
  • Guess I'm lucky. I run almost all the time on forest trails and normally don't see too many other people out there, so I don't have any of the problems you guys have mentioned, but anyway all our dogs are always obedience trained. I've found they are too scared of losing me to run after anyone else!
  • I have four dogs but only run with one.

    He is excellent company as I run on my own a lot and where I live is very rural, so I feel safer with him.

    I love the idea of the race but think that the RSPCA could have a lot more dogs to re-home at the end of it!

    My dogs get stressed when on a lead and I suspect that this would make them lose whatever patience they possess. I think that a sponsored walk would be better.

    Good luck with your fund raising.
  • Yes, a sponsored walk is a good idea too. We did one from our dog training club last year, we had 51 dogs show up and we also made money by providing a sandwich/drinks stand halfway round.

    Another sure-fire money maker is dog racing - all you need is an enclosed field, a couple of posts and some marker tapes, and maybe a small prize for the winners. We do it with small, medium and large groups, each dog runs separately down a straight course chasing after the owner and is timed from start to finish line. But prepare to spend a whole day at it! At two tries each, it adds up to a whole lot of time. We always get a few small dogs, quite a lot of mediums, and a huge class of large dogs.
  • I take my English Setter out running with me: he enjoys it so much Ihave to be careful about using the "R" word or going near the drawer where I keep my running kit. He gets wound up and irritable if he can't go out running (a bit like me). However, I do have the advantage of miles of empty forest and beach at my disposal, and he is from working stock: if he'd gone to someone for field and trials work, he'd have been doing much the same thing.
  • Hi Graham - my White Shepherd dogs are also working stock - I do do trials and obedience work with them as well as running.They need work to challenge them as much as exercise. Like you, I have miles and miles of forest to run in. I find that the combination of running training and trials work makes for a happy healthy canine.
  • Hmm, perhaps a sponsored walk is best after all! I'll still leave the option of running for those who feel up to it, but yes, I think in hindsight that it'd be more sensible if the majority take a gentle stroll. Thanks everyone for all your contributions.
  • No probs with people running with dogs in training, but proper races aren't the places for them.

    And dog walkers - please - watch out with those fishing wire stretchy leads ! Are you trying to kill innocent runners !!!

    Grrr. Spleen vented - feel better now. Thanks. :-)
  • I have a 16 mth old Cocker Spaniel that I have been gradually introducing to running. I looked into dogs that would be good for running/family life and originally came up with a german short haired pointer and had one on loan but he turned out to be too mad, although he loved to run. The cocker is more manageable and is more than capable of keeping ahead of me. It would have been good to have had this web site when I was looking for running dogs as Im sure there would have been lots of people who could have given me advice. As a female runner, having a dog to run with makes me feel more confident, especially since I only run off road with him. Anyone have any advice regarding running dogs on concrete? Im not sure if it would be good for his legs? Would I give him shin splints?!
  • Nope - but start out with short distances and build up. Check his pads often for soreness too. To set your mind at rest, here in Germany there's an officially recognized endurance exam for dogs which consists of a 20km run accompanying a bicycle. There are two stops for veterinarian checks, and at the end of the run, after a 5 minute pause, you have to walk an obedience test to show the dog is not worn out. Award is a nice certificate for passing. I'm doing one next Friday with my 5 year old female.
  • Hi Saran

    I run with my Beagle Daisy - mostly for safety but also it's nice to have the company. I asked my vet about how far I could run with her and he said nothing I would be able to do would be too much for her. Remember, they've got four legs while we've only got two.

    And we abuse ourselves in unspeakable ways whereas dogs are just healthy, mainly.

    Enjoy your running
  • My boxer Ajax used to regularly accompany me on my easy runs along the local sea wall (approx 5 miles). I retired him earlier this year when athritis began to set in and, sadly, he died suddenly in July through an unrelated condition. I have no reason to believe that running was contributory to this and it still seems strange to do the same run without having to stop and wait due to something more interesting than running cathing his attention.
    As for a race? Well it would certainly level the playing field as the onus would fall on dog performance. Imagine that runner who always wins coming last due to excessive lampposts en-route!
  • To hell with running with a dog. Surely they have to stop every time they see a lamppost.
    I feel contented if I can outrun one.
  • First of all, we run in a forest, not on pavements - there aren't any lampposts! Our dogs are far too concerned with keeping up with us to keep stopping. And they do NOT have to go every few yards.

    How often do you think sled dogs stop for a pee when racing? Just doesn't happen mate.
  • Wow, listening to you lot its pretty clear that runners and dog's really don't mix that well do they!

    If any of you guys have read the original message I think you might see that some of you are missing the point a bit? I'm trying to organise a sponsored FUN run/walk for CHARITY not a chance to set a 9k PB!

    The whole ideas is to arrange a fun family day out whilst raising the money for the RSPCA and increasing awareness about animal welfare issues in my local community. Didn't realise it'd be quite so controversial!!
  • Hi Sue, I've had some smiles reading the responses to your query. I think your idea is great. If people want to walk let 'em, if they feel their dogs are coping with the rest of the pack, let 'em run. Dogs are individuals too and may get on with some dogs better than others. My dog just loves meeting others and hasn't got a nasty bone in his body. So, it is a case for the 'dog-runners' to know the temperament of their dogs and to follow the rules of the walk/run! Where is it? I'd like to come and do it!
  • Hi Roz, thanks for the support, I was beginning to lose faith a bit there!

    The date and venue aren't finalised yet, but it's going to be held in the Sutton, Surrey area, probably on the second Sunday of January (12th) 2003. As soon as the details are confirmed I'll post a message. Please do spread the word... the more the merrier!
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