Why Run With Your Dog?

Personal training for dogs. You’re kidding, right? Actually, no, we’re not. Research suggests up to 40% of our dogs are overweight, and they suffer from the same health complications that overweight people do. Veterinarians (including myself) are becoming more and more concerned about the increase in joint pain, heart disease and other obesity related illnesses in dogs. Hence, Pooch to 5k. Dogs can’t lift weights, or use the gym. If you’re going to increase their fat burning, you need to increase the intensity of their exercise. This means that a daily stroll just won’t cut it any more, it’s too laid back. The Pooch to 5k program will help you get your dog from doing nothing much to comfortably running 5km, over a period of 12 weeks.

Because you’ll be running with your dog, you’ll also get a great workout three times a week, as you train yourself to run 5km. Why not subscribe to our dog health and fitness newsletter and grab your dog, and you’re ready to go!


How To Start Running With Your Dog


You’ve read this site, you’ve become enthused and motivated, and you now want to start a running program with your dog. Great stuff!

Whatever you do, don’t just head out and pound the pavement with your dog. It’s not a good idea for you, and it’s even worse for your dog. You both need to gently build up to running together.

Here are my top tips for starting running with your dog.

1. Take your dog to your vet for a check-up. You need to be sure he doesn’t have a sub clinical problem that may worsen with exercise, or that he’s carrying a bit too much weight for athletic endeavours. It’s not a bad idea for you to have a check-up too, so get in touch with your own doctor to make sure you’re okay to start a fitness program..

2. Follow a program. Don’t make things up as you go along.  I’ve personally taken four dogs through the Pooch to 5k program, and it works a treat. It is a 12 week program of running/walking, that takes you and your dog from doing nothing to being able to run 5km. If you’re finding it hard and want to repeat a week, go right ahead. Half an hour three times a week – you can fit that into your schedule!

3. Keep an eye on your dog as you run, and make sure he’s still happy to be there. Watch for signs of overheating, and make sure he doesn’t have a limp.  Keep an eye on where you’re running too. My hubby took our red dog, Cinnabar, out running one day and they weren’t far from home when the dog started limping. They both came home straight away. Turns out Cinnabar had a sliver of glass in a footpad – he’d stepped on some leftover glass from a broken bottle.

So, with these three guidelines in mind, off you go and have fun. I’d love to hear of your progress.



Hi there,
I have just adopted a 5year old female basenji. From X breeders and show dog (not showed for over 3 years now) she is amazing on the lead but will only trot not run….I’m assuming she’s trained not to run. Do you have any advice??
Thank you very much


ive tried showing her I’ve got a treat in my hand to see if she’ll give me a little chase for it…. But she’s not interested, when it’s related to running! On the lead treats work when training her to sit at a road….
Thanks again Emily


Is Georgia motivated by anything else? Perhaps a tug toy or a squeaky toy? It sounds like she’s been trained from the get go to trot and pace, and that may be take a while to resolve. Perhaps go back to basics, find what motivates her, then start small – maybe 100 metres or even less, and when she’s run that, plenty of praise and play and call it a day. Make it something she looks forward to.


Some people don’t like running, and some dogs don’t like it, either. I did C25K with my partner and my Finnish lapphund years ago when the dog was young. I kept running when I finished and headed for 10K. My partner was happy to see the back of running. Just not enjoyable for him, whereas for me, I’m rarely happier than when I’ve been running for the last hour. My dog ran with me for a little while, but I soon got tired of towing him up the hills and coaxing him to stop sniffing the flowers. My second dog is short and heavy, and while his spirit was willing, he is a sprinter, and running for a couple of km is tough on him. He made it clear pretty quickly that he thought I was a slave driver and running with me was not fun. I have recently got a small, hunting breed known for their endurance and have pinned all my canine running pal hopes on her. I will suck it up and live with slow intervals to build her up, but I think she is my best bet yet. She is a little energiser bunny and she certainly seems to get itchy legs. She is 11 months, so counting down until I can start with her.


Is it safe to do the C25K program (8 week) with a pup who is a border collie/Aussie mix? He is just over a year and very healthy 🙂


A year old is a perfect time to start running with your dog and that mix of breeds is likely to be very athletic. Have a great time with him and we’d love to see some pics 🙂



I have a 5 year old American Eskimo/Cocker Spaniel mix and she is LAAAAAAAZY! She is not used to the heat so I’m trying to take her outside in the evenings now that it’s getting cold out. I started the C25K program and took her out for our first run tonight and she wouldn’t run! Her legs move fast, but she never actually runs!

A little history, we got her as a puppy from a shelter when we lived in Alaska in the middle of -60 weather. She only played inside that first winter and now she will only fetch and play inside. We do go for walks at night but she is very low energy and has always been that way. I just realized how much weight her and I were gaining and decided it’s time to fix that.

How can I teach her to run properly? Could it be the collar? Maybe a harness would be better? I can’t take her off-leash so I have to figure out something. Come to think of it I don’t think I’ve ever seen her run fast in her entire life! Maybe she doesn’t know how?!?! I already know this is going to be a process.

Thank you!!!!!

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