While not technically a running activity, this is a activity that will test your dog and be a fun day out for both. It first involves getting your dog used to a harness, and training them well so that they stay with you rather than taking off. Once they have learned those skills, you can scout an area of steep paths and rocky terraces and really put both you and your dog to the task of climbing these rocky outcrops. You may even have to haul your dog up a short incline, so make sure you have practiced lifting your dog in the harness at home first. This activity requires trust and a true partnership to accomplish the task. Most dogs respond with enthusiasm to this activity as it is a real challenge for them and it enhances the bond between owner and dog. As a new activity, start on gentle slopes first, then gradually move to more challenging climbs. It will be worth the effort when you get to the top to enjoy the view. Reward your plucky pooch for their efforts. Always be aware of safety for you both, and if you don't know the area, have a guide show you around.
Why not chose a pet friendly event where you can raise money for a worthy cause and have an outing with your furry companion at the same time? Many towns have fundraising runs or a combination of running and walking over a pre-determined distance. This activity is perfect for a day out with your dog. It is a great social day and will teach your dog how to behave in a large gathering. But like all events, train before the day to make sure your dog can handle a crowd. Go to busy malls, markets and parks where there are a lot of people so your dog can get used to a crowd. Your dog will love being by your side as you jog or walk along the track. This event will provide a great day out for your dog and strengthen your bond together. It can also be part of training where your dog has to listen to you and not be distracted by things going on around them - it teaches them how to focus.
If you can rollerblade, then lace up those boots and head out with your dog along one of those paved walkways that are often around towns for tourists. It is a fun way to get some action with your dog, and if your dog is a large one, you can get them to tow you when you get tired. If your dog is a small dog, then when they tire you can pick them up and they can enjoy a ride with you - their tongue hanging out and a huge grin on their face as you whiz along. This activity allows you to discover new areas within your town, exercise your dog, and keep yourself fit all at the same time. Stop for a few breaks so your dog can explore or meet a new dog buddy, then roller away again to find another attraction.
If you have a swimming pool and it's warm and sunny, teach your dog to run and launch themselves into the pool, swim to the other side and retrieve a toy, and bring it back to you for a treat. This will wear some of that energy off and cool them down. It may take a bit to train them for this new game, and it only suits dogs who love to swim. Don't try and force a dog who isn't interested in water. Remember, it has to be fun. This activity is a smaller version of Dock Diving, which is a popular sport where dogs are trained to run and leap into the water, the goal to achieve the highest jump! So put your dog to work, running and swimming, and they will be one happy pup!
Even if you live in a town, there are often long walks in the nearby country that you can take advantage of. Plan a day out for your canine, one where they can run free (as long as they respond to your commands to stay close). A dog will cover more ground than you ever will as they run ahead, circle back, check out the sides and even follow behind. They never just go in a straight line unless you train them to. They want to see what's in every corner. You can train them to carry a back pack with some supplies which will help you out. Just check that the track is dog friendly. The highlight is the refreshment breaks - your dog will be right by your side as you pull out the food goodies.
Remember to suit any activity to your dog's size, ability and fitness. Don't take a 'sausage' dog (Dachshund) on a four hour marathon, you will wear what legs they do have off them! And above all, make exercising fun for your dog. While dogs are not fussy about what they do with you as they just love being your buddy, a bit of variety will add a touch of spice to their life. Remember how you feel when you go to the gym and do the same old routine day after day (yawn). Well, that is how your dog will feel about the same old circle around the block. Before you know it they have developed 'selective hearing', which in layman terms means they pretend that they have seen something interesting and take off, being deaf to all your frantic calls. They are gone, doing something real fun like chasing Mrs. Brown's poor old cat up a tree. So to avoid embarrassment and having to apologize yet again to Mrs. Brown and her pet, make your dog's outings fun!