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Tips for Choosing a Running Partner (The Four-Legged Kind)

3 min read

Australian Shepherd dog running

I spent a year visiting shelters around my area before finding my RunPup. I know what you’re thinking—who takes a year to pick out a new dog? Yup, this girl!

Every weekend, I strolled through puppy prisons, looking at sad faces begging for love through their chain-link cell walls. Despite this heart-wrenching process, I resisted the emotional impulse to adopt without good cause. I educated myself on dog breeds and characteristics. I had a complete list of qualities a pup would need to fit perfectly into our family. I did everything right, right? Adopting a dog is a lifetime commitment, and I didn’t want a poor choice to challenge that belief.

running dog_cattle dog

Then it happened—the sad, tricolored face of a sweet Australian Cattle dog mix won my heart. I continued to put her through the test. Was she friendly and loving? Check! Would she run beside me on a leash? Check! Did she seem smart and willing to learn? Check! Did she react appropriately to my other dog? Check!

Hallelujah! I have my RunPup! I was ecstatic to FINALLY be taking home my new best friend and RunPup. My year of work selecting the “perfect” pup had paid off, or so I thought.

Once again, this self-admittedly recovering perfectionist discovered there is no such thing as perfect, especially with people and pups. This realization did not mean my efforts were in vain, though. It just meant I had to adjust.


 Here's what I know for sure about choosing a RunPup:



1. Educate yourself on breeds that are good for running, and consider how far you’re expecting your pup to walk or run. This can make a big difference when choosing the appropriate breed. For a long steady run or trail run, you might consider a German Shorthaired Pointer. This medium size dog has a high-energy level capable of sustaining a quick pace and high mileage. Looking for a smaller pup? A Jack Russel Terrier could be a great choice for long, steady runs. For short, brisk runs, you might consider a Beagle or Pit Bull.

2. Consider the climate where you live. If you live in a hot climate like me, consider a dog that can handle the heat. For example, a boxer might be a great runner but could have problems in extreme heat due to its squished face. My Bulldog can only circle the block twice in the summer before becoming heat stressed. Her push-in nose makes it hard for her to take in enough air, especially in high temperatures. A better choice for running in the heat would be a Rhodesian Ridgeback or Fox Terrier. For colder climates, consider a German Shepard or Siberian Huskie.

3. Be realistic, and understand that despite all your efforts, your pup will have at least one issue that will need to be corrected with proper training. My RunPup is an Australian Cattle Dog mix with tons of personality and crazy energy, qualities I looked specifically for in my search for my RunPup. However, this high-energy pup requires patience and understanding on my part—especially on days we don’t run. She’s a fantastic runner but she required training to stop pulling on the leash. We accomplished this through consistent training and the help of a no-pull collar.

There is no such thing as perfection, but you’ll find you have an amazing RunPup with a little bit of work and a lot of love and patience.

 

Remember, a happy pup is a well RunPup!

Dogs as running partner



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