If you have multiple obligations, then it can be hard to exercise properly, after life just gets in the way.
Having a job, taking care of your kids, paying bills, doing grocery shopping, taking care of pets, these things can be more important than doing exercise, as they affect other people. But that doesn’t you shouldn’t exercise.
As such, we often find ways to exercise with these obligations, and one of the things people do is to go on runs with their dogs. But sometimes it can seem like you are more running after your dog, than with them.
This puts a question in people’s minds: Can dogs run faster than humans? If so, what steps should I take when running with a dog?
Today, we are going to explore running with your dog and what you should do when exercising with them.
So, Can Dogs Run Faster Than Humans?
We would say it depends on the dog and the human, but unless your dog is old and from a particularly slow breed (like a bulldog) and the human is a pure athlete, then most dogs can run faster than humans.
The fastest a human has ever run was Usain Bolt in 2009, where he ran 100 meters in 9.58 seconds or at 27.3 mph. There may be faster humans, but that is the only recorded one, and we doubt many could be that much faster.
By contrast, the fastest dog breed, Greyhounds, regularly go at speeds just over 45 mph, which is far, far faster.
Those are the fastest and there is already a world of difference, if we take the average human speed, it doesn’t even match up to the slowest dog breed’s speed.
The average human running speed is 4.6 miles per hour, and their fastest pace on flat ground is between 8 and 10 miles an hour.
Alternatively, the slowest small dog breed, the Shih Tzu, runs at about 6 miles an hour on average, and the slowest big dog breed, the Basset Hound, runs on average between 6 and 10 miles an hour.
So, while we as average humans could probably keep pace with the slowest of the slow dogs or even surpass them occasionally, we would be eating dirt very quickly with almost any other dog.
Should I Not Run With My Dog Then?
No, you should definitely run with your dog. It is a great bonding experience and dogs need and love lots of exercise, so this will be perfect for them. However, you need to make sure you train your dog to run at your pace.
The direct average between the slowest and fastest dogs is 19 mph, so – even on your best running day – you will probably not catch your dog if it decides to run off.
This is why recall training is considered the most important dog training aspect, because otherwise we may never see them again.
As such, here are some training tips to make sure your dog runs with you and not on its own:
Breed And Age
Some dogs can’t run far, and so you shouldn’t take them running with you at all. These include old dogs, who probably need to relax more in their old age, and dogs of specific breeds.
Dogs that have hereditary breathing issues (or brachycephalic dogs, like Bulldogs) should only go a short distance. Another thing to consider is that your dog needs to be at least 1.5 years old before it goes for long runs, if it can.
Your dog needs to have mastered walking training before it can run with you. It needs to know when to heel and how to stay by your side.
Dogs that pull on a leash are incredibly irritating when walking, but a dog that pulls on a leash when you are running is very dangerous. They are powerful animals, and they could pull you off balance and drag you along the road.
Start training your dog to remain by your side, if they are treat motivated, maybe give them a treat as a reward for doing as such. Also, make sure the good behavior remains when the dog is on your right or left side.
Sometimes, once they have moved to one side, they forget their training, so make sure to reinforce it for both.
Create A Speed Command
Once your dog is walking sensibly and is listening to the heel command, you can start increasing the pace. Create a command to let the dog know it is time to speed up.
For most people, this is ‘Let’s go’ or ‘Come on’. A lot of people use a command like this already when you have your dog sit for road crossings, so maybe do a slightly altered one that tells them to pick up the pace.
Do this by interspersing jogging or running for short periods with walking. Give the cue before immediately running faster. However, make sure to also create a cue to slow down as well, like ‘whoa’ or ‘Slow down’.
Take Your Time
Just because your dog can run, doesn’t mean it can do it for long distances yet. Like humans, dogs need to build their endurance before starting huge runs, so take your time and build your dog’s endurance like your own.
Warm Up Your Dog
Lastly, make sure you increase the pace incrementally. Dogs can get pulled muscles too, and so you want to make sure your pace is comfortable for your dog.
Also, once the run is beginning to end, take your dog down slowly and cool them down. They suffer the same exhaustion as humans and will need to keep hydrated as well.
Almost all dogs have an average running speed faster than a human and the top human athletes are as fast as only a fairly fast dog, not even getting close to the top ten fastest dogs.
As such, when running with your dog, train them to run at your speed for your safety and theirs.