There’s no better motivator and running partner than an energetic dog. It’s a great way to get in some exercise for you and your dog while getting out in the fresh air. With that being said, it’s important to be prepared. While off-leash running may be preferred, it can quickly become a chasing game. To stay in control and keep your pooch contained through any job, it’s recommended that you invest in a running leash. The best dog leash for running gives your canine companion plenty of room to exercise while ensuring that they stay by your side at all times.
Why Run With Your Dog?
There are benefits to be experienced on both sides. For you, dogs are the best running partner you could have. They don’t complain and can typically keep going once you’ve tapped out for the day. Furthermore, dogs can help keep you on top of your running schedule.
For dogs, the activity can be life changing. It can help change their overall mental and physical health for the better. It brings them outside and lets them use their senses to explore the world. Running is something they enjoy and can ultimately help to prevent many behavioral problems. In terms of health, running can:
- Maintain a healthy weight
- Strengthen their muscles
- Improve cardiovascular health and the immune system
- Increase endurance
Will My Dog Like to Run?
For the most part, it’s not difficult to get a dog excited for a run. However, there are certain cases in which a dog shouldn’t run. Most veterinarians agree that running should be reserved for mature dogs. Their growth plates should be closed before any strenuous activity is done.
Dogs that aren’t used to running may have a problem at first, so it’s important to start slow and ease them into it before taking on a few miles. While most dogs love to be in the fresh air and exercise, there are a number of breeds that don’t enjoy it. Certain breeds are prone to discomfort and injury with excessive running. These include low-energy dogs and those with breathing difficulties.
Which Breeds Like to Run?
This energetic breed is a natural at running. Despite their somewhat delicate appearance, Australian Shepherds are very agile creatures. They’re especially good at getting over obstacles and keeping up the pace.
German Shepherds are known for being a multi-talented breed. When it comes to running, these pups can keep up with the very best of them. They’re fast, very strong, and have a thick coat that keeps them comfortable when you’re running in colder weather.
Originally bred for pulling heavy sleds, Siberian Huskies have a lot of endurance. They can typically keep going long after you’re done for the day. In colder environments, these dogs thrive. They’re also very agile and light on their feet.
These dogs are very intelligent and athletic by nature. They’ve been used as work dogs throughout history, so they’re inclined to keep running. They fare well on long jogging sessions and are agile enough to dart through obstacles without a problem.
Another cold-hardy breed, the Alaskan Malamute is known for being a hard worker. They enjoy being active and can endure long jobs. They’re built to carry heavy loads, so they’ll have no problem keeping up with you.
These dogs need plenty of exercise to thrive. They’re very adaptable to different types of running. They can do quick bursts of speed and pace themselves for lasting endurance. They’re also intelligent enough to navigate trails and get through rougher terrain.
With their lean body and long legs, Rhodesian Ridgebacks can run fast and far. They have a long stride and plenty of energy to keep them going. Because they have short fur, these dogs can keep running on a long summer day without missing a beat.
Kelpies have a very athletic build that allows them to keep going. They perform better on longer runs that are moderately paced. They have a lot of energy and need to get a lot of exercises to stay healthy, so they’ll have no issues keeping up.
Pointers are originally hunting dogs, so they can reach pretty fast speeds. Their hind legs are very muscular and they’re known for their high energy levels. Pointers are built to endure high activity, so a healthy dog is capable of going for 10 miles or more.
What to Look For When Choosing a Leash for Running
Hands-Free Vs. Not Hands-Free
While a standard leash can get the job done, they can hinder your performance as you run. Hands-free options give you a bit more freedom while ensuring that you’re always attached to your dog. Instead of having to hold the lead, a hands-free leash includes a unique belt and tether system.
The belt simply wraps around your waist and includes a ring for attaching the leash. The other end attaches to your dog’s collar or harness. Because the belt is strapped around the middle of your body, the dog’s strong pull won’t cause you to lose your balance. It’s enough tension to let your dog know that they need to stay by your side.
The length of the leash can ultimately affect your dog’s safety. You should consider your height when choosing the right length. You want it to be long enough to let your dog run comfortably but short enough to ensure that it doesn’t drag on the ground or choke your furry friend. Typically, shorter leashes that around 3 feet in length are ideal. Of course, you should compare the length to your height.
Adjustable leashes can provide you with a bit of wiggle room to overcome length issues. There are a number of ways the length can be adjusted. However, the most effective option is elastic. The best dog leash for running will include a small elastic portion attached to the leash. If your dog should veer to one direction or speed up a bit, that elastic will give you time to correct the behavior. It also prevents the leash from feeling too tight on your pooch.
Always go with a durable material like synthetic webbing. Thinner materials are prone to snapping, especially when a determined dog is on the other end. A thick leash with extra reinforcement will ensure that your dog can’t break the connection and run off to unfamiliar territory.
Visibility is imperative when running, even more so at night. Bright neon colors will make sure that drivers and pedestrians see you from a distance. Reflective materials will keep you safe at night.
The Top 6 Dog Leashes for Running
1. Tuff Mutt – Hands-Free Dog Leash
This hands-free leash from Tuff Mutt is designed to give you complete control of your dog. It features a smooth belt and a 48-inch leash. Made from reflective webbing, the leash is built to last. It also includes reinforced stitching throughout for added security. The smooth finish ensures that the belt doesn’t tug at your clothes if your dog decides to switch sides. It’ll simply rotate over your clothes as you keep running. The leash itself has a long bungee cord that can extend up to 60 inches. It’s flanked by two unique handles. One handle is close to your waist to guide the dog while the other is near the collar clip. Many users praise these handles and their ability to gain control in a tight situation. With its relatively low price tag of around $25, it’s a high-quality option that doesn’t break the bank.
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- Made from durable materials
- Includes elastic bungee
- 2 built-in handles
- Buckles are made of plastic
- Leash length can’t be adjusted manually
2. Mighty Paw Hands-Free Dog Leash
At only roughly $20, this leash from Mighty Paw is a bit cheaper than the previous option. However, it contains useful features you may come to love. It’s available in two different lengths. You can choose between 36 inches or 48 inches to get the perfect option for your height and dog. The entire leash is made from waterproof nylon with reflective threading. It also comes with a lengthy elastic portion. Some unique features of this leash are the utilization of D-rings. An additional D-ring on the collar end of the leash allows you to attach a second dog. Furthermore, a loose D-ring on the belt provides plenty of slack for the leash to slide around. Many runners have praised this feature because their rhythm isn’t thrown off when their dog decides to change sides.
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- Made from waterproof nylon
- Available in two sizes
- Utilizes strong metal D-rings
- Elastic portion can get heavy for smaller dogs
- Leash length is not adjustable
- Belt buckle is made from plastic
3. Stunt Puppy Stunt Runner Hands-Free Dog Leash
One of the most common praises this leash from Stunt Puppy receives is its versatility and comfort. It’s a hands-free leash that comes with an adjustable belt. It can be positioned in a place that’s comfortable for your body. The D-ring that attaches to the 35-inch elastic leash is reinforced and slides to your preferred running position. The entire kit is made from nylon webbing. It’s priced a bit higher than the other options at almost $40, but that extra price is justified with the durable buckles, rings, and connectors. They’re made from metal and coated in black to match the appearance of the leash. Instead of your standard clip, this leash uses swiveling snap hooks. They prevent tangling while ensuring your dog can’t break free.
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- Uses high-quality connectors and rings
- Elastic leash extends to 55 inches
- Belt is adjustable
- Available in bright colors
- Some colors don’t have reflective components
- Only has a single handle at the end of the leash
4. Roadrunner Running Dog Leash
This leash is the most affordable option on this list and has a number of unique features that make it stand out. It’s has a low price tag of approximately $12. While it doesn’t have any elastic for automatic length adjustments as you run, it can be adjusted prior to taking off. Users have noted that the adjustable length allows them to use it on dogs of all sizes. The thin belt is fairly simple in design and also adjustable. It uses a reinforced loop to slide with your dog’s movements. There’s also a quick-release buckle on the front for easy detaching. The kit comes with a bright LED light that can be attached to the belt for more visibility at night.
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- Includes LED light
- Leash and belt can be manually adjusted
- Utilizes a quick-release buckle
- Doesn’t contain elastic
- Dark colors and no reflective strips
- Buckles are made from plastic
5. barkOutfitters Dog Treat Belt
This option from barkOutfitters is built with storage in mind. It doesn’t have a leash included. It’s already priced at around $25, so it’s a bigger investment when you factor in the price of a leash. While it doesn’t include a leash, it does have two D-rings for attachment. Some users have pointed out that these rings are only attached to the belt with reinforced webbing, so it may not be suitable for strong dogs. The belt is made from padded mesh and nylon. It’s considerably wider than other options to help spread pressure evenly on your body. There’s more than enough room to carry treats, identification, and more. The pockets are zippered for extra protection. The belt is adjustable and uses an elastic material for comfort.
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- Wide design prevents discomfort
- Includes multiple zippered pockets and rings
- Adjustable design
- Brightly colored
- Doesn’t include a leash
- D-rings are attached with fabric
- May rip if pulled by a strong dog
6. Ruffwear Roamer Extending Dog Leash
If you’re looking for an all-purpose leash, this option from Ruffwear is a good start. Unlike other leashes that are only worn around the waist, the clever design of this leash allows you to use it on your wrist as well. On one end is a metal talon hook. It’s attached to a sliding adjuster and can be sized to fit around nearly anything. It’s made from wavelength stretch webbing and is available in a couple of different sizes. Instead of using elastic, the webbing has a unique pattern that allows it to stretch up to 11 feet long on the larger model. Users have praised the leash’s ability to provide a firmer tug to dogs if they stray off. While it’s on the upper end of the price spectrum at $35, it has a number of cool features that make it unique.
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- Made from durable wavelength webbing
- Versatile use and fully adjustable
- Metal Talon hook and clip
- Available in bright colors
- Doesn’t have reflective finish
- No sliding mechanism on the belt
How to Run with Your Dog
Follow these simple steps to begin running with your dog:
1. Use the Correct Leash For Running
The first step you need to take it to invest in the right type of leash. You should have a separate leash that’s designed for the activity. Not only does it make it easier and more comfortable to run, but your dog will understand how to behave when they see you bring out the running leash. Invest in a durable leash that’s attached to a belt. The hands-free leash should be short and include a bit of elastic. Ideally, you want the leash to create a “U” shape as your dog runs next to you. If it touches the ground, it’s too long.
2. Train Your Dog To Run On a Leash
If your dog already knows how to walk next to you without pulling, half the work is already done. Dogs can easily transition to running if they already know how to stay by your side. If not, you can train them with a bit of patience and plenty of treats.
With the leash attached, have your dog sit next to you. It’s important to choose a side of your body your dog will run. This should remain constant with every walk or run thereafter. Praise them with treats if they sit still ready for you to move. Once that’s down, start walking briskly forward. Your dog should follow by your side. After a few moments, stop in your tracks. Your dog will likely continue forward and pull at the leash. Just wait a moment until they stop, have them sit down again, give them treats, and repeat.
When you’re walking, your dog’s front feet should be even with yours. Once your pooch has mastered the art of staying next to you, throw in some curveballs. Make U-turns that teach your dog to stay on the chosen side of your body. At first, your dog may cut you off and move to the other side. Simply have them sit down and use a treat to guide them in the right direction. Once your dog is comfortable with these tasks, you can start jogging.
3. Slowly Build Up Your Dog’s Fitness
It’s important to start off slow, especially if your furry friend isn’t used to running. Don’t start off with a 5k run on the first go around. You should throw in small bursts of jogging on your usual walk to build up their confidence and obedience skills. Make sure to always have some treats on hand to reward them for good behavior. Over time, you can lengthen the run and pick up the pace. Your dog will grow accustomed to the activity and build up their endurance with repeated training. Their fitness will improve, allowing you to take long runs.
4. Pay Attention To Your Dog
Always keep an eye out on how your dog is doing. Look out for signs of pain, tiredness, or dehydration. If your dog is panting, it’s time to stop and take a rest. Additional signs include limping, laying down during breaks, and falling behind you as you run. It’s imperative that you don’t push your dog further or faster than they want to go. It could put their health and well-being at risk. Pay attention and give your dog a break if he or she is experiencing difficulties.
When Shouldn’t I Run With My Dog?
• Old age – Senior dogs simply can’t keep up with younger pups. As they get older, dogs can experience a bevy of health problems that make it painful to run.
• Overweight – Those extra pounds can also make it difficult to run. Overweight dogs don’t have the stamina or strength to run for long periods of time. It’s best to start off slow until they reach a healthy weight.
• Health issues – Old age and genetic traits can lead to a variety of health concerns that affect their muscles and joints. Arthritis, hip dysplasia, and a number of other problems shouldn’t be taken lightly. Make sure to check with a vet to see if its safe to run.
• Shorter Snouts – Breeds like pugs and bulldogs have shorter snouts that prevent them from breathing properly. They often have smaller nostrils and obstructed airways. This issue can make breathing difficult when they’re too active.
Running with your dog can be a rewarding experience that helps improve the bond you share. However, it’s important to invest in a hands-free leash that keeps you safe. The best dog leash for running will allow both you and your dog to get some much-needed exercise while staying connected. Added features can improve the experience and help you stay in control no matter what. All it takes is some patience and proper training to make your pooch comfortable with the new activity. Before you know it, you and your dog can complete long runs with no issues at all.