Running… how much is too much?

runningHi Blog-world! Hoping to get some thoughts on running with my pup.

Kinley and I started running when she was a year old. We do about 2-4 miles once a week and sometimes a couple days a week. Her hips and paw pads are great.

I spoke with my obedience instructor about distance because I had heard from many people that 3 miles was the max that dogs should run. He explained to me that if your dog get in it’s stride (which usually happens if you are biking) you can go for 12 miles taking breaks every 4 miles to check paw pads and get water.

Any thoughts on how often I should run her a week?

14 thoughts on “Running… how much is too much?

  1. I was writing a post on starting to cycle with dog – http://weliveinaflat.com/blog/start-cycling-with-dog/ – and I found this vet recommendation – According to canine expert Christine Zink, D.V.M., Ph.D, you should gradually increase the distance you travel by 5 to 10 percent every four to six exercise sessions. She recommends that once you reach a distance of 2 miles or 3.2km, you should limit biking to every other day providing a day of rest for rejuvenation of the muscles. Extremely fit dogs can run farther distances per day if the sessions are broken up (less if riding on pavement, which can be tough on the skeletal system). … At the end of your ride, pay attention to how your dog reacts. Are they panting heavily for over 10 minutes and laying down (you probably went too far) or do they seem to be ready for more. – thedogoutdoors.com… for your reference.

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  2. Increasing running with your dog is the same as you would do for yourself. Do you only run once a week? That puts a physical strain on a human, who only does “weekend” sports. The same is true for your GSD. Every other day, short runs, with one slightly longer run each week, and then gradually increase, the previous reply noted. This is exactly how a human would proceed to get physically fit. Particularly with a GSD, who is prone to more hip problems, arthritis, etc., less is more in the beginning. And always note Kinley’s health at the conclusion. If she shows signs of exhaustion, pain, soreness, etc., it’s time to stop. If you suspect you’ve overdone it, take a few days off from working out before engaging in additional exercise with Kinley.

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  3. Agree with the above with the added idea that over time it is good to take a break from whatever you usually do (jogging/biking) and change over to swimming or something else (sprint sports or scent games or …) you both like that doesn’t work the joints/muscles in the same way – then after the break go back – you’ll usually both be better for it. The duration of the activity always is dependent on fitness, conditions (heat/terrain) and prior injury or injury risk. No absolutes. Have fun!

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  4. Best way should be to start running with your dog. This way both of you will be aware of distance and tiredness. I don’t prefer biking/rollerskating with your dog because owners are not aware how fast they are going, and does it fit your dogs running pace.
    Running with your dog will give you extra bound (my dog always tries to encourage me when I’m getting tired and start slowing down, with biking you can never experience that) , and because they are built to run, you don’t have to worry about their joints, paws, distance and other things. 🙂
    (And what I have heard and read most dog injuries comes from biking with your dog, lots of nasty ones too so be safe) 🙂

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  6. Running, biking or doing any other activity with your dog? You must stay tuned into your dog because, as smart as they can be, they can also be quite irrational. I would not take my dog on a bike ride because he would keep up with me regardless of how he is feeling. I wouldn’t want a collapsed/exhausted dog on my conscience simply because I went to far and/or too fast for him. Of course there is also the safety biking factor. How well trained is he? How focused would he be? What would happen if a rabbit or squirrel caught his attention. My beloved Ray weighs around 75lbs and if he happened to catch my front wheel (or any other part of the bike) because of a distraction, him and I would both be in trouble. Please think it through carefully, for both your sakes.

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    • Agreed! Safety is super important. Kinley does great with running and we have never had an issue there. We have biked a few times and she is super focused and aware of the bike. I was told that biking can be a good thing because it allows her to go the speed that is best for her. I get to a speed that has her in full stride.
      Thanks for your comment 🙂

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  7. Hi, I used to regularly run 5-10k with my dog probably 3x week. Weather in hanoi was usually in the 70 and 80s so we left it at that but I think in gold weather she would easily keep running beyond 10k. Even so it’s probably more fun for the dog doing shorter distances at a faster pace. Do be careful with your dog’s hips though being a gsd. Here is Tala doing her first (and only) timed 10k: http://juraphotos.wordpress.com/2014/03/09/the-fastest-dog-in-hanoi/

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