Activities & Sports
Print|Email|Text Size: ||
Recipe for a Great Canine Running Partner


Knowing when to stop
Dogs are less tolerant of heat than humans, and their main mode of cooling off is by panting. If your dog looks alert and is panting quietly with his mouth open but his tongue is just peeking out of his mouth, then he’s probably okay in terms of heat. If his tongue is hanging out of his mouth, his mouth is open wide and the commissures are pulled back, then it’s time to slow down, or stop for a rest. If his breathing doesn’t go back to normal within a few minutes, end the run. If you’re running at a decent clip, you’ll have other signs that he’s tired: he’ll slow down and start hanging behind you instead of trying to be slightly ahead or right next to you. And if he has to lie down to rest when you stop, then you’ve pushed him too far. Finally, avoid coaxing him to go faster than he wants; endorphins can mask dogs’ pain just as they can our own.

So, that’s the recipe for creating a great canine running partner: Start with training, maintain good manners, follow the rules of the road, stay alert to your dog’s condition and, when in doubt, take a break. Now, get out there and run!



This article first appeared in The Bark,
Issue 65: Jun/Aug 2011

Sophia Yin, DVM, is an applied animal behaviorist. A long-time The Bark contributing editor, she is also the author of two behavior books.

CommentsPost a Comment
Please note comments are moderated. After being approved your comment will appear below.
Submitted by Anonymous | August 12 2011 |

"Recipe for Lameness, Heat Exhaustion and HBC"
The "first step" ought to be, "See Your Vet." I don't think that this article adequately covers canine safety. 1) Dogs (like people!) need to be checked for underlying medical issues and confirmation flaws that would inhibit their ability to safely start an exercise program. 2) No mention made of how incredibly hot pavement can be on a dog's paws. And, 3) No mention of using anything reflective for dogs' safety. Very disappointed in this article!

Submitted by Sonya | November 11 2011 |

What a great article! So informative! Before I read this, I would just take my dogs running with no thought, because my dogs love to run and I just assumed they would be fine. Now I know better.

More in Activities & Sports:
Teaching Your Dog Obedience and Rally-O
The Politics of Creating a Dog Park
Dog Paddling
Hiking the Sierra
Indoor Athletics For Your Dog
Snow Play
How much exercise does your dog need?
7 Activities for a Bad-Weather Day
Canine Yoga
Working Out With Your Dog