Any hope getting my dog to like running?
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Thread: Any hope getting my dog to like running?

  1. #1
    Senior Member sydneynicole's Avatar
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    Any hope getting my dog to like running?

    Oli is 4 years old and I would consider him pretty fit. We walk 2 miles a day at a minimum, and typically we walk on trails off leash roughly 3 miles 4-5 times a week, and get in tough, technical hikes on the weekends anywhere between 5-10 miles. He is lean, muscular, and energetic. But he hates running!! I only want to run with him 3-5 miles, at a relatively slow pace, more of a jog than a run (10-11 minute miles, probably), 3-4 times a week. Mostly I'd like to run to the barn, which is 2 miles away, and back, with a break in between while I take care of the horses. Obviously I'll be careful of temps in the summer, both air temp and the ground, bring water, and keep an eye on him for signs of over exertion. I'll definitely put him in a program initially to make sure he is fit enough for longer runs. I'm thinking when we arrive home, I'll then walk him around the block so he gets 20-30 minutes of regular walking to sniff and mark and do his thing.

    I've tried before to get him to run with me, but I'll admit not whole heartedly. He always seems frustrated that he can't stop and sniff things, and I feel guilty that he isn't enjoying it and thus give up. I've tried bringing treats and giving him them at intervals but he isn't all that interested in them. He would rather sniff. Previously I tried for about 3 days to get him to enjoy running. After no sign of him driving any enjoyment from it, I felt guilty and stopped.

    How long/how many times should I try running with him before accepting he just isn't a runner? Do I already have my answer from previous trials? He's a pretty high energy dog and i think he would benefit mentally and physically from running, and I'd like to kill 2 birds with 1 stone if possible and take him on my runs with me versus running and then walking him another 2 miles as I'm short on time right now. But I don't want to drag a miserable dog around for 4 miles.
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    Senior Member Canyx's Avatar
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    Re: Any hope getting my dog to like running?

    I do employ a bit of tough love to running situations. It's not that I yank Brae around, but I definitely use "let's go" and tighten the leash if need be so that he doesn't get to sniff. In the beginning I started on the road so there was no temptation. I did (and still occasionally do) use treats to reward "let's go" instead of sniffing. Now I can run past 'smelly areas' and through habit he doesn't stop for me. As a reward for good periods of running, I do slow down to a walk and give him the "go sniff" cue at points. However, I think Brae really enjoys running and keeps a steady pace or is even ahead of me. I will say that Brae enjoys off leash running more than on leash. This way he gets to slightly lag behind or go farther ahead and take time to sniff and mark. Soro was 'eh' about on leash running but loved off leash running for the same reasons.

    So maybe off leash, if that's an option? Or, try some short runs for training purposes. Or, if you aren't literally dragging Oli around then depriving him of sniffing for 4 miles every now and then doesn't seem like a cruel compromise to meet this goal of yours.
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    Senior Member sydneynicole's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Canyx View Post
    I do employ a bit of tough love to running situations. It's not that I yank Brae around, but I definitely use "let's go" and tighten the leash if need be so that he doesn't get to sniff. In the beginning I started on the road so there was no temptation. I did (and still occasionally do) use treats to reward "let's go" instead of sniffing. Now I can run past 'smelly areas' and through habit he doesn't stop for me. As a reward for good periods of running, I do slow down to a walk and give him the "go sniff" cue at points. However, I think Brae really enjoys running and keeps a steady pace or is even ahead of me. I will say that Brae enjoys off leash running more than on leash. This way he gets to slightly lag behind or go farther ahead and take time to sniff and mark. Soro was 'eh' about on leash running but loved off leash running for the same reasons.

    So maybe off leash, if that's an option? Or, try some short runs for training purposes. Or, if you aren't literally dragging Oli around then depriving him of sniffing for 4 miles every now and then doesn't seem like a cruel compromise to meet this goal of yours.
    Thanks for your response!

    Yeah, I think I might just be being 'too nice' and feeling guilty when I shouldn't. I've always thought of his walks as His Walks, not for me if that makes sense, so I usually let him sniff and mark and do as he pleases because that's his time. But I think running with me and then getting a short-ish walk after where he can mark, and breaks during the run like you suggested, is a fair compromise. We also have some nice wooded trails to run on, if we aren't running to the barn to do chores - but even when we run to the barn, he would be getting free time off leash there to do as he pleases before we run home.

    I'm not dragging him when we run in a literal sense lol, he keeps up with me, just doesn't seem thrilled and wants to stop and sniff any chance he gets. He is a definitely a dog who likes structure and routine, so I think the addition of cues to let him know we are running vs a leisurely walk and a sniffing cue would be helpful. And I need to spoil him a little less, perhaps!

    Thanks again 🙂
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    Senior Member Jen2010's Avatar
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    Re: Any hope getting my dog to like running?

    I think you might have better luck with allowing "sniffing time" before and after the run.

    I taught Pepper to run by sort of teaching her to keep up with me. We started out walking (on leash with no distractions), then I would increase my pace to a brisk walk and say "hurry hurry". I had to lure her a bit with treats to start. Next, when I would say "hurry hurry", as soon as she increased her pace, so did I so I was at a slow jog. Then I would do it at a faster jog. Eventually we got up to running speed. I have found a good pace that works for both of us. It's a slow run for me and a fast trot for her. If I go too much faster, she gets excited and wants to run off ahead, which doesn't work on leash.

    You could even put separate cues for "hurry", "jog" and "run" if you wanted.

    Honestly we never run very far though - I get winded after a few blocks, haha!

    We walk 2 miles a day at a minimum, and typically we walk on trails off leash roughly 3 miles 4-5 times a week, and get in tough, technical hikes on the weekends anywhere between 5-10 miles. He is lean, muscular, and energetic. But he hates running!! I only want to run with him 3-5 miles, at a relatively slow pace, more of a jog than a run (10-11 minute miles, probably), 3-4 times a week.
    Wow, that is a lot of exercise time! Good for you! Pepper would love that, but I just don't have that much time.
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    Senior Member PatriciafromCO's Avatar
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    Re: Any hope getting my dog to like running?

    once my guys figured out I run around the pasture and end up where we started,, they just wait for me to get back.. Cane Corso loves to run,, the CO's do burst of energy when it's needed.. lay there sleeping the rest of the time... might try the jog 20 sec's rest walk 2 minutes to start and expand on it every 4 days to 7 days only working on it 3 times a week.
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    Senior Member sydneynicole's Avatar
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    Re: Any hope getting my dog to like running?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jen2010 View Post
    I think you might have better luck with allowing "sniffing time" before and after the run.

    I taught Pepper to run by sort of teaching her to keep up with me. We started out walking (on leash with no distractions), then I would increase my pace to a brisk walk and say "hurry hurry". I had to lure her a bit with treats to start. Next, when I would say "hurry hurry", as soon as she increased her pace, so did I so I was at a slow jog. Then I would do it at a faster jog. Eventually we got up to running speed. I have found a good pace that works for both of us. It's a slow run for me and a fast trot for her. If I go too much faster, she gets excited and wants to run off ahead, which doesn't work on leash.

    You could even put separate cues for "hurry", "jog" and "run" if you wanted.

    Honestly we never run very far though - I get winded after a few blocks, haha!

    Wow, that is a lot of exercise time! Good for you! Pepper would love that, but I just don't have that much time.
    Yeah, I'm hoping that once he realizes he gets sniff time after the run he will be more willing to actually do the run lol. And I do a brisk walk for a few minutes before I actually start running, during which he could get in some sniffs/marking.

    And thanks!! I need lots of exercise to keep my brain happy (my girlfriend calls it my "Aries Brain"). For me, it's either lots of exercise and outdoor time, or medication for anxiety/depression. Oli just got lucky haha!
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    Re: Any hope getting my dog to like running?

    When I taught heel to my dog I did not allow her to sniff or lower her head to attempt sniffing. Reason being is because if shes doing that and I suddenly change direction OOPS! She wasn't paying attention hits the end of the leash. By making the walks unpredictable and saying uh uh whenever she sniffs she now pays attention to where i'm going as opposed to sniffing. She is allowed to sniff if I release her from a heel because then she would just be loose leash walking and can go where she wants as long as she doesn't pull. I want my dog to be paying attention to me when she is in a heel as its a pretty strict position right by my side turning and stopping with me and changing speed with me. If she breaks attention to sniff then she breaks the heel which I don't want. My dog doesn't take treats on a walk so I taught heel by keeping a short leash and praising/petting when shes in the right position and not sniffing and suddenly turning directions when she moves out of position or if I can tell if shes not paying attention. Honestly my dog whined at first and kept looking back at all the nice smelly spots but now she just pays attention. It's tough love but once your dog learns to focus on you and running... the run becomes fun and rewarding! The reason why i'd only run in a strict heel position though is because its more dangerous if my dog moves out of position and trips me. Make sure you let your dog sniff around first and make sure they #1 and #2 otherwise you might find your dog keeps pulling towards a nice spot to go to the bathroom and not heeling lol.
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    Senior Member gingerkid's Avatar
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    Re: Any hope getting my dog to like running?

    It might help to train running - without stopping to sniff - as a specific behaviour, with a specific cue that means sniffing is unavailable (keep the leash short so he doesn't get the opportunity). I would probably add a cue that means she can go sniff things (like "take a break" or even "sniff-time" or something, idk), and build duration of the focused running (no-sniffing) behaviour slowly, using sniffing to reinforce any good effort of running.
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