The first time I ran with my dog, Dobie, in 2000, I envisioned the perfect excursion. I had been a serious runner since 1996, but having lived overseas for many years, had never even owned a dog, let alone run with one.

After a company transfer to the beautiful island of Hawaii, I decided now was the perfect time to become a dog parent. Enter Dobie, an 8-week-old Kelpie who loved to exercise. In fact, I had done my research and rescued a Kelpie because of their running ability. Surely this was going to be a match made in heaven – a new friend, a matching collar and leash, and a cheery “Let’s go.” Simple.

Learn good running mechanics

One morning, after Dobie had matured enough to enjoy the challenge of a run, we stood together, at the precipice of new beginnings, hand in paw, greeting the cool Hawaiian morning air with anticipation, looking down the lava covered trail eager to begin a jaunty adventure.  She looked at me, and I looked at her. I donned my running gear, and she modeled her new bright red harness and leash system. I smiled, and slightly nodded with a cheery “Let’s go.” Our strides in sync, we’d moved along the trail encouraged by the wind at our back. It was absolutely …

Dreadful. And nothing like what I’d imagined.

Instead, Dobie and I tripped over each other’s feet just trying to move forward! An entangled leash, with constant stops and starts, pulling and tugging our way along the beaten course of long sniffs and short patience. Frustrated, we turned around and walked quietly home. Dreams dashed. Dobie and I exchanging the look of defeat.

A day or so later, having recovered from our running debacle, Dobie and I committed ourselves to figuring out the logistics of running together. Afterall, we had attended numerous puppy and pet manners classes that had not only increased Dobies pet manners but also given us a communication system. Our relationship was solid, built on fun and a great reinforcement history of adventuring activities.  We just needed to build on our foundations and learn to work together out on the trails.  As the saying goes, we literally tried to run before we could walk. But, little by little we worked out the kinks in our system.

The program covers walking too!

Fast forward 20 years later and I am now a certified Dog Trainer, Dog Behavior Consultant, and a Running Coach.  My partner is now Doogie, a spirited 3-year-old Australian Shepherd. When Doogie was introduced to running, the process went much more smoothly. I was able to apply my dog training skills, and running experience, and develop a finely tuned system that became the “Running with my Bestie” program. Now, I realize that many of my fellow runners and dog lovers have no desire to follow in my footsteps, completely overhaul your career direction, and marry two interests.  So, I’ve done the work for you. Together we can set you and your pup up for a successful run, wherever that my take you.

Running or walking with your dog sounds easy, but if you’ve tried it, you know, like me, how clumsy and incompatible the two of you may seem traipsing and tripping along. It doesn’t look right, and it certainly doesn’t feel right. Running with your dog shouldn’t be stressful or seem like a chore, nor should the goal be mindless exercise to tire out the family pet and give you a chance to post on Facebook. Exercising with your bestie can be, and should be, so much more!

Just like anything worthwhile, it takes time and practice to synchronize all the moving parts.  With careful management, you can learn how to safely walk and run with your dog. “Running with my Bestie” is designed for the pet parent who wants to create a rewarding running experience that is fun, physically conditioning, and mentally enriching for both parent and pup. It is an opportunity to take the relationship you have with your furry best friend to a new level.

In this program, we will cover

  1. What is Running with Your Dog?
    • Introduction to the sport
    • What it is and what it is not
    • Candidate suitability
    • Starting point
  2. The Basics of Your Running Mechanics
    • Establishing your starting point
    • ChiRunning technique
      • Introduction to ChiRunning
      • Lessons 1-6 on the technique
    • Effective training using a heart rate monitor
    • Becoming fat adaptive
    • Moving through a running program
  3. Your Best Friend’s Running Mechanics
    • Candidate suitability and goals
    • Locomotion and gait
    • Physiology & Musculoskeletal
    • Role of nutrition
    • Conditioning exercises
    • Building duration, distance, and speed
  4. Leash and Movement Skills
    • Running on leash
      • Key skills for your dog
      • Key skills for you
    • Building behavior chains
    • Reinforcement areas
    • Management approach
    • Skills and tactics for mutual enrichment
    • Games to build behaviors
  5. Your Equipment for You & Your Bestie
    • What equipment do you need
    • What equipment does your dog need
    • It’s all about enrichment
    • Adventure and fun for you both, not just for one
  6. Compromising For Fun and Safety
    • Mechanics for you
    • Mechanics for your dog
    • Suitable run types
    • Rules of the road
    • It must be fun
    • Playing Jess
  7. Building Your Condition
    • Form
    • Duration
    • Speed
    • Run types
  8. Merging Your Running Plans and Goals
    • Long slow runs
    • Repetitions and Repeats
    • Success that is fun