Dogs love to run. Puppies begin running with a cute little bunny hop action. Do you know the one? It is guaranteed to make you smile. They want to run before their bodies are developmentally able. So when should dogs begin structured running? As with most things with dogs, the answers can vary based on several things like size and breed.
Generally speaking, dogs can begin structured running around age one. Smaller dogs and breeds without histories of joint issues, may be able to start a couple of months earlier. The bones and joints of larger breed dogs mature more slowly than those of smaller breeds. Running too soon may hurt the physical development of a dog and lead to greater risk of injury and illness in later years.
So how do you get all that puppy energy out if he isn’t old enough to run? Lots of walks, playtime, and mental stimulation. This is the time to establish good leash manners slowly exposing him to new sights, sounds, smells, and textures he will encounter on a structured run…like other dogs and bicycles.
Visit your vet to make sure your dog is healthy and ready to begin a structured running program.