If you love running and are a German Shepherd owner, you’re lucky because you have the best mate heaven can ever give providing you train them right.
In fact, according to the Runner Worlds, German Shepherds are one of the best dog breeds for running. There are plenty of benefits that you can get from running with your German Shepherd, here’re some.
The Benefits of Running with Your Dog
1. Running with Your Four-Legged Buddy Helps You Meet New People. If you are single and hoping to mingle, running with your pooch will help you find that special one as there is a lot of ladies out there who share the same common interest.
2. It Keeps Your Buddy Healthy. German Shepherd needs to exercise regularly to stay healthy, and what’s the better way to burn that excess energy off than running. Some of the health benefits that your pooch can get include a longer life span, helping your dog stay in shape, improved hip joints, a stronger heart, and lungs.
3. Running with Your Four-Legged Buddy Keeps Your Dog Tired in “a Good Way.” German Shepherd is a dog that needs to stay active to feel happy and content. I don’t know where this thing comes from, probably back then when their ancestors were doing a border patrol job Nonetheless, running is one of the best ways to keeps your dog stimulated and exposed to many things around them: new sights, sounds, and smells.
4. It Helps to Keep You Stay Motivated. Your dog can become the toughest running partner that you’ve ever had. Your dog won’t take no for an answer no matter how long your day seemed. They’ll keep harassing you until you run with them.
5. Running Helps You Bond with Your Buddy. By the time you go home after long hours running session, you will realize how much you love your furry friend.
Start Out Slow
Even though German Shepherd is suited to running, you should remember not to start them too young to avoid damaging your puppy’s joints and bones as they are still growing and haven’t fully formed yet.
Start slowly by teaching your dog to walk nicely on and off the leash during puppyhood. Take them on a slow jog around your neighborhood but don’t take them on running yet.
Wait ’til one and a half years before taking them on a short distance running, progressing slowly and gradually until your dog has enough strength and endurance to embark on long-distance running.
Consult With Your Vet
Even if you believe your dog is fit enough to run with you, there is nothing wrong in giving your vet a heads up to double-check.
In addition to checking for any red flags, your vet will also give you solid advice on the best running exercise and individualized dietary program for your dog.
Also read: How Fast Can a German Shepherd Run?
What Running Gears You Should Use?
1.Harness or Leash
Harness or leash is must-have gear for running with your GSD. They are a handy tool that will keep your dog from darting off chasing squirrels or birds.
If your dog had been learned to walk nicely on the leash, you would want to use a hands-free leash.
A hands-free leash is a dog leash that clips around your waist and connected to your dog’s collar so you can run hands-free but if your dog is still trained, it’s better to use a dog harness.
2. Running Belt
There are many good running belts on the market, regardless of which one you’re going to buy, you do need one as it will become useful to hold whatever essentials that you both needs. Two of the essentials that you should include in your running belts are:
- Poop Bags. Being a responsible dog owner, you should bring your own poop bags whenever you head out for a run.
- Water Bottle. Dogs get dehydrated more easily than humans. Since dogs can’t actually tell you when they’re thirsty, it’s a safe bet to bring a water bottle with you and stop every 10 minutes for water breaks while running.
3. Trekz Aftershokz Headphone
Even though you don’t need this Trekz Aftershokz Headphone when you’re just getting started, but one day as you gain more “distance” under your belt, you will need one.
What this headphone does is that it allows you to hear the jingle sound of your dog’s collar clearly when they get off the track while you’re running with them in the noisy city streets.
How to Train Your Dog to Run
Before start running with you, it’s essential that your dog learns some basic obedience commands such as sit and stay, down, come, off, don’t touch, and heel.
Then train your dog walk on the loose leash. Here’s a great video that will show you how.
Once your German Shepherd has mastered the leash-loose walking, they are ready for their first run.
1.The First Run
For your dog’s first run you’ll want to decide which sides you want them to run, either left or right side, and stick with it.
Once you have chosen aside, you’ll want to train them to run with their front feet even with yours. This is when we will use the basic obedience commands that your dog has learned previously.
If your dog has learned the “heel” command, it should be easy to train them to run directly next to you.
Begin by telling your dog to sit to make them pay attention to you then ask them to stand up and heel. Start walking at a power walking pace and see their reaction.
If they’re walking evenly next to you, reward them with their favorite treats periodically. Always give your dog treats on the side that you are currently training them. If you teach them to walk next to your left side, only give treats at your left leg and vice versa.
If they start to lunge forward, tell them to stop and stay.
Repeat this exercise several times, until your dog understands that they need to walk directly beside you, not behind or in front of you.
From their first run, you need to impose on your dog clearly that you do not tolerate them walking in front of you because it can be dangerous for both of you.
Later on when you both run at full speed, if your dog runs in front of you, you could get tripped or tangled in the leash.
After your dog has mastered “heel” on one side, you can then continue training the other side.
2. Pick Up the Pace
Once your GSD has learned to walk nicely at your side, it’s time to pick up the pace. You can increase your speed from walking pace to jogging pace. Your dog will instinctively follow your pace.
Don’t go full speed yet, let your dog progress at a safe and healthy pace to avoid the risk of injury.
After a week of moderately paced jogging, you can intersperse the walking/jogging with short intervals of running.
3. Teach Your Dog Some Cues
As your dog is building up distance and speed, it’s time to teach them some verbal cues. Teach them cues such as “walk”, “jog”, “run”, and “stop”. These cues can be used to tell your dog to speed up when you want to make a change in pace.
By giving verbal cues before making a speed change, your dog will be well-prepared so that they won’t strain at the leash or lag behind.
4. Build Up Endurance and Strength
Just as humans, your GSD also needs to build up strength and endurance slowly. There are many good running programs for dogs on the internet, here’s my favorite one:
5. Watch Out for Sign to Stop
During and after the run, you should be aware of signs of heatstroke or overexertion. Panting is the most definite sign that your dog has overdone it and needs to take a break. Other symptoms to watch include lethargy, drooling, weakness, dark red gums, and vomiting.
Any time your dog shows signs that he’s had enough, you want to take a break and give them fresh water. Be careful not to let your dog gulp too much water during or after running as they can swallow a lot of water and develop bloat.
After taking a break, wait and see for several minutes. If your dog’s breathing doesn’t go back to normal, it’s the time to end the run.
Other Useful Tips to Remember
- Because German Shepherds are a breed that is prone to hip dysplasia, you may want to add hip and joint supplements to your dog’s diet plan.
- Always start every running with a proper warm-up and finish every session with a proper cool-down. Simple heating can be a few minutes of walking or jogging.
- Give your dog time to potty before and after the run. And don’t forget to bring waste bags with you in case you need it somewhere along the road.
- Make sure you plan your route before running with your German Shepherd. When you’re starting out, you’ll want to run in a safe area that your dog is familiar with.
- Don’t run when it’s too hot. Because of their coats and the fact that they can only sweat through their mouths by painting, your GSD won’t be able to handle too much heat and humidity.
- Always carry water with you whenever you head for a run with your dog.
- Check your dog for ticks that may have hitchhiked to your home.
Here are some of my favorite German Shepherd supplies
Thank you for reading this article. I hope you found it helpful and useful as you raise and train your German Shepherd.
Here are some of my favorite reviews for German Shepherd supplies that I personally use and recommend. If you do decide to purchase them, please remember that I’ll earn a small commission which helps me maintain this website.
- Food: All of the different dog food brands out there can be confusing, and it’s hard to know which one is best for your GSD. Here is my recommendation for the best dog food for German Shepherds.
- Collar: A lot of people think that all dog collars are created equal, but this just isn’t true. If you have a German Shepherd, you need a special collar that is designed for their breed’s fur and neck size. Here I’ve reviewed some of the best collars for German Shepherds out there.
- Leash: A leash is a must-have for any German Shepherd owner. With a good leash, you can give your dog the freedom they need while keeping them safe and under control. Here are my top picks for the best leashes for German Shepherds.
- Harness: If you’re thinking about getting a German Shepherd, or you’ve just brought home your new pup, it’s important to know how to harness them correctly. A harness that is improperly fitted or used can cause serious injury to your dog. Read my review of the best harnesses for German Shepherds here.
- Bowl: A lot of people think that all dog bowls are pretty much the same, but this simply isn’t true. Different bowls serve different purposes, and the bowl that you need will depend on a number of factors. See my recommendation for the best dog bowl for German Shepherds here.
- Crate: You want to buy a dog crate for your German Shepherd, but you’re not sure which one is the best. There are a ton of different factors to consider when choosing a crate. Here’s my review of the best dog crates for German Shepherds and what you should know before buying one.
- Beds: German Shepherds need a bed that is comfortable, supportive, and durable. This breed is known for being high energy, so you need a bed that can withstand a lot of wear and tear. Here’s my review of the best beds for German Shepherds.
- House: It can be tough to find the best dog house for German Shepherds. Agitate: Not only do you have to worry about finding a good-sized dog house, but you also need to make sure it’s well-insulated and weatherproof. Here’s the house I recommend for German Shepherds.
- Shampoo: You want to find a shampoo that is specifically designed for German Shepherds. This breed has a lot of furs, and you need a shampoo that will be gentle on their skin and coat. Here’s my review of the best shampoo for German Shepherds.
- Shock Collar: A shock collar is a training tool that can be used on German Shepherds. It delivers an electric shock to the dog when they exhibit certain behaviors. While some people are against the use of shock collars, I believe that they can be helpful in certain situations. Read my review of the best shock collar for German Shepherds here.
- Vacuum: If you have a German Shepherd, you need a vacuum that is specifically designed to deal with all of the furs they shed. Shedding is a natural process for dogs, but it can be hard to keep up with. The right vacuum will make your life much easier. Here’s my review of the best vacuums for German Shepherds.