How to prepare your dog for a dog-friendly 5K

I am very jealous of people that can go running with their dog. Before I got my dog, I was a semi-regular runner. Nothing crazy, just a couple miles here and there to stay in shape enough to run the occasional 5K. Since getting my dog, though, running has been a struggle. Most of my exercise centers around him, so we take a lot of hikes and during the summer we did a bootcamp that we will go back to when it warms up. I would love, though, to be able to go on a run with my dog. I’ve tried it, but it just hasn’t really worked out more than once.

I recently came across some good tips for running with your dog, so when it warms up I think I may try again. There are several Cleveland dog-friendly races I’d like to try this year (see my list at the end), so we are going to work on it with the help of these tips* from from Runner’s World:

Ease into it
Just like you can’t expect someone who never runs to go out a run a 5K straight through, you shouldn’t expect that your dog will be up a three mile run with no training. Runner’s World recommends starting with three times per week for 15 or 20 minutes and building from there, adding five minutes each week.

Don’t worry, you’ve got plenty of time to train your dog for Monster Mutt Dash in October

Be the pack leader
One thing that you’ll need to have down before going on a successful run with your dog is loose leash walking. You will need to have established your alpha status on regular walks before you can expect that he or she will run with you. Your dog should understand this isn’t playtime and should be following your lead. The article recommends training sessions where you do laps of a short route in order to reinforce behavior in a familiar environment.

Keep an eye on your dog
Instead of just jumping straight into a long run, you should do a five minute warm up before beginning your serious run. Start with a quick jog or a short game of fetch to get him moving. Also, keep an eye out for signs of fatigue—flattened ears, tail down, heavy panting, and hind legs dragging.

Once you’ve successfully gotten your dog to run with you, here are some of the races to check out:

April 27: Love A Stray Fur Fun 5k, Avon Lake

May 3: K-9 5k, Edgewater Park

June/July (no specific date yet): Greyt Race, Rocky River

July 19: Dirty Dog Run and Dog Wash, Avon Lake

September 28: Tom Madzy Shot Run/Dog Walk, Berea

October (no specific date): Monster Mutt Dash, Berea

Visit Hermes Cleveland for specific dates. Also, just to note, most of the 5K races on Hermes’ site are dog-friendly, the ones listed above are the just the ones that cater to dogs in particular.



Author: dogsinthecle

The source for what to do with your dog in Cleveland.

5 thoughts on “How to prepare your dog for a dog-friendly 5K”

  1. BADASS Dash, producer of obstacle races and adventure runs launches our the first K-9 Companion Obstacle Course Challenge! We’ll be hosting a race in Zoar, OH (just outside of Canton, OH) on October 11th and want to invite the Dogs in the CLE community to take part in the event! A portion of every entry goes directly to Autism Speaks and its’ a great way to get active and bond with your dog completing a brand new challenge.

    Learn more about the event online at:


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