The Best Running Partners Have Four Legs

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Why have dogs become our pri­ma­ry ani­mal run­ning part­ners? Sure, it seems sil­ly to try and take your cat for a run, but it must have also seemed sil­ly when the first per­son decid­ed to leash up his canine friend and jog around the neigh­bor­hood — the dog dart­ing back and forth, trip­ping up his mas­ter in the leash. My best guess is that that per­son just couldn’t han­dle the intense­ly sad look on his dog’s face as he laced up his shoes and pre­pared to exer­cise with­out his dog. Any dog own­er knows this sad stare. But we’ve come a long way since that inevitably awk­ward first dog run.

Run­ning with a dog takes some prac­tice – for both you and your dog. Run­ning in a straight line at a steady pace is not what dogs nat­u­ral­ly do. Run­ning with some­thing tug­ging you in var­i­ous direc­tions is not a nat­ur­al feel­ing for peo­ple either. Of course, some hard work and train­ing are nec­es­sary, but run­ning with a dog has some won­der­ful rewards that make it all worth it. Like what?

wedThe per­fect listener.
Find­ing a run­ning part­ner you love is hard enough, but find­ing one that loves you back uncon­di­tion­al­ly, always lis­tens, and nev­er has a com­plaint of their own is damn near impos­si­ble. Dogs trump humans every sin­gle time in the lis­ten­ing depart­ment, as they will nev­er inter­rupt and start shar­ing a sim­i­lar sto­ry of their own to try and relate through empathy.

Adapt­able pacing.
Odds are, your pooch can run a lot faster than you (it helps to have two extra legs) and won’t have a prob­lem keep­ing up with you for a few miles — but also doesn’t judge. Your dog won’t even bat an eye if you need to walk on an uphill, and will only get excit­ed if you throw in some fartleks or oth­er speed work through­out the run.

Moti­va­tion.
Dogs prove that you don’t need words to be a source of encour­age­ment and moti­va­tion. All you need to do is walk by your run­ning shoes on the way to the bath­room, and your dog may start jump­ing around with excite­ment for a poten­tial run. He will con­stant­ly remind you that he likes to run and would like to go on one with you. Right now. See­ing him gulp water and then sack out in the mid­dle of the liv­ing room floor after a good run is at least equiv­a­lent to the sat­is­fac­tion you feel in your own efforts after a run.

njAvail­abil­i­ty.
You don’t have to work your run­ning sched­ule around a partner’s dai­ly com­mit­ments. Your pup is ready to join you every day, any time.

Con­ta­gious excitement.
You’d have to be in one gnarly bad moon to avoid smil­ing when your dog starts his hap­py dance upon real­iz­ing it’s time to run. Whether it involves spin­ning, zip­ping up and down the hall­way, jump­ing on his back legs, fran­tic slob­ber­ing, or fre­quent nos­ing of your run­ning shoes, a dog’s excite­ment over a run helps keep it fun. No mat­ter the age or shape of the dog, if he’s run­ning, his tongue is hang­ing out from a smil­ing mouth and he’s hav­ing a ball look­ing for squir­rels and birds. If we could remem­ber to approach run­ning with that same care­free atti­tude, just enjoy­ing it for the move­ment it is, there would be more run­ners in this world.

Run­ning with a dog may not be for every­one, but if you’re look­ing for an irre­place­able run­ning part­ner, you may want to give your four-legged friend a chance to prove himself.