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I'm an out-of-shape jogger. I can jog about 1km, maybe (0.6 miles).

Trouble is, when I jog with my dogs, they go berserk and I can last less than 500 meters (or yards). They get excited, pull, chew each other, bark, break the rhythm, try to nip at my pants playfully... you name it. I can't keep a steady pace to save my life. Oh, and "NO Cesar! Hey Cesar! Leave it!" doesn't exactly help with my breathing.

I have a Border Collie and a German Shepherd, both around 1 year old.

Any advice?

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    Are they leash trained? Dogs with good training shouldn't be dragging you.
    – Allison C
    Sep 18, 2019 at 17:43
  • How do they manage at a slower pace?
    – Meg
    Sep 18, 2019 at 18:11

2 Answers 2

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Dogs, espesially the kind that you have, have different needs compared to you. Different levels of energy. And so on.

If you care about health (it seems that you care, since you jog), then think that your dogs need a lot more movement than you do.

I would suggest the following trick: at the beginning, make them run and waste their energy. When they are pretty much done do your jogging. In this way, you will all have the same energy levels while jogging, and still have all the exercise needed.


Training the dogs is of course the other option. But consider this: what does training mean in the context of your question? It means that the dogs only use a small fraction of the energy that they have. At the end of your exercise, they are barely warmed-up to do their exercise.

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  • The problem is that Border Collies are bread to run and can easily run over 100km a day when used as sheepdog. So tiering your Border Collie will probably not work. Train them to walk on a leash and have some extra activity where they can run.
    – Lehue
    Sep 27, 2019 at 9:56
  • Any dog can be trained to run a lot, of course. And some dogs can do it better than others. However, the idea of my answer is to allow the dogs to let go of some steam before the owner starts his program. Some training is definitely required, anyway.
    – virolino
    Sep 27, 2019 at 10:01
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    it depends on the dog of course, but my boyfriend went to a normal dog school with his border collie and it was not able to be calm during the sessions. The trainer said to play with it to tire it out, but that did not work. They then went to another school specialised on Border Collies and that trainer explained that it is near impossible to get that breed to calm down via activity. Generally I like your answer, it's just this experience that lets me think it might not work with this specific breed.
    – Lehue
    Sep 27, 2019 at 10:07
  • @Lehue: I am in no way denying your experience. It is just that some activity is better than no activity. At least for the other dog :) It is quite likely that OP does not have a huge space where the dogs can play a lot all day, every day. That is why extra activity for the dogs is actually needed, regardless of the OP jogging or not. I will try to remember the info about border collies, that they "cannot" get tired :) +1
    – virolino
    Sep 27, 2019 at 10:37
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This is a difficult thing to teach your dogs, because playing and chasing are more fun for them than jogging with you.

Self-rewarding behavior

Dogs cannot read your mind and don't know that you want to trot along this boring path at a boring pace without playing with them. Your running instinctually triggers either a playing or chasing behavior in your dogs. Both of those are more fun than jogging. Having fun is a reward. So your dogs reward themselves for playing, but not for jogging docilely next to you.

To break this cycle, you must reward them for jogging with you and running next to you. Since eating treats while running is not optimal, you should reward them with your voice alone.

You must stop them whenever they start playing and chasing you to avoid them rewarding themselves for a behavior you don't want. This means stopping your jog. It will be very hard to teach them not to play at first and you might be stopping more than jogging for several days, maybe weeks.

Energy levels

To help you with your training, you should have your dogs play right before jogging, as suggested by virolino.

Let them chase each other, play fetch or tug of war for a few minutes. You want them to burn through the worst of their excitement and over-abundance of energy, but not to tire them out completely.

Dogs are comparable to children: they are easily excited by things but this excitement abates rather quickly, too. You want to intentionally excite them before you even start jogging so their excitement returns to a normal level while you're jogging.

Body language

You cannot expect your dogs to magically know what you want, you have to tell them. The best way to communicate your intentions with your dogs is via body language.

  • Bowing your upper body forward quite suddenly resembles the "play bow" and initiates playing behavior
  • Sprinting off initiates chasing behavior. Your dogs might start chasing other people or animals if they think you might be chasing those.
  • Jogging at a slow pace might resemble a prowling or roaming. This is what you want to achieve, so avoid the other mentioned gestures.

To keep your dogs from playing with each other, you should position yourself between them and keep them apart (on a short leash). Start at a walking pace for a few seconds, then increase the speed to your preferred jogging pace over a few seconds. Your dogs should read your body language and start trotting. If they start pulling you, nipping at your legs or playing with each other, stop your jog and their behavior for a few seconds. They need to learn that they can have fun in the constraint of your rules (keep a jogging pace, don't run right in front of me) but that the fun stops as soon as they overstep these boundaries.

I suggest keeping the reprimands to a minimum.

"NO Cesar! Hey Cesar! Leave it!"

That's much too much noise and doesn't mean anything to your dog.

"NO Cesar!" is all you need, if you immediately stop the fun.

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