Running is good for our health, but it’s also really beneficial for our four-legged friends. A little fresh air and some time in nature is a great way to start the weekend and get the blood moving. If you’re thinking about heading to a parkrun with your canine family member, here are a few tips to keep in mind:

Make sure your dog is up for it

Like us, dogs need training before jumping straight into a 5km parkrun. Make sure they’re getting regular exercise during the week – and not just over the weekend. These Saturday runs are busy and distracting. Get your dog comfortable with a large group of people by introducing them slowly – for example, take them on regular walks and 30-60 minute play sessions in your neighborhood park first.

Listen to your dog

Most dogs enjoy running, but not all of them do. Be aware of whether your dog likes to run and be sensitive to what they’re saying. If they show signs of stopping, take it seriously – don’t force them along. If they seem anxious, talk to them calmly while walking. On the other hand, if your buddy loves to run, be prepared to keep up with their pace and limit!

What to bring with

  • Water – give your dog plenty of fresh water at least every 1km
  • A bag to pick up any number twos left along the route
  • A comfortable short, bright lead

When not to bring your dog

Parkruns aren’t for everyone, including our four-legged friends. If your dog is a puppy, overweight, old, unfit, unsocialised, or short-nosed – rather take them to a local park. That way they can play at their own pace, safely.

Last tips and notes to keep in mind

  • Parkrun allows one dog per person on a short lead.
  • Keep a good distance to avoid tripping or colliding with other runners and dogs.
  • It should go without saying, but avoid muzzles – they restrict a dog’s ability to breathe and regulate temperature.
  • Consider starting towards the back.
  • Be prepared for some stops along the way.
  • Get there early for good parking.
  • Most importantly, have fun and enjoy some quality time with your canine BFF.