Adventuring with Your Pup

Running with you Pacer/Pup Series

(From an Instagram series for Higher Running)

Running with your dog can add infinite amounts of joy to an already joyous activity.  But there are few more responsibilities and things to consider when running with your favorite pacer.  Here are Coach Ray & Coach Pacer’s top tips!

1.It’s Your Dogs Run/Adventure

 Our number one rule when running with your dog is simple:  It’s your dog’s run.  If your dog isn’t into the run that day, you turn and go home.  If the dog doesn’t want to scramble to the top of the mountain, you turn and go home.  It’s that simple, and probably obvious too.  But sometimes our egos get in the way.  Your job as a human is to rise above that ego (and Instagram photo) and remember how much you love your dog.  

2. Water

Anytime in the summer and anytime you’re on a new route, we recommend you fill up with water.  Anytime Pacer and I run in the desert or canyons, I’m going in with a full hydration reservoir.  In the summer, it can be helpful to look at maps to see if there are creek crossings, but you can’t always trust them.  It’s always good to have a water filter with you too just in case, as you’ll go through water quickly if you’re carrying for two, regardless if your pup finds a stream to jump in.  

3.  Leash

We really love the leash belts.   While not perfect for running form, it’s better than having one arm being pulled out.  If possible, have the belt/leash rest below your waist.  It’s likely not going to stay there, especially if you have a pup like Pacer who’s going to try and fly down hill and pull you like a kite.  In that case, let the leash be a reminder to keep a neutral pelvis.  If you are on a trail that allows off-leash dogs, have full voice command over your dog and you might want to put your dog back on leash if you see a pup with a leash on. For people and dogs who have been chased by dogs before, it can be scary to see an off-leash dog running towards them, no matter how friendly the pup.  If you’re not on an off-leash trail, please respect the rules. They are there for a reason and are really there for the love of all dogs, animals, nature, and people.  Pacer and I live in the mountains, and it always amazes me to see people who let their dogs off-leash when the area is prone to elk, mountain lions, bears, and moose.  

4.  Long mountain adventures with your pup

There is nothing more Pacer and I love than spending a day in the mountains together.   But there is more to think about when heading out.  One thing I’ve learned to always carry with me are dog booties.  If you’re on a mountain that is rocky, I’d put them on early.  I’ve had a hard time forgiving myself for the times one of Pacer’s paw pads ripped and it could have been prevented.  After trying several types of booties over many years, we finally settled on a simple cloth booty, used by mushing dogs.  They are fairly inexpensive and stay on better than the more expensive booties.  For summer mountains, Mountain Ridge has a “tough boots” option made out of a durable fabric.  Last year, I also finally bought a dog rescue harness (Fido Pro Airlift), mainly for peace of mind.  I don’t always take it with us, but truly, it’s better just to be okay with carrying a little extra weight into the mountains.  Finally, if I’m unsure of the route and it’s a big distance, I’ll see if another human friend can go with us.  Last year, on the “Pacer’s Big Day” 14er route (Redcloud, Sunshine, and Handies- 19.6 miles, 7,831ft of gain), “Aunt” Sandi came with us.  Aunt Sandi also always brings extra treats for Pacer, which Pacer says is also important to have on long mountain adventure days.

(We also have a Garmin inReach for additional safety.)

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