Training for the Dog Mile

“I remember watching it with my newly adopted German Shorthair Pointer, Griz, and thinking, ‘we can totally do this.’ I immediately taught Griz to run and also taught myself how to properly run with him.” – Kristiana

The Dog Mile is one of the most adorable and exciting events you’ll participate in or witness in Santa Barbara and beyond. Running with your dog is a great way to bond and a great way to get your dog quality exercise. Here are some tips whether you’re preparing for your first Dog Mile or your 10th.

Does my dog even like to run?

The Dog Mile can be very stressful for dogs who do not like chaotic situations, while other dogs thrive in that kind of environment. Know your dog well enough to determine if bringing them to the Dog Mile is going to be an experience they lick and love you for, or if it will cause undue stress.

See a Vet

Be sure to get your dog cleared for activity from your vet – especially if they’re still puppies or have other health issues.

How can we help prepare our dog for the Mile?

Think about alternating 1-2 minutes of running with 3-4 minutes of walking. Then build up from that. Before you know it the two of you might be going multi-mile runs!

“Griz was basically made for running and LOVES the State Street Mile (I’m pretty sure he’d clock a 3:30 mile if I wasn’t attached to him). When we first adopted him, we made sure he was cleared by our vet to run, and we started by alternating 1-2 minutes of running with 3-4 minutes of walking. We slowly built up from that, and now I take him for 5-7 mile runs regularly.” – Kristiana

Pick a side

Help your dog learn to walk and/or run on one side. It can make your stroll safer as you’re not worried about zig-zagging and the perils of falling over. It takes time and patience, but it’s worth the work.

Choose the right Harness/Leash/Collar

A dog’s body shape, and facial features may warrant specific considerations. You want to be able to “communicate” with your dog a little with the leash so they know where to go (especially if you’re running), so talking with your local pet store or vet about what the best combo for your dog will be a good investment.

Click for a good online resource:

When Kristiana Almeida is not running with Griz, she’s coaching at her downtown Santa Barbara training studio, Alaris Fitness.