Dr. Wood, Question: Is running or jogging with a dog especially on pavement a concern? Answer: “Some dogs, as do people develop arthritis or have long term chronic injuries. Some are not physically built to run. A concern too is hot weather, due to dogs having few sweat glands. Also, hot pavement can blister toe pads.”
J.M. - Better to be safe than sorry as you can’t tell if you are harming your dog. Walking is beneficial for your best friend!
A dog running with a person toward or from behind another dog in canine terms often signals danger or a threat, that an aggressive dog is approaching. Dogs are often afraid or wary of dogs rushing toward them. Approaching another dog while running with yours can result in one or both dogs lunging at each other.
I know a senior retriever that was seriously injured by a runner’s dog lunging unprovoked at him. The running dog had a high prey drive due to her breed mix. Running sessions to the dog became a game of hunt and attack. The runner’s dog knocked over the elderly dog and his caregiver. The dog viciously attacked the retriever resulting in dozens of bite wounds.
One of our female Labradors was lunged at viciously by a female dog on the sidewalk running with a person. After a few instances of perceived attacks, our Lab lunged back not only at this dog but at every dog she came across. It took close to a year to correct her lunging at other dogs brought on by someone running her dog directly at or from behind us. We all need to share the sidewalk and be considerate of others, including canines.
I was taught to educate our newly lunging Labrador to focus on me when other dogs are going by. Always keep a few treats on hand when taking your Labs or other food centric dogs for a walk. Food is often an incentive for Labradors to pay attention to their handler.
Some breeds or mixes however ignore food outdoors and are always ready for action. It is up to each of us to have absolute physical or voice control of our canines. Going forward I will teach our dogs pro-actively not to lunge versus trying to correct bad behavior.