Trail running with dogs

For busy runners, finding the time to train can be a struggle alongside family and work commitments. Thankfully, there's one family member who we think will love joining you on your runs. We asked dog adventure accessory brand Ruffwear for their top tips on getting your dog into trail running.

Do dogs like trail running?


Getting into the habit of getting outside is great for you but we think your four-legged friend will love it too. Spending quality time together outdoors and including your dog in your interests will strengthen the bond you have with your pet. Plus, giving them the chance to burn off some energy is likely to mean your pooch is more chilled out at home.

Trail running with dogs ruffwear

How to start trail running with your dog

Getting your furry friend ready to run and out the door shouldn't feel like a lot of extra work for you. Here's how to make it easy and fun to hit the trails with your dog.

Plan ahead

Whether you're dashing out the door straight after work or you're planning to catch the sunrise, having everything ready and by the door means there's no room for excuses. Just grab and go!

Go exploring

Keep things exciting for you and your dog. Try a new route, or you could even switch up an old favorite by trying it in reverse. Keep things fresh and interesting - there's always something new to discover.

Trail running with dogs

Be consistent

They say it takes 21 days to form a habit so resist the urge to curl up on the sofa or hit the snooze button. If your dog is new to trail running, it's a good idea to start with a short distance and work from there but it's well worth squeezing some time to play and explore into your day, even if it's just for half an hour.

Tips for trail running with your dog

When you're running with your dog, there's a few extra things you might want to consider. Here's how to make sure you're ready for anything you might encounter.

Research the route

Keep it fun for you and your pet by doing a bit of research before you head out. You'll need to take into account your own ability level as well as your dog's. Make sure the distance is manageable, the terrain won't be too tricky and it's accessible for whatever method of transport you plan to use. You should also take into account how busy the trail gets and whether there's any leash laws.

Trail running with dogs ruffwear

Check the weather

Don't let inclement weather send you running home with your tail between your legs. Get you and your dog kitted out for the conditions so you can stay out and enjoy the run. An insulated jacket like the Ruffwear Cloud Chaser Softshell Dog Coat or the Ruffwear Vert Insulated Dog Coat keeps the chills at bay or pack a waterproof like the Ruffwear Sun Shower Waterproof Dog Coat for rainy days.

Don't skip the warm-up

This is especially important in cold weather. Just like you, your dog should get ready to run with a bit of gentle activity. It could be as simple as chasing a ball - anything to exaggerate natural movements and get the muscles warm will help to prevent injury once you start running.

Trail running with dogs ruffwear

Don't forget trail etiquette

If your dog is new to train running, you might find they're overwhelmed by the new sights and sounds. A few simple commands that are well worth mastering are 'sit,' 'leave it' and 'come,' although taking a pocket full of treats to use as bribes for good behavior might also be needed while your dog gets the hang of it. Don't forget to take a leash even if you're headed to an off-leash area, just in case your dog gets too excited.

Avoid post-run chills

Perspiration and precipitation, whether on fur or fabric, causes the temperature of both you and your dog to drop when you've finished your run. Make sure you take some towels so you can get warm and dry quickly. A Ruffwear Highlands Dog Pad is great to have on standby, creating a warm cozy place for your dog to rest wherever you are. The Ruffwear Dirtbag Vehicle Seat Cover will also protect your car's upholstery on muddy trail days.

Tap here for the full Ruffwear range at Wiggle 

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About the author

NChamanian's picture
Nassrin Chamanian
Published on: 25 Jan 2022

Pretty OK at bikes. Enthusiasm outstrips ability.