Running with your boxer is a great way to stay fit, improve your bond, and ensure your boxer is sufficiently exercised for the day. But before you grab your running shoes, it’s important to be aware of the following tips and advice that will keep your boxer happy, injury-free, and safe.
Boxers make good running partners, and owners can start running with their boxer once they reach an appropriate age. Boxers should be over 2 years old before running with them, and it’s advised to start off with easy slow runs.
Can Boxer Dogs Run With You?
Absolutely, adult Boxer dogs can make excellent running partners with a little practice!
Boxers are a high-energy working breed that needs at least 1 hour of exercise per day. Healthy adults would preferably receive around 2 hours.
Running is an excellent way to achieve this high requirement of physical exercise.
Please note: Running should be reserved for adults between 2-7 years of age. The reason being is that puppies (under 2) and seniors (over 7) need to be extra careful with their fragile joints. Continous jogging or running is very repetitive will likely lead to injury.
How Far Can Boxer Dogs Run With You?
With practice, a safe distance for your boxer to run with you would be up to 3 miles at a time (4.8km). While running for longer distances than this is technically possible, the chances of causing joint issues or muscle strain increase dramatically.
Although we are capable of running very long distances, it’s not advised to do that with your boxer. They are prone to joint issues like hip and elbow dysplasia so we shouldn’t overdo it!
⭐ Work your way up slowly! It’s crucial to build up to 3 miles gradually over the course of a few weeks or so. Start with light jogs of 1km before slowly increasing the distance. In the beginning, your boxer will not be accustomed to such constant running and will need to rest and recover sufficiently after each run you go on.
⭐ Can your boxer run every day with you? Even though your boxer would probably be able to handle daily runs after a lot of practice, it’s still not advised. Running with your boxer is best kept to 3-4 times per week to avoid damaging the joints or straining muscles.
7 Tips For Running With Your Boxer
Let’s run through some additional tips and advice to make running with your boxer safe and more enjoyable.
1. Don’t Run In Hot Weather
Try to avoid running in hot weather and the midday heat. Your boxer can dehydrate quicker than you might think and heatstroke won’t be far behind.
To be on the safe side, if the temperature rises above 20C (70F) then it’s best to stick to either very short runs, or change the exercise completely.
Our tolerance to heat is much better than our dogs which can trick us into thinking that our dogs will be ok too, but this really isn’t the case! Avoid dehydration and heatstroke by running in cooler temperatures only!
2. Test Your Route Before Taking Your Boxer
Getting to know the route before you go with your boxer is a really good idea! Consider where the roads are, how busy it is, are there many other dogs or narrow walkways where you need to cross paths with people…
Ensure you run the route before taking your boxer and assess how easy or difficult it might be when you’re with him.
Ideally, it’s best to run in clear open spaces, away from roads and the pathways should have enough room to go past people without getting close to them. Narrow walkways will make it really hard for your boxer to ignore another person or dog when going past.
3. Check The Running Surface
A little concrete or pavement every now and then isn’t anything to worry about. But the majority of the run should be on a more forgiving surface, like grass or mud.
If your Boxer runs on concrete too often, it could lead to very sore paws which can be very painful.
This is especially true in summertime when the pavements can actually be hot enough to burn your Boxer’s paw pads.
4. Use Only a Hands-Free Leash
I know it looks super cool and majestic to run alongside your boxer off-leash. I tried doing that once… Let’s just say that I won’t try it again…???? Always use a leash, and to be specific, use a hands-free leash.
Hands-free leashes are perfect for running with dogs as they allow you to run normally while maintaining excellent control over your boxer.
Running while holding on to a regular leash should be avoided as it might lead to sharp yanking and cause injuries. Hands-free leashes are supported by your waist and are typically fitted with a bungee to prevent sharp pulls. This is very important!
5. Take Breaks & Bring Water
You may be able to run 3 miles without stopping or taking a drink, but for your boxer, this won’t be comfortable or enjoyable!
Have a least one break and be sure to give your boxer some water. Fortunately, there are many great bottle/bowl combinations on Amazon (I link to one of them below).
It’s kind of annoying to carry things in your hand while running, so be sure to wear a small runner’s backpack just big enough to bring a bottle and a few safety supplies.
6. Don’t Run In Front Of Your Boxer
It’s really important to have your boxer run beside you or slightly in front of you…
When your Boxer is behind you, you can’t see him. By having him at your side or slightly in front of you, you’ll be able to see him and assess situations quickly, especially when passing other people and dogs.
Secondly, you don’t want to run at a pace that’s too hard for your boxer. If your boxer is trailing behind it likely means that he can’t keep up. He should at least be running beside you or slightly in front of you.
7. Incorporate Daily Joint Supplement Into His Diet
For larger breeds like boxers it’s absolutely crucial to keep their joint health as good as possible.
Exercise is necessary for overall health, but over time, things like running will inevitably wear down the joints.
Adding a joint supplement to his diet should prolong the health of his joints, and prevent (as much as possible) general deterioration. Joint supplements are a fairly safe supplement, but as always, it’s preferable to speak to your veterinarian before choosing a brand.
Key Points Summarized
Here’s a quick snapshot of the key points covered in the article so far!
● Avoid running with young puppies (under 2 years) and senior boxers (over 7 years)
● Avoid running in hot weather above 20C (70F)
● Introduce your boxer to running gradually, work up to longer runs slowly
● Ensure your boxer runs only 3-4 times per week
● Run mostly on soft surfaces like grass and mud
● Be sure to have your boxer run beside you or in front of you, never behind
● Let your boxer set the pace
● Plan your route beforehand to avoid hazards
● Avoid busy roads or crowded areas
● Avoid running at night
● Bring extra water and have at least one rest stop
● Use only a hands-free leash with a bungee feature
There’s a lot of tips there, but if you focus on following them, then both yourself and your boxer will have safe and enjoyable runs, every time.
Teaching Your Boxer To Stay By Your Side
So far, it all seems straightforward. The thing is, Boxers are balls of energy just waiting to bounce around on their walks. You have to teach him to stay by your side.
If your Boxer has never run with you before, it’s going to be a very new experience for him. Your Boxer won’t automatically understand that he needs to keep by your side and focus on the run, nope… As soon as he sees another dog, he’ll want to bound over there.
You need to go on mini practice jogs/runs using the hand-free leash for the purpose of training him to stay by your side regardless of distractions.
⭐ The main method: While using the hands-free leash, start walking with a handful of his favorite treats clenched in your palm. Allow him to smell your palm down by your side as you walk. The goal is to walk while he’s glued to your palm. Every so often, stop, ask him to sit, and give him a treat. Then continue to walk with him by your side paying attention to your treat-filled hand. Practice outside where there are few distractions.
⭐ Why this works: It’s a simple routine, but it works well. It’s subconsciously training your Boxer to stay by your side while using the hands-free leash. Eventually, this will form a habit, and you won’t need treats for him to stick by you.
⭐ Keep practicing: You’ll want to continue the practice phase to the point where you can jog for 20 yards with your boxer perfectly glued to your side. It’s fine to still be using treats at this stage.
⭐ Start removing the treats and jogging for longer: When your boxer is finally getting the idea of sticking by your side when jogging with the hands-free leash, it’s time to start removing the treats and jogging for longer distances.
When you’re happy that your boxer can avoid minor distractions, then he’s ready to go on real runs out in busier public areas. This practice phase will also act as a nice slow introduction to running anyway, so it’s a very good thing to do first.
Recommended Running Accessories
Here are some of the best running accessories you’ll need if you want to start running with your Boxer. All items are extremely highly reviewed, but I encourage you to check out the reviews for yourself too!
If you are aware of any other products that should be added to the list please let me know and I will be sure to include them!
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