Top Tips for running Blickling parkrun with your dog

Here is some advice from Steve Love, a regular runner with his dog at Blickling parkrun, on how to manage your canine assisted run.

Enjoy the run. A little bit of planning will make it so much easier for you and your dog.

The priorities are: others, your dog, you in that order.

Use a short lead (around 1m long)!- attached to you via a dog harness (not collar). Do not use a long lead as used in a canicross event. Ideally, the lead should be attached to your waist and have a bungee component in it.

The start is the most risky place. People are packed together closely and other runners may not notice you have a dog with you.

Start your run in the position you would normally do - but run on the grass where there is more space - this helps you to manage your dog when most excited.

Alternatively, start near the back and ease yourself and your dog into the run. This does mean you will overtake more people.

Avoid sudden changes of direction with your dog. This can trip up other runners who are not expecting your dog to be there.

Take care at turns or barriers - look over your shoulder frequently. Remember a faster runner might not think to warn you and your dog they are overtaking.

When you go to overtake, tell people a dog is coming through
Talk to your dog - develop warning and direction commands - say you are coming through when overtaking.

Steer by hand on the lead.

Apologise if you inconvenience other runners.

Hazards - puddles, other dogs, runners - decide which you are most worried about. Know your dog. - My dog is distracted by other dogs, she wants to be at the front and trips me up at puddles. What are your dog’s peculiarities?

Take particular care at the end of the run. Your dog may want to run outside of the funnel, so shorten the lead and guide it into the tunnel under control. Be aware that your dog may be spooked by the cheering and noise from other people.

Allow your dog to see other dogs at end - it will get used to that reward.

You and your dog will soon get the hang of it

Steve Love