You want your dog to be your companion — next to your side when you sleep, eat, work and play. We love to see dogs running with their humans, alongside a horse or even working in a search and rescue situation.

The following are tips to turn any dog into your athletic sidekick as you run, cycle, ride or even inline skate:

  1. Tips for training your dog to be an athlete.Ask us to check if your dog is healthy enough to participate in vigorous outdoor sports. Make sure that lungs, heart and limbs are sound. Does your dog test negative for heartworms?
  2. Train your dog to heel beside you without pulling on the leash while walking. Once he's trained, increase the pace.
  3. Teach him to sit, stay, down and come. These commands reinforce the learning process.
  4. Use a six-foot leather leash. You'll have more control than if you use a retractable leash.
  5. Give your dog a small food treat every few steps. If your dog thinks you're an automatic food dispenser, he'll stay glued to your side!
  6. Carry water with you for your dog or outfit him with a pack so he can carry his own water.
  7. Condition gradually. Don't expect your dog to complete a marathon the first time out.
  8. Examine the bottom of his feet for any signs of torn or bleeding pads. Make sure they heal completely before taking him out again.

Good luck and have fun!