Milo Royds loves dogs and loves running
And three years ago he had a lightbulb moment.
He was already working as a dog walker and running to keep fit so he suggested to his then boss to combine the two.
When he said no, Milo, 26, decided to take the plunge and set up on his own. Now he exercises dogs of all shapes and sizes.
His mum Deb, 60, has joined the team and he has so many dogs he’s employed running and marketing assistant Harry Bulbeck and runner Oli Plummer, and each day they take dogs on a fast paced adventure on Wimbledon Common.
Milo goes full pelt every morning with the dogs! (Image © Eva Espresso)
He hasn’t looked back since setting up his business
Milo started by going out on his bike to collect dogs.
“I love running and I love dogs,” he explained. “Dog running was really taking off in America and I thought I would try it here and I’m so glad I did.
“My alarm goes off at 4.45am every morning and I might feel knackered but I’m thankful that I’m spending my day with the dogs.
“The morning run is my favourite part. I run around Wimbledon with two groups of dogs and my mum walks some of the other dogs who don’t do the run.
“Having a group of dogs running with you is another experience, they stick with you, they don’t want to run off, and being with the pack is absolutely amazing.
“The scenery is outstanding - you wouldn’t think you were in London. And it’s a great way to get your fitness in. It’s not like a chore - I’m working and staying healthy.”
This is Milo's office! (Image © Eva Espresso)
On a typical day Milo leaves home at 5am
He collects between eight and 14 dogs, reaches Wimbledon Common at 6am, runs from 6.30am to 9am then takes some of the dogs home.
Others stay with him for daycare at his house, so he feeds them, settles them down and does a 12pm walk in his local park with clients who don’t opt for daycare or the morning run.
Then he sets off again for one to one runs with dogs who might have behavioural issues before giving the daycare dogs another hour long walk
At 4pm he returns the daycare clients then enjoys the evening at home with his own dogs, Bean, a Staffie Boxer cross, nine, Parsons Terrier Florence, seven, Rhodesian Ridgeback Nefe, two, and Rottweiler Lola, two.
Every morning he covers around 14 miles but can run up to a marathon a day with the dogs - he once did the equivalent of five marathons in a week!
He goes through a pair of super hard wearing Salomon trail trainers every three months and says one of the perils of his job is the occasional ankle twist.
The dogs enjoy lots of different activities (Image © Eva Espresso)
And he absolutely loves every moment
Not just for the benefits it brings to his own fitness - he confesses he can eat whatever he likes as he burns so many calories - but for the joy it brings to the dogs.
Being out running in the fresh air means there’s no chance of them getting bored which can cause anti-social behaviour, excessive barking, separation anxiety, aggression and, in the worst scenario, lead to them being rehomed.
Milo explains: “What we do is ward off the problems associated with life for dogs living in the City. Running with the pack is what they were born to do.
“It’s stimulating for them mentally. They’re off their leads, taking in the environment and the different smells, running around with their friends and they have my full attention.
“No matter what size dog they are, they all benefit from running and just love being outdoors and being dogs!”
Milo says running with the more challenging dogs is one of the most rewarding parts of his business.
“People who have dogs with behavioural problems often feel a lot of guilt but I really admire them for persevering with their pets. It would be easy to hand them over to a rescue,” he says.
“Knowing they have been out running with me, that they’ve had the exercise they need and they’re happy is good, it’s taking some of the stress away for them.”
When a new dog joins the pack, he can spend up to a month ensuring he’s confident they will come back when he calls them.
He said: “Most dogs enjoy running with the rest of the group but when they first come to me I do assess them. Safety is important and they need to be focused on me.”
Pups even get to climb trees! (Image © Eva Espresso)
As well as ensuring they get the required daily exercise, diet is something Milo feels passionate about
He’s studying pet nutrition and is an ambassador for True Instinct raw and natural pet food.
Made from the finest quality raw and raw-inspired ingredients; premium quality meat and fish as well as fruit, vegetables, superfoods and botanicals with no artificial colours, flavours or preservatives, the brand invited me to meet with Milo and learn how to run with Patch.
Speaking about nutrition, he said: “I believe there’s a lot of misunderstanding when it comes to pet food, particularly raw.
“True Instinct gives owners the option to feed high meat based freeze dry food, as people don’t like the idea of handling raw food.
“It keeps your dog healthier because they’re getting all the nutrients they need, so they don’t need additional supplements.
“Many foods have low levels of the main ingredients, so they may be sold as lamb but only contain five per cent of the meat and that has been cooked over and over, removing all of the nutrients.
“The main thing I would urge owners to do is simply read the label on their dog food. If it contains ash and other questionable ingredients, do you want your dog to be eating it?”
Milo is excellent at controlling the pack (Image © Eva Espresso)
Patch and I joined Milo and Rhodesian Ridgebacks Red and Nefe, Golden Retriever Prosper and Labrador Barney on a 8k run around Wimbledon Common.
I love running - I’m not very good at it but when I first adopted Daisy it was the ideal way to tire her out and she even helped me train for a marathon back in 2014.
As she grew older, she wasn’t able to run so much and it’s something I really missed so I wanted to start again with Patch who at the age of two has boundless energy.
I knew he would absolutely love it. As soon as we pulled up and saw Milo and his pack in the car park he was jumping up and down with excitement.
The dogs bounded over for a sniff and he wanted to be off with them. As we’re working on his recall I was reluctant to let him off lead at first.
But we let him off and apart from a few minutes where he went off searching for rabbits, he kept checking back in with us and thoroughly enjoyed being part of the pack.
Patch and I join Milo on a run
Milo explained regular running on a lead at first could help with his recall
With lots of treats and encouragement, running can give Patch an incentive to stay by my side.
Running with Milo was so much fun. Patch had the best time and if I was a dog owner in his area I would treat him to one run a week - even though I work from home.
The look on the dog’s faces is just magical and you can see how happy they are bounding around in beautiful scenery.
One last thing made our trip even more amazing - we booked a room at the Dog and Fox hotel the night before as it was an early start.
And we were upgraded to a suite! Patch kept slipping on the floor as it was so well polished and loved lounging on a fur throw on the bed - we both slept like logs! You can see the pics on our Instagram Stories.
It was a brilliant trip and things like this are one of the reasons I am so glad I started this blog. Paws crossed Milo will let us tag along next time we’re in London!
Patch and his new pals
Would you like to find out more about Milo?
And if you'd like to try out running with your dog, Marianne from Trotting Dog has kindly offered £5 off and free shipping if you order their 3 in 1 bundle which is a harness, hands free leash and pouch belt.
I'm going to be testing it myself and will fill you in on how we get on in the New Year. Enter PAWPOST at checkout here www.trottingdog.com/product/multi-use-harness-with-easy-clip-pouch-belt-hands-free-bungee-leash
If you enjoy reading about trying new things with your dog, you might like Tried and Tested - Patch tries Pilates for Dogs
Milo's top five tips for running with your dog
- Get a dog running harness and train your dog to run next to you.
- Carry treats like True Instinct which are not only tasty but nutritious, for encouragement as you practice your recall.
- Only let them off lead when you’re absolutely confident they’ll come back to you.
- When they’re off lead, if they stop, keep on running. Your dog will learn to stick with you and this will improve your fitness.
- Use a sturdy trail shoe - I use Salomon - they’re so durable and you never slip.