A dogs gotta run; some run and run and run, while others prefer the couch. I spent several days in San Francisco; and one evening we stumbled upon a beach where there were many dogs running for the love of running itself. In the wild; dogs run specifically for hunting, they have bursts of speed and may need to run for several miles at a time. Other than hunting they don't do alot of full out running; saving energy for when they need it. Our dogs of today have no need to hunt; their food is delivered to them daily so most enjoy a good run when they can get it.
I feel very strongly that dogs need to get an off leash run at least 3-4 times a week. For many of us this is not an easy task. With all the leash laws it can be very tough to find a place to let Spot have a rip. Of course; the first task at hand is to be sure that your dog comes when called. You must be 100% sure that your dog will not run off. Second; you only allow your dog off leash in a very safe and secure area. Once these are both checked then you need to find a spot. If you are lucky and live in the country then you probably have a spot not far from you. If you live closer to the suburbs or in the city then you may need to visit a dog park or get in the car and travel a bit.
There is nothing more glorious to watch than a dog enjoying a great stretched out run. Luke is a dog that loves to run just for the love of running. When he was younger; he would run for a solid 20 minutes before slowing. I taught him that he must wait for a release before running off. I didn't want the act of unhooking the leash to be mean that he was released; he had to wait for his "okay." He sits patiently; almost spring loaded waiting for the word. As soon as he hears his release; he sprints off running for the pure love of it, and I feel honored to witness the joy.
If you can; find a place where your dog can run. It's a great way to drop a few pounds should your dog need to loose a bit of weight. If they are very heavy; then take it very slow and build. Most dogs love to run; finding a place or event for them to run is well worth it.