We adopted Eli, a “high energy” lab mix, at the end of January. Our son has been after us for EVER to get a dog. We’ve tried to have dogs twice before and both times ended poorly. Eli was a very good choice for us. He’s just over a year old (so still “puppy”), has had some training, and is okay with cats. He is also very, very active. “Great!” I thought, “a running partner!” Yeah…
My Dog is Trying to Kill Me
Eli is very “ball driven”. That is an understatement. It would be more accurate to say that our arms will fall off before he is tired of play ball. We purchased a treadmill in February so that I could train in the mornings that my husband is walking the dog – he doesn’t run well in the dark – and for bad weather days. I was also using it for evening runs when my husband is in class. Oh, did I mention that Eli is very smart? It took him about two minutes to figure out that he could launch his balls down the treadmill belt and have them shoot across the room for him to chase. Normally, not a huge deal but it is a recipe for a broken ankle when I’m trying to run at the same time!
Cheating on the Dog
This dog is too smart for his own good. He knows that I am going for a run when I put on a certain pair of shoes and strap on my Garmin. He, of course, feels that he HAS to come. OMGTAKEMETAKEME!!! We are working on him not pulling too much (we have to use a harness) and not chasing the birds/squirrels/other dogs/little old ladies too much. The problem, though, is the poop. He invariably has to answer nature’s call around mile 1. That leave me with at least 2 more miles to run with a bag of crap. Of course, it’s never at a spot where I can leave the bag until our return trip. I’ve started tying the back to where the leash connects to the harness but then he has a bag of poop bumping him in the rear the entire time. Eh, better him than me.
To try to get around this, I’ve been reduced to sneaking out of the house. I put on my shoes and watch in the bathroom and then sneak out the front door when he isn’t watching. He’s going to wise up pretty soon and start hiding my shoes.
Running with Eli isn’t all bad. Today, I was a very bad “sneaker” so he went into his OMGTAKEMETAKEME! dance. Instead of leaving my husband to deal with the insanity, I decided to bag my plans for 6 miles and grudgingly harness up Eli for 3. He was full of vim this morning so I decided to see how fast we could go. We managed the first mile in 9:19! That totally blew away any previous records. Granted, I practically pulled poor Eli the last couple of steps until my Garmin beeped (he had to poop!) but we did it! We then finished our run at a more leisurely pace. Now that I know that I am capable of a sub 10 mile and I know what it feels like, I am confident that I can do more. That wouldn’t have happened with out Eli goading me on.
Going to the Dogs
Eli is a very good dog. He is gentle, completely housebroken, good with animals and our son, and patient. He is improving in the running department. We’ll figure out waste issue. We also need to get a collapsible water bowl now that warmer weather is here. I think he would do well carrying a pack.
I read something on a running forum that I need to constantly remember: sometimes your running needs align with the dog’s and sometimes they don’t. If they don’t, it is imperative that your put the dog’s needs first. I read where some guy on the forum won’t let his dog go to the bathroom when they run. That poor dog! He can’t be enjoying that. I now treat my runs with Eli as sprint interval training and leave the Garmin at home. It makes the time much less frustrating for both of us!