I am doing a maintain run today, but before I do that post I thought I would write about my time running with my dogs.
I have a border collie Oreo who is around 8 years old and a border collie/sheltie mix Whisp who is about 4 years old. Both of them are herders so they love to run. When I was training for my first half marathon Oreo was our only dog and he would go on every run with me. So when I increased my distance so did Oreo. If I brought water for myself I brought water for Oreo as well. When we run I put a harness on him so if I pull him it doesnt hurt his neck, but on regular walks we just use the collar. Training for my first half was in the fall so we didnt have to deal with the heat. Training for my second half though required summer training. We did talk with Oreo’s vet to make sure he was ok to run. She told us Oreo will let us know when he’s done running but other signs to look for are very heavy panting and foam. Oreo did really well, but then again he was only about 4 years old. As he got older I stopped taking him on the longer runs, anything over 6 miles. The last visit from the vet confirmed he had early signs of arthritis and I dont want to make that any worse. He can still keep up with me and run as long as I can but I want my pup to be healthy for years to come.
As a result Oreo and Whisp (who came into the family 2 years ago) only run the maintain runs with me. They still get exercise but dont have to deal with the heat for as long or put as much strain on their little bodies.
The key to running with your dog is first and foremost be aware of the needs of your dog. If you see them start lagging behind you and just cant catch up, stop running altogether and look dog tired (sorry, I had to) its probably time to stop running and take them home. If its hot and you need water, your dog needs water too. If the ground is hot your dogs paws are going to get super hot so try and take them for a run early morning before the ground becomes scalding hot lava. I prefer a harness when running but thats because Oreo sometimes likes to fixate on a smell and not respond to me so he gets pulled. I dont want to hurt his neck so the harness comes into play. If you dog is the picture perfect running dog and stays by your side no matter what you probably dont needs that.
Expect your pup to stop for potty breaks. Dont be that guy, bring a pop bag. I keep mine on the leash so I never forget. Also know your dog may not be the kind that can run with you. Some dogs just hate it and thats ok. Also…people…keep your dog on their leash. Seriously. Your dog may be the best most well behaved dog in the world, but you dont know how they will act around other dogs or vice versa. Dont assume all dogs are perfect, 9 time out of 10 there might not be a problem but its going to be really sad that 1 time an accident happens and it could have been prevented.
When I run I am on the left side of the road. I keep the dogs close to the curb and put myself on their right side. That way I can block the dogs from any cars and people. As a woman I love having the dogs with me. Even though I know these pups are the sweetest dogs they are still a deterrent from people bothering me. I live in a neighborhood with a lot of construction so its nice to have them with me. The pups have been running with me so long now they know my routine. If Im not out of bed on Tuesday and Thursday getting their harnesses on they whine and bug me until I do. Its nice, unless its a day like today when I want to crawl back in bed and get an extra hour and a half of sleep. Overall I love running with them, some days I am not in the mood for Oreo’s constant pee breaks (that dog marks everything!!!) but I know we all need the exercise and we keep going.
CHIME IN!!!! Do you take your dog(s) on runs? Do you love it or hate it??