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Dogs on the Run

I received a Facebook message today from an old friend asking about running with her dog, Cooper. She’s having problems with other neighborhood dogs chasing/following her and Cooper. I was thinking about this on my run with Sullie today and thought that it might be beneficial for some readers if I talked about 1) running with your dog and 2) dealing with other dogs when you run (even if you do not have a dog with you).

Running with Your Dog

When Brandon and I were talking about getting a dog several years ago (almost 4 – hard to believe!), one of my main criteria was a dog that could run with me. My family rescued a golden retriever when I was in high school and I fell in love with the breed. They are active, energetic and friendly and we thought a golden would be a perfect running partner and family dog.

We were right! Sullie loves to run but it didn’t happen overnight. There are definitely guidelines to follow when considering making your dog a running partner.

  • Don’t run a puppy. Most vets will tell you not to run a dog until they are 12-18 months old. Just like people, their bones have to develop and you don’t want to damage their hips and joints early in life by running them before their bones are strong enough to withstand the exercise.
  • You dog has to train just like you do. You can’t just take a dog out and expect them to run five miles. Start with run/walk intervals and slowly build mileage.
  • Make sure that your dog is comfortable on a leash and that you know how to control your dog. Be prepared and know how to deal with distractions (other dogs and runners, squirrels, etc).  My biggest piece of advice is to keep your dog on a short leash. They should be running right beside your knee – not way out in front of you. When you see a potential distraction make sure the dog knows you are in control. If necessary, pull off to the side to let other runners/walkers pass.
  • Pay close attention to your dogs exertion level. Take into account temperature and humidity when deciding how long/far to run. For example, I planned on running five miles today but it was over 80 degrees and very humid. Sullie can easily run five or six miles with me when it’s 40 degrees out but she tires very quickly when it’s hot and humid. She was begging to go out with me (she knows the routine when I’m getting dressed) so I took her for the first two miles and then dropped her at home before heading out to finish. I can tell when she’s tiring on the run because she pants hard, drools more and lags behind. If your dog ever stops and lays down that means you’ve pushed too far. Walk the rest of the way home. Dogs can overheat/become dehydrated just like we can. Always better safe than sorry.
  • Have fun with it! Running with your dog is a great way to build your relationship and great for keeping you both in shape. So many dogs are overweight these days and it’s awesome to have a fit, healthy and happy dog. Exercise also helps with boredom. A tired dog is a good dog!

Dealing with Other Dogs on the Run

We are lucky that in Charlotte most people keep their dogs contained but unfortunately that is not always the case. It can be very scary to have a dog follow or chase you while running – especially if you have your dog with you. Here are just a few tips I can offer on dealing with this situation.

  • Be aware of your surroundings. I have been known to turn around or cross to the other side of the street to avoid a situation with another dog.
  • If a dog approaches you and you feel threatened, stop running and slowly turn and walk away. In a low, calm but firm voice, tell the dog “no” and “go home.” Try not to make eye contact with the dog. Never hit or approach the dog or make it feel threatened.
  • If you repetitively have problems with the same dog, try leaving a note for the owners. If the situation does not improve and you feel threatened by the dog, consider calling Animal Control. Thankfully, I’ve never reached this point.
  • If all else fails, change your running route. I know it’s a hassle but it’s worth it to ensure your safety and your dog’s if they run with you.
  • And finally, if the dog is friendly and you think it might have just gotten out of its fence, help it! I always try to walk a dog home or call the owners if I can tell that it’s not supposed to be out.

I know this doesn’t cover everything but I hope it helps some. Please let me know if you have any other questions. I will do my best to answer them!

And now the daily update…

Breakfast this morning went unpictured – banana oats. Same old mix!

Lunch was an Amy’s Veggie Burger served open-faced on a slice of toasted Great Harvest Honey Whole Wheat with ketchup, mustard and a sprinkle of mozzarella.

This was my first time trying Amy’s veggie burgers and I was very impressed. The burger held together really well while I was cooking it and tasted great.

My afternoon snack was a cup of Yogi Tea Green Tea Kombucha and a Key Lime Pie Larabar. Love this flavor!

I managed to knock out five sweaty miles after work. They were mostly enjoyable minus my nagging left achilles tendon during the last mile. But that is another topic for another day.

Dinner was fabulous!

I roasted okra and potatoes that I picked up at the farmer’s market last week.

And Brandon grilled some bone-in pork chops on the Big Green Egg.

It was all so good! We enjoyed the break in the stormy weather we’ve been having and dined outside.

And then I made a mixed berry cobbler with all the random berries we had leftover in our fridge that were on the verge of not being good anymore.

Here it is before going in the oven to bake. The recipe was from my Cooking Light cookbook but that did not make it a healthy dessert…by any means. Full update on the final product tomorrow.

Do you run with your dog? Any advice for those who would like to run with their dog or advice on dealing with dogs on the run?

{ 3 comments… add one }
  • Natalie June 4, 2010, 9:48 am

    Hey Jen! Great advice!! I have been running with Ellie for the past 5 years and she has been my “pace setter” and my companion for countless miles. One thing that has helped Ellie is a glucosamine/chondroitin supplement. She suffered a shoulder injury about 6 months ago and I was worried that I has lost my running partner forever. I started her on Dasuquin MSM by Nutramax and within about a month, she was virtually limp free. I slowly started her back to running with short walks and now she is back up to 3-4 miles! She will be on Dasuquin for the rest of her life and I would recommend it prophylactically for all dogs that do a lot of running. Their joints take just as much pounding as ours, and they don’t have the advantage of great running shoes that we do! I have recently tackled running with two dogs and it is going fairly well thus far. I use the “gentle leader” with our other dog, Emma, who is not the best on the leash and it makes a HUGE difference! I LOVE the new blog, it definitely gives me inspiration to live a healthier life! Thanks!! I hope you and Brandon are doing well and congrats on the new house! Hopefully we’ll get to see you guys this Summer some time. Talk to you soon!
    P.S. Let me know if you want me to send you some guidelines on what to do if your dog overheats. I can definitely look that up for you if you want! Just in case 😉

    • Jen June 7, 2010, 4:50 pm

      Natalie – thank you sooo much for your comment. I love all of your advice – especially about the Glucosamine supplement. Ever since we talked about it last fall I’ve been meaning to put Sullie on one and this is the kick I need to DO IT! I will definitely call out your suggestion in an upcoming blog post!!! You can be the resident vet for Peanut Butter Runner 🙂

      We were hoping to make it to Athens for Drew’s b-day celebration but we have tickets to see Phoenix here that night and I don’t know if we can sell our tickets since the concert isn’t sold out. We’d love to see you guys very soon!

  • shelby June 4, 2010, 11:15 am

    I’m so jealous – I’ve wanted a doggy running partner for years but it just hasn’t fit with our lifestyle (lots of traveling and moving, small apartments…)

    Someday, though. I’ll remember your tips when we do eventually adopt a pup!

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