Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Running with the Dogs

It started mostly as an innocent question. "What would happen if I tried to run with the dogs?" For any who don't know, I have three:

  • Hobbes, a blond ten-year-old cairn terrier with little food motivation but loves his walks
  • Snickelfritz, a brindle nine-year-old border terrier who loves food and generally avoids any physical activity that isn't chasing after a tennis ball
  • Cosmo, a black three-year-old yorkie-poo who is a complete spaz

I realized soon after I had the question that logistics simply wouldn't work out. These are three excitable dogs -- while running, the first bunny we passed would make me trip & that would be the end of the experiment. However, taking the dogs individually might work out.

The obvious choice for a workout buddy is Cosmo. First, he's the youngest & he easily has the most energy of the three. However, he's simply not comfortable without the other dogs around. The first time I put him on the leash without either of the other two dogs, he just sat down & refused to go. Since then, I can get him to walk -- but if I run, he walks, meaning that I either drag him or I walk too. So, Cosmo doesn't work.

Snickelfritz won't work, either. The dog is actually built like a truck (his favorite activity is to bury a tennis ball in a blanket & dig it out - it makes for puppy muscles), but his only real motivations are food & tennis balls. He has no wanderlust at all - walks as simply a meal ticket (I commonly won't feed him breakfast without taking him for a walk - he's willing to accept that as the cost of the meal).

So, yesterday I decided to run with Hobbes. When we walk in the morning, he always has a hopeful look on his face after breakfast - he knows that I'm going back outside . . . so I let him come with me yesterday. As soon as we left the house & he saw that I was running, he was running. The thing about dogs, though? They can run a lot faster than I can. We never really caught a good pace together, though. I really only have one speed ("go"), and that speed seemed to be a rate that Hobbes was just unable to reproduce. He'd either go so fast that I had to reign the leash in or go to a fast walk, which meant that I had to slow down so as to not drag him.

A mile into the run, though, he was done -- kaput, that's it, I ain't running anymore. I walked him back home.

This morning, he wasn't overly interested in me heading back out the door again (I managed a 5k in very humid conditions) - but something tells me that we'll be running again, and soon.

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