The past couple weeks I’ve been running with Jade The Boxer more. When we decided to get a dog, my hubby really wanted me to have a dog that could run with me for extra protection. I kind of thought that sounded nice, but I also thought it sounded a little like an annoyance. I figured I would be slowed down or dragged along by a pet that doesn’t have a pace that matches mine.
And then when we got Jade and she was a royal pain in the arse on the leash. I thought I maybe wouldn’t get to run with her ever. She planted her butt and refused to walk with me. She pulled and pulled so hard her neck was red and raw. She pooped and peed frequently.
(Yeah, her sidewalk bowel movements are one of the reasons I would never be a completely barefoot runner. I’ve seen what she’s done and we don’t usually have a ton of rain here in Vegas to wash that kind of stuff away quickly. Don’t worry, I do pick it up. But she has a finicky gut and her early months were very… soft. We’ll leave it at that.)
I do take her out to the open desert and let her run off-leash. I thoroughly enjoy those mornings. But it’s very different then if she were to run continuously. I run along while she pauses to sniff something, then charges ahead to be next to me. Then she wanders away, followed up with a quick sprint to me again. The longer we run the closer she sticks to me. (She’s a chicken-dog, frightened by lots of things!)
Since I have started working on coming back to running after my injury I’ve been taking Jade with me on runs around the neighborhood. We have been doing 3.5 miles a few times a week. The first time she fought me for about the first .1 mile and then she fell in line next to me. And now she gets really excited when she sees me pull her running leash from the basket.
I love the whole experience. It doesn’t feel like hard work or like I’m forcing a workout or anything like that, I’m just playing with my doggie! I do talk to her a lot on the run, things like, “Ah ah… no pull.” and “Good girl!” and “Did that scare you? It’s okay!” She does a lot better early in the morning too, when there is less traffic whizzing by on the roads. She’s veered right into my legs a few times when she’s been scared by loud passing vehicles. (Yep, I almost fell just yesterday! We recovered before meeting the ground!)
I bought the Roamer leash from Ruffwear to have a hands-free experience while running. She’s not quite ready to be trusted without my hanging on though, but I don’t have to keep as firm of a grip on her and this leash has a convenient spot for me to hold onto so she is on a pretty short leash to stick right by my side. It also has a stretchy part on it, so if I do let go and she lunges, it deflects some of that shock and I’m not yanked around.
And after a good run, this is what Jade looks like:
She usually finds an out-of-the-way spot and hunkers down for a solid nap. It’s a solution for her boundless energy!
Now if only I could get her to carry her own poop back with her!