The world lost an incredible mother, wife, daughter, friend, attorney, underprivileged advocate, and community member suddenly and unexpectedly on October 16, 2013. In honor of my late wife, Holli Wallace, I am training for the Hallucination 100 mile trail run and raising money for the Children's Grief Center of the Great Lakes Bay Region.

My training progress

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Running with Your Dog

I only ran a slow 5 miles today since my knee has been bothering me. It didn't feel too bad, but I don't want to press my luck and make it worse.

I thought I'd give me thoughts as to running with dogs. Nearly every time I run, I run with my 6 year old border collie, Casey. In fact, we've been running together since he was about 1 year old and just moved into our tiny Oregon apartment from the Junction City cattle ranch where we got him. He is by far the coolest dog that I have ever met and, seriously, you can communicate with him in complete sentences. He's also an excellent running partner.

Dogs make excellent running partners. I occasionally run with other people and its a nice break, especially on long runs. However, I'm not really cut out for running in groups on a regular basis. Too often my runs must be carefully timed with work, caring for Elliott, traveling and the dozens of other things that come up on a regular basis. Casey doesn't care about any of that stuff. He is always ready to run. Not only that, but he gives me reason to run. Border collies are extremely smart dogs that are bred to work. In fact, they suffer psychologically if they can't work. Running is Casey's work and, while it can be inconvenient at times, I have probably run more regularly since Casey arrived at our home then all the previous years. (A side note, DO NOT get a dog just for motivation, especially a work dog like a border collie. They provide motivation if you already have an interest in an activity, but most people are unable to deal with high energy dogs and that's one reason too many dogs are in shelters.)

How far can dogs go? Casey is the type of dog who will run as long as I want him to. That can be a problem. In the first year that I ran with him, we had some problems with wear on his paw and at least one overheating scare. I think that the paw wear stemmed partially from the salt on the winter roads we were running on. More frequently, I get concerned that overheating will be a problem. I've carried water for him with me in the past, but now I usually just drop Casey off after 3 or 4 miles instead. On cool days (<50 style="font-weight: bold;">What do I need to run with my dog? I recommend taking your dog to obedience training. This is just a good idea under any circumstance. I've been chased by a variety of dogs and encountered a variety of people--it makes me feel better to know my dog is under control. Casey and I use a harness and a belt leash we got from campmor for around $20. It's called "The Buddy System." I recommend it as I like to have my hands free while running. Also, it is the only thing that makes running with a dog AND a stroller manageable. As note, consider bringing water for runs on warm days.

Is it good for my dog? Er, duh. It's good for you so it is also good for your dog. It's good psychologically. It's good physically. Casey just had a checkup last month and the vet commented that he had a nice low athletic heartrate. On a side note, she also recommended that I begin to give him glucosamine supplements to prevent long term wear on his joints (see previous post). Unfortunately, Casey doesn't like taking large bitter pills. Luckily I just found out that Nutro makes biscuits with supplements inside. They are technically for senior dogs, but might be worth considering if you run frequently with your dog.

It is hard not for me not to smile a little when Casey starts circling me excitedly at the mere smell of my running clothes (and he does know the difference between a cotton T-shirt and a synthetic one.) He is gets such pure enjoyment from cruising along the road with the occasional glance back to make sure I am still there. How can you not like running when you run with someone who enjoys it so much? It adds another dimension to the experience of running just watching him. Besides, its hard to skip a run with those brown eyes staring hopefully at you.


Susan said...

Use Pill Pockets for the Glucosamine supplements. These are beef flavored treats that you drop the pill into. Trust me -- they don't touch the sides on the way down, so the dog never detects the pill. You can get them on Amazon (among other places).

Brian Thomas said...

Thanks for the suggestion! I'll check them out.

ellie's mom said...

LOVE the new look. Thanks for the tip, Susan!

Anonymous said...

Very nice green background, reminds me that spring is here (esp since we had some flash floods in Calgary last night).

-Sandi ^_^

Drusy said...

Thanks for the thoughts on dog running. Nelly, our GSD, is my running partner and doesn't seem to have any problem with 10+ miles, unless it is hot and then I have to carry water for both of us - and fill up at garden hoses along the way. She is just unhappy when my husband holds her lead at races and she can't run! Great blog!