The other day I had one pooped out puppy.
I secretly hoped, when I adopted JJ, that he would become a running buddy. I never questioned JJ’s ability to run… but would he run alongside me? Only one way to find out!
It turns out JJ is a pretty good running buddy. I’ve run with him twice now. The first time was an experiment, just to see how things would go. We ran about a mile and a half, and padded it with a long walking warm-up and cool-down, to bring the outing to a total of 2.3 miles.
A long warm-up – at least a 1/4 mile of walking – is key. JJ needs times to do his bladder- and bowel-related business. The cool-down that day was more for me, because it was hot.
I set a goal of 2.5 miles for the second run, and we did it! It took almost exactly 30 minutes. Add on another mile of walking (1/4 mile warm-up, 3/4 mile cool-down), and we were out for about 45 minutes total.
I’ve been training JJ during our walks since the day I brought him home. He’s always on my left, he rarely pulls, and when I stop, he sits and waits. With this behavior now part of the routine, it was an easy transition to running.
Both times, when I started running, he started running, too, and quickly realized that he had to slow way down. My run pace is like a gentle trot for a dog! But once he got on the right pace, he happily trotted alongside me. I don’t like to stop moving, so at crosswalks, I ran in place while we waited for the light, and he sat and stared at me like I was crazy.
I use a 6-foot leash with JJ, and I hold it with both hands while we run. My right hand has the end of the leash. My left hand is holding a spot on the leash about 2 feet from where it attaches to JJ’s collar, and I hold my left hand up, so there’s no chance that JJ will trip on the slack in the leash. All the slack is between my left and right hands – and there’s not enough of it for me to trip.
There’s been a couple times where JJ darted in front of me suddenly, when he saw squirrels. Had he stopped, I would have run into him, or possibly tripped over him, but he always keeps moving, and I was easily able to return him to my left side.
I can’t wait to keep running with my boy! JJ, though, prefers another form of exercise: trying to climb trees. JJ goes nuts over squirrels, and will launch himself up a tree trunk while chasing them. It’s pretty impressive how high he gets – so I captured a few attempts on video and uploaded to YouTube. Check it out!
Maybe one day you’ll catch a squirrel, JJ. Keep it up! Oh, and…
…Keep it up, David!
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