Sans a Dog Running
When we moved into our house, I couldn't wait to get a dog. I pictured myself out for a morning run, a happy hound trotting merrily beside me. A girl and her dog, pounding the pavement in the morning mist. What could be better?
Unfortunately, I quickly learned that the romance of running with a dog is sometimes just that - fiction. Kodiak was never really good for running. He's a territory marker of epic proportions and just couldn't get the hang of continuous movement. Plus, even 2 years ago, I knew his hips wouldn't be up to the strain, so I tried to limit his running.
Caper seemed to be a dog built for running. With his little barrel-chest and prancy legs, he's built for speed but he can do distance. The problem with Caper is that he's a cattle dog and exhibits an alarming propensity to knock into my legs. At first, I thought he was a jerk but then I realized it must be deeply inscribed in his DNA - if a running thing is moving in a direction you don't want to go, knock into its legs.
Works great on cows. Works great on runners, too. But that sort of behavior doesn't make the cow or the runner very happy. Caper had other problems as well. He always poops when we're miles from the nearest trash can, so I have to run with the leash in one hand and a smelly bag in the other. He wants to play with every dog or child we pass. He's never met a squirrel he didn't want to lunge after.
I've gotten wise. When I want to run for me, to concentrate on my form or do speedwork, I run without the dog. But when I want company or am just out for fun, Caper is usually invited. The only downside to my system is that I have to look into the betrayed eyes of Kodiak when we get home.