Here are all the things I did wrong according to Al and the New York Times article that Mike linked to:
- I ran with a dog that is too young
- I ran with a dog in very cold temperatures
- I ran with a dog longer than two miles
- I ran with a dog whose instinct is to herd
- I ran with a dog before asking a veterinarian first
Almost Destroyed Knees
Dobson did a good job staying at my side or ahead of me. For the most part. The Enthusiast and I have worked with him on the "heel" command, and he seems to get it during our walks. However, he's a puppy and has his lapses.
On occasion, Dobson would decide to switch sides and cut right in front of me, forcing me to try a surprise hurdle. One of us better learn to deal with this problem or one of us is going to have a catastrophic knee injury.
A Shitty Way to Run
Dobson took a dump almost halfway through our run. Like a good dog owner, I picked up his turds with a plastic bag. Then I realized we wouldn't pass a trashcan for another three-quarters of a mile. Running with a bag of poop. That's a new one.
Out of Breath
I never noticed Dobson panting, but I still gave him a couple walk breaks to make sure I didn't wear him out. On the contrary, I was probably more out of breath than he was. I was constantly giving him commands or encouragement, like, "heel," "come on," "good boy," "heel, boy," "no," "heel," "come on, boy," "good boy," and so forth.
Passing other dogs was an experiment. However, Dobson did a good job of quickly getting over the desire to stop and smell butts. The only time this was a major challenge was an area of the path that was very narrow. I stopped, sat Dobson down, and let the other dog runner pass.
Sometimes I had to remind Dobson that I was the runner he was supposed to stay next to. When other runners would pass in the opposite direction, he wanted to follow them. However, we totally owned a runner who turned around at a mile marker just ahead of us. I didn't want to pass her, but she was just too damned slow. Dobson pulled a little to catch up to her. I was worried what he might do. But when we passed, we passed with authority. Does that mean she got dogged?
Addressing the Wrongs
And so I was wrong, despite a pretty good run. (We negative split!) I deviated from my own plan to wait until Dobson was six months old, and now I learn that I should have waited even longer than that (two years, according to the aforementioned article).
The temperature was definitely in the 20s when we went out. However, he's an Old English Sheepdog and has never exhibited any fear of the cold. He didn't seem to be ill affected by the temperature of the air or the ground.
I made him run longer than I probably should have, but I hope the walk breaks helped. Dobson's herding instinct was only a problem a couple times, but I attribute that to his own inexperience. With training, I think he'll be a good running partner. Regardless, we have vet appointment this weekend, and I plan to ask about all of these concerns.