Thursday, January 28, 2010

Now I Feel Like a Bad Pet Owner

Well, we both made it out alive, after Dobson and I ran together for the first time. We drove over to Sand Run for a chilly four-miler. I was happy with how well he did on his first run, but today after seeing Al's and Mike's comments I'm feeling like a bad dog owner.

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
Unfortunately, both Al and Mike didn't comment until after 5 p.m. EST, when I leave work and no longer have access to the Internet. There was no way for me to read these cautionary comments, and I blame them for any ill affects Dobson may have suffered.

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.

Other Dogs
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.

Other Runners
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.


The Enthusiast said...

Yay Dobson! Hopefully the vet will say we didn't do permanent damage. Although... he was eyeing your banjo earlier today, chew toy perhaps?

Sun Runner said...

I don't think one run at less than the recommended age for such an activity is going to ruin your puppy forever. Dogs are tougher than we give them credit for, IMO.

And what's this "no internet at home" stuff? What century do you live in? Or are you secretly Amish and live in Middlefield?

Jen Feeny said...

I was surprised PETA hadn't commented yet when I showed up. LOL!

I think Dobson will be A-ok and I bet ya'll loved the quiet time afterwards when he passed the eff out!

misszippy said...

I used to run with my dog (a whippet) all the time. He's 11 now and hasn't run for several years...I miss having him along for the ride. I hope you and Dobson can make it happen.

Jess said...

So, he is an English Sheepdog! Adorable. One of the dogs we had when I was a kid was the same breed. Charlie. He had one blue and one brown eye. Thought you should know these details...

Ms. V. said...

Man, I wish I could run with my dogs. They would tear my arm out though...I'll be he loved it!

Al's CL Reviews said...

I'm sure he is ok! The cold on his feet was more because I am always told not to run with the dog over a certain heat, as it will burn their pads. Seeing as it doesn't really snow in GA, and I don't run in ice, I was just guessing that the same thing would apply in the cold.

Glad the run went well. I really recommend the Halti or Gentle Leader on the run. Guinness is a herder and it helps. She doesn't jet out at all.

And for the poop bag, if you know you are going to pass a place again (like and out and back), drop it and pick it up on the way back.

gin hall said...

Viper, is that a glamour shot of your dog?!?! Sheesh. Y'alls got waaay too much time on your hands.

Oh, and if you ever want to take a jog out in Middlefield, it's right down the street from our new place! And you can even check your internets while you're there : )

Aileen said...

So maybe you broke some rules, but your puppy seems to be okay, so no harm? At least you took him out and he was fairly well behaved! I know some dog owners who don't do as much. And at least he ran with you! My sister's dog is two years old (mutt) and couldn't keep up with me, so he eventually sat down and wouldn't move until we simply walked home.

Jess said...

I didn't know there were so many rules about when you could and couldn't run with your dog. Sounds like he did OK though!

X-Country2 said...

Wow, that's an adorable dog. I'm sure he did just fine. Likely LOVED it.