Fit Dog Friday: Running Struggles

Running Struggles: Getting Fit With Your Dog

You may remember my post from a few months back where I mentioned that Rooney and I were doing some running.

Unfortunately, this summer I was finishing my grad school classes so I haven’t been able to run with him consistently.

So instead of sharing our running schedule and progress, which I WILL share one day, I am going to share with you some unexpected struggles that have arisen since we started running.

1) Crossover

On walks, I never made Rooney choose a side. I knew that I should, I just never did. When we are walking, it’s not an issue, however, when we started running this became a safety hazard for both me and Rooney.

Rooney would pick up on a great scent and next thing you know I was almost tumbling to the ground trying not to step on his feet. Therefore, to be able to run safely, I needed Rooney to know he needs to stay on a single side.

To address this issue, I have been training Rooney to stay on my right side by giving him treats by my right knee on walks. Now, he looks at my right knee all the time and tries not to get too far ahead of me.

2) Poops

Rooney always likes to poop on walks. I think he is marking his territory some of the time.

However, when we started running, he was pooping a bunch. So much so, I started to think something was up. I don’t mind stopping a few times for potty breaks on a run, but we weren’t making much progress with him pooping 3 or 4 times during one outing. So, I recently changed his food to a grain-free option, and his poops have decreased to 1 per run, and now he seems to be more comfortable running faster.

3) Sniffs

Rooney has a tendency to want to sniff around instead of run. Of course, I can’t blame him. However, I have a half marathon I need to train for that will happen in 6 weeks! Therefore, I need to be running and not spending time supervising his sniffs.

I started to realize that the faster I ran, the less likely he was to slow down and sniff. The need to run faster has been motivating and has helped us increase to a steady pace.

4) Garbage (or other things on the ground)

Unfortunately, people litter.

Which means that not only are we running, but we are also dodging garbage and debris left on the ground. No matter what it is, Rooney will try to sniff it. Additionally, no matter what it is, I try to keep him away from it. I am just so worried that Rooney will run right up to something and eat it right off the ground, and it, of course, could be something that is terrible for him and I don’t want to take any risks. So, if you are going to be running with your dog, I recommend keeping your eyes open to what is on the ground.

5) Gravel

I like to run and discover new paths. I get bored if I run the same path all the time. So, a few weeks back Rooney and I were running, and we ended up on a gravel path. Soon after we started on this path, Rooney started to slow down. I realized that the gravel may not be comfortable on his feet, so we turned back and found a new way to get home.

I share this mostly because it was something I never thought of before that day, and I felt so bad once I realized that Rooney might have been uncomfortable.

6) Consistency

Since I finished grad school (2.5 weeks ago), I have been much more consistent at taking Rooney for walks and runs. However, since we started running back in June, I have been very inconsistent.

I can say that when I have a week of consistent running not only do I improve, but Rooney also improves his running abilities. After a few months of sporadic runs, I know that I need to be consistent in running with Rooney 3-4 times per week.

7) Time of Day

Just like myself, Rooney has a preference to time of day.

After a few months of running, I have noticed that Rooney can run much faster and farther in the morning. The unfortunate part is that I am much faster in the afternoon or evening. As a result, I have been running or walking with Rooney in the morning, and running longer distances in the afternoon or after work.

8) Stray Dogs or Dogs Off Leash

Unfortunately, we have been dealing with this a lot lately.

I never want to be caught in a situation where I didn’t see the dog coming, and it’s too late. Therefore, I don’t run with headphones. Additionally, I try to cross the street when I see dogs coming from the opposite direction, and I try to check behind us every few minutes or so.

The best advice I can give to other pet parents in this situation is to be as aware as you can of your surroundings.

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6 Comment

  1. Reply
    August 28, 2015 at 6:31 pm

    I can empathize with those struggles – have encountered most of them – except the pooping… Stick it out, it gets better!
    Slimdoggy recently posted…Strength Training for Dogs: Types and ProgressionMy Profile

  2. Reply
    August 29, 2015 at 3:02 am

    When we walk there are no rules unless we happen to be in an area with lots of people or something, we are all over and we are all happy that way. Running is the one activity with strict rules. Staying on one side is the first and most important rule and we follow it. We think it is Mom’s attitude that makes us understand the importance. We rarely stop of poop or potty, are not allowed to sniff and need to run on whatever surface there is. We love to run, but it is our sport with rules. We are all early morning runners and it works great. It isn’t always about the speed, it is about a nice run, not to warm, and there are no excuses not to run when you get up except being lazy. Mom has run lots of dogs and never had problems with following the rules, but she makes it known she means business.
    Emma recently posted…3 Friends And A Pink Pig Hit The Dog ParkMy Profile

  3. Reply
    Jan K
    August 29, 2015 at 4:47 am

    I have the same issue with my beagle crossing over. Usually she does it behind me though, so I at least don’t trip over her! I also have a hands free leash which makes switching her sides easier. However, it can be annoying and slows me down, so I’m going to try working with her like you did with Rooney with treats – great tip!
    I’m pretty inconsistent with runs too, but I’m not training for anything, so I like to just get out there when we can. I do have goals set for myself though so it’s great to read that others have challenges as well!
    My beagle almost never goes to the bathroom – either way – on a walk or run so I’m at least lucky there. And for a beagle she doesn’t stop and sniff a lot either, though she seems to want to do so more when we’re running than walking!
    Jan K recently posted…Winding Down Our Summer of FitnessMy Profile

  4. Reply
    M. K. Clinton
    August 29, 2015 at 6:22 pm

    I used to run with my Golden and also encountered many of those problems. It is a great bonding time with Rooney. ♥
    M. K. Clinton recently posted…Watch Me #WhipDanceMy Profile

  5. Reply
    August 30, 2015 at 12:56 pm

    I go through some of the same issues when I run with my pup! Great little article!

  6. Reply
    Barbara Rivers
    September 9, 2015 at 5:38 am

    You’re sharing great running tips ~ I suppose gravel can feel uncomfortable for a pup because the small stones can get stuck in their paw pads easily. Have you tried (running) shoes/boots for him? Ruffwear makes some high quality ones.
    Stray dogs and off-leash dogs were a huge issue in our old rental neighborhood, so much so that I began carrying around a small spray bottle filled with white vinegar that I would squirt in direction of those loose dogs coming towards us. Ugh, such a hassle, I wish people would be more considerate of others, especially those who walk/exercise their LEASHED dogs.
    Barbara Rivers recently posted…Comment on 3 Months Into Raw Feeding And This Rookie Raw Feeder Keeps Learning! by K9sOverCoffeeMy Profile

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