Dogs make wonderful running buddies. I started running with Charlie, our puggle, in 2013, when I finally ventured outside after years of early morning treadmill running. When we adopted Ollie, our Lab-heeler mix, we quickly began to train him how to run with us on a leash.
Now, a majority of our runs are done with dogs. Ollie runs about 18-25 miles per week, while Charlie does best at 8-10 miles per week. Overall, Ryan and I both enjoy running with our dogs. However, running with dogs can include some frustrating, messy, and downright comical moments.
My dog ate my Body Glide.
Last year, the kind people at Body Glide sent me a supply of various anti-chafing balms and creams. I only use Body Glide on very rainy long runs or races as a precaution, so we still have a good amount on hand. Ollie apparently heard me talking to some of my athletes about using anti-chafing cream and decided to try some himself. One Sunday evening, we found Ollie sitting in the bedroom, shredding a bottle of Body Glide cream into little pieces. Thankfully, he didn’t ingest any of the cream (we still called Poison Control just to be extra safe).
Dropping a squat, eating grass, and other sudden stops.
Dogs don’t have to worry about pausing a Garmin, so they stop abruptly and without notice often on runs. We run with our dogs on waist leashes, so their sudden stops can jolt us out of the groove of a steady pace. Charlie has thrown on the brakes so quickly to do number 2 that I nearly tripped over to him (which would have resulted in falling into a bog). Both dogs have made urgent stops to eat grass, which must be the equivalent of GU for dogs. Charlie has the strange habit of lying down on the ground when he sees another dog, and so he has dropped down the moment he sees another dog in the middle of a run.
Rest day crazies.
Like many of us, Ollie needs to run. It’s not just a fun way for him to stay in shape, as it is for Charlie. It’s necessary for sanity. As those of you with hunting or herding breeds can relate, Ollie will become destructive if he doesn’t get to run. In addition to the above example of the Body Glide, Ollie will steal toilet paper from the bathroom and shred it into tiny pieces if he hasn’t run in a few days.
Ollie has also cried so loud we could hear him from outside on the days we run without him. The only thing that quiets him is a bottle of Febreze, set outside his crate because he’s afraid of the Febreze bottle. We don’t spray him with it, obviously, but for some reason he does not like that bottle (and it’s only Febreze bottles, not spray bottles in general). When you live in an apartment and run before most people wake up, you need to calm your pet’s running FOMO!
I love fartlek runs as a fun variation on speedwork. The dogs love fartleks as a way to exercise their primal instincts. We see rabbits, weasels, squirrels, ducks, and even moles on our normal routes – and each time one crosses our path, whoever is leashed to the dog has to brace against a surge as either Charlie or Ollie pulls in pursuit of the poor woodland creature. We once attempted to let Ollie run alongside us on an uncrowded trail, but he was quickly leashed after he attempted to chase a squirrel up a tree.
But for each of these crazy moments, there’s that instant on a run when you look down and see a look of pure joy on a dog’s face on a run. They remind us that running is about more than finish times – it’s about the joy of movement, fresh air, and companionship. Even when Charlie stops for the fifth potty break on a run, I love running with our dogs.
What stories do you have from running with your dogs, or from your dogs in general?