I told you the story of my dog ? Not the first dog, that joined me trough my Odyssey but the second dog that we adopted in Mozambique, called the Mozambican dog ! So it is running with your dog, from my perspective.
My dog is a reactive dog. Last year, the first behaviourist that saw him advised us to put him to sleep. We had on our hands a dog fearful aggressive, reacting to everything. Could not meet people, could not meet dogs, could not meet anything on the street as it was a nightmare. We worked for almost one year now with another behaviourist and she help us a lot in understanding him, caring for his needs and correcting some of his behaviours !
Now, while we corrected his fear of humans as much as we could, he is very reactive still, to other dogs. We work to correct this one also, but I see it is going to be a long road. So how do I run with him ?
You would say that should not be that difficult to run with your dog …especially in Norway where you have so much forest ! To tell you the truth I am still to find the forest where I can walk my dog. Norwegians love their forest and spend quite a good amount of time in it. They also take their dogs ! So … I can´t do forest with Thor. In the forest the trail does not give visibility. I can´t see in advance and we can end up nose to nose with another dog. Also, although big part of the year is prohibited to have off leash dogs, some people pretend they don´t know.
You would also say that if I can control my dog even when he goes berserk I should be fine … We met some 3 weeks ago, during our normal walk, two 14-15 years old girls walking 2 huge german shepherds. One of them transformed itself in a devil when saw Thor ( the german shepherd I mean). Luckily we were far away, as I am afraid that the girl would have not been able to control her dog if we were closer. 15 minutes from the incident we saw the same girl, now having both of the dogs, passing some 50 m from us. Imagine running into that …
You would also say … just run early in the morning, nobody does that. Wrong again. What do you do if all the people with reactive dogs are doing the same? I started walking my dog early in the morning … 5:30 early and so I discovered that in our neighbourhood there is a reactive german shepherd that takes his walk around the same hour. So, sometimes, early in the morning is not a good plan.
So this is what I need to do :
– I need to know the route in advance . As I can´t run him all the time, I can´t go for very long runs and 5 to 10 km will do him good. Exceptional runs longer happens when we go to Halden and we can run with Glenn and his dog !
– I need to check the route previously and see when is the time in day that is most probable to meet other dogs and avoid that time.
– I run with the dog in areas where I have space to manoeuvre. Where we can avoid at any time a dog and we do not have to pass on the same sidewalk, which in certain situations would be disastrous.
– Under our behaviorist advice, we are trying to create a routine that will allow us to get Thor´s attention when we need. So we have a certain sound we make, and we use the click & treat to reward him for being calm. This is work in progress, and sometimes works sometimes does not, but it got us to be able to pass as close as 5 m from another dog, a male pudel.
This are my 4 golden rules in running with Thor. If you have others please share as I am always interested !
As you see I have other concerns than just the classic : my dog pulls on the run ! Although we also had that. Thor was pulling on the leash like a maniac. And being 25 kg you would say that he is not that big. Indeed he is not , but if pulls and I am not paying attention he can take me down, and I am 90 kg. He is a curious mix as I said, being very very very strong. The Rhodesian ridgeback, combined with shorter legs from dachshund and a big chest from the boerbol makes him a pulling machine ! What have we done ? As it was not only when running, but permanent, we had to correct it. So there is, our secret : Turid Rugaas ! Famous Norwegian trainer of trainers 🙂 ! Although we haven´t worked with her, we used her book ” What do I do …When my dog pulls ? ” and it worked like a charm.
So, if you have any tips I would be happy to hear. I am not an experienced dog owner, Thor being my first dog ! Well second if we count Lucky that died 2 weeks after we adopted her. Saying that I invite you to share your thoughts on running with dogs. Also, if you do not run with your dog, what is your take on other runners that run with their dogs ?
Have a good run !