Tag Archives: running with a weimaraner

Running with Dogs – Hints and Things I’ve Learned

One of my favorite things in life is running with my weimaraners. I’ve been lucky enough to have three amazing pups who all liked to go for runs. Tobey-boy has loved running from Day 1. Something as simple as moving my running shoes gets him excited. Lili was a bit reluctant to run at first but eventually came around. Her favorite runs were when we would run to a remote location she and could run and play off leash with Tobey-boy. Baby Leo is still a work in progress. He likes running, but hates the gentle leader and isn’t as great on a leash as the others.

IMG_1996Mark & Tobey at the CHA Dog Jog

Anyway….Below are some things I’ve learned and some things to watch out for. If you have any others tips or hints that you think would be helpful, please drop a note in the comments.

  1. Not all dogs can/want to run – This probably goes without saying, but it’s worth pointing out. Not all dogs are built to run. Weims are a special sporting breed of dog with a seemingly endless supply of energy. A lot of dogs aren’t made for running or especially for running long distances. No one knows the dog’s temperament better than the owner. If the dog has a lot of energy, then running might be right.
  2. Start out with short distances – This is the same rule as for people. When you start training for a marathon, your first run isn’t going to be 26.2 miles. This is the same for dogs. They need to be eased into running longer distances just like humans. When I started running with Baby Leo, our first run was ½ a mile around the block. This was to get him familiar with running on a leash and also to make sure he doesn’t overdo it and hurt himself. Now that we’ve been running for almost a year, he’s up in the 7-8 mile range. My longest run with Tobey was in the 10 mile range but we started small and built up to that range. Also, if your pup is a bit overweight, that should also be taken into consideration.
  3. Find the right leash/harness – Having control over your dog is critical when running. There are so many more distractions than playing in the yard or even walking on leash (because the distractions come much faster). I can’t count the number of times that Tobey has been fixated on another dog or a bird… or come to think of it… anything that moves. I use a choke collar with him (and sometimes a gentle choke). This allows me to pull him back quickly if he lunges for anything or is in danger. Lili and Baby Leo used gentle leaders. Both of them would throw fits to get it off, but again, it served a purpose. I’ve also incorporated a harness with Baby Leo. This is as much for my health as with the dogs as it only takes one awkward step to pull a muscle and put both of us on the shelf for weeks or even months.
  4. Check the pavement – When running in summer, always always always check the pavement temperature. There are a few ways I do this… the most obvious way is to put your hand or bare feet on the ground and feel how hot it is. If you can’t handle the heat by leaving your hand/feet on the ground without moving, then it’s too hot for your dog. Another way to read the dog. If they keep lifting up paws and moving locations to avoid the heat on their paws, then it’s best to call the run.
  5. Listen to the dog – Always be aware of the dog and what they’re trying to tell you. I can recall one particular run where Lili started to fall behind a little bit, which was not normal for her. I thought maybe she may have been distracted so I kept running. After another minute or two, I realized something was wrong. Sure enough, she had a cut on her paw. Her slowing down was letting me know something was wrong.

    Another example is as Tobey has aged (he’s 11 ½), he simply can’t go as fast or far as he could in his prime. He lets me know when I’m going too fast or far by slowing down. When he does this, I know I need to slow down too or risk hurting him.

  6. Don’t overdo the ice and water afterwards – My biggest fear with the weimaraners is bloat. This is where the accumulation of gas sometimes causes the stomach to rotate or twist on its axis; this is referred to as torsion or volvulus and can be fatal. After a run, I try to limit the water and I don’t give the pups ice. Like humans, they definitely need to re-hydrate, but they need to do it in a safe manner by not allowing them to consuming a large amount of water at one time. For more information, Snopes addressed the topic here.
  7. Don’t feed immediately before or afterwards – Like the old adage of having to wait 30-60 minutes after a meal to go swimming, dogs are the same way. If you feed immediately or afterwards, you’ll probably make your dog sick at minimum and could be considerably worse. I make sure the boys are back to breathing and behaving normally before feeding. Depending on the run, this could be up to an hour afterwards.
  8. Rest is key – Like humans, dogs need time to recover. Depending on how active and where your dog is in age will dictate how much rest is needed. With Tobey (age 11 ½), we never run two days in a row. With Baby Leo, he can run forever so he doesn’t need or get as much rest between runs.
  9. Supplements may help – I’ve found that giving Tobey a cosequin twice daily has helped with his joint health. Sometimes I would notice him limping the day after a run. Giving the cosequin has definitely helped. It may not work with every dog, but if you notice any stiffness or limping, there may be options to help the dog out. The recommendation is always to error on the side of caution when you notice any of the signs.
  10. Have Fun – This is what it’s all about. I absolutely love running with my dogs to the point where I don’t enjoy running solo as much. One of my favorite events each year is the CHA Dog Jog, which is a 5k to raise money for one of the local shelters in Columbus, OH. If you would like to donate to my run this year, please donate here!

    Anyway, I can’t think of a better way to spend some quality time with your dogs than sharing a hobby such as running and by following these guidelines, I’ve been able to keep my dogs happy and healthy. Hopefully they’ll inspire you to as well!

As an added bonus, here are some pictures of me running with the pups.

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Tobey and I at our first CHA Dog Jog in 2008

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Lili and I at the Friends of the Shelter 5k

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Tobey and I at the Defend Your Friend 5k (I think)

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Tobey and I at the Defend Your Friend 5k… I think Tobey was the first dog to finish

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Tobey and I finishing up at one of the CHA Dog Jog’s

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CHA Dog Jog 5k with the Scioto River in the background

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CHA Dog Jog. I know for a fact Tobey won this race. Still one of the great running highlights of my life.

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Me and Lili-Girl at one of the CHA Dog Jog’s

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Me and Baby Leo after his second 5k

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2014 Dog Jog and Why It Matters to Me

Before the post begins (or after you read it), if you would like to donate to my 2014 CHA Fundraising, please click this link.

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My first Citizens for Humane Action Dog Jog was in August 2008. It’s something I’ll never forget. The day before the race, my divorce became final, then, in a horrible twist of fate…. my grandfather passed away a few hours later. It was, without question, one of the worst days of my life.

I had signed up for the Dog Jog a few weeks prior because I wanted something to look forward to and thought this would be a good distraction.

When I arrived at the race, I found my good friend, Billy. It was great to have some support at the race. You can see from the picture how young and thin I was.

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Tobey was so happy that day. And I felt great helping homeless animals. It was exactly what I needed. We ran 5k in 23 minutes and 34 seconds (7:30 average).

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I’ve kept the Dog Jog on my  Calendar ever since. I even showed up with a severely sprained ankle one year. I didn’t run, but I was there. I’ve raised more than $3,400 since my first race.

I started bringing my Lillian and the woman who would become my wife. The event morphed into something I looked forward to every year. Something I could do to give back to the animals that can’t help themselves and something I could do with my best friend Tobey.

This year, Tobey is turning 9. It’s something that I’m having a hard time with. He’s started to slow down physically, which breaks my heart. It takes him longer to recover from runs, and he can’t go as fast as he could before. That’s why this year’s Dog Jog is so important to me.

There is a real chance this could be the last formal run we do together. We likely won’t beat our personal record (22:35 in 2009), but we will remain committed to the cause.

We’re going to show up and we’re going to have an amazing time helping other dogs. In the end, that’s what the CHA Dog Jog is all about.

I personally can’t wait.

If you’d like to contribute to my cause, you can do so here…. if you’d like to leave a note, please use the comment box below.

The Great Skunking of 2014

Since the weather has been warming up lately, I’ve started running again with the Superfriends. I started in February with a modest 6 runs for close to 13 miles. Once the snow melted in March, I’ve been able to kick it up a notch and have 13 runs under my belt for nearly 36 miles. My 2014 log is below.

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If I run outside, I always take at least one of the Pups. This year, I’ve been taking both of them. If they’re being good, I’ll let them run around off leash. It’s usually harmless as they sniff everything and have a great time running around. This leads to today’s run when I let them off leash and they encountered a skunk.

I had them running next to me because we were coming around a bend and I didn’t know what was ahead. Once the coast was clear from people and dogs, I told them to run ahead. They both took off at full speed up a hill. I couldn’t see what was going on but I could hear intense barking and I could see fur flying in the air. I immediately started sprinting to see what was going on. When I got within sight, Lillian was rolling on her back on the ground and Tobey was attacking a skunk.

I immediately started calling them back to me to get them away from the skunk. Lillian came first and I could smell that she had gotten sprayed. Tobey really wanted to avenge his sister so he was still attacking the skunk and refused to leave. Once I got his attention, I called him back and immediately got him on the leash and headed for home at an increased pace to assess the damage.

Miraculously, Lil was the only one hit. I was a slight casualty from her rubbing up against me trying to get the smell off her but Tobey had managed not to get hit. My first thought was “What’s the best way to get rid of skunk spray?”

Thankfully, I starred an article from Lifehacker in my RSS feed. As it turns out, the only things needed are Baking Soda, Hydrogen Peroxide, and Soap. The ratio is:

  • One large bottle of hydrogen peroxide
  • One quarter cup of baking soda
  • Two teaspoons of liquid soap

Of course, I had none of these things on hand so I tied the dogs to the front door and rushed to CVS to buy the supplies. I mixed everything up and did a quick assessment of the situation. As I mentioned, Tobey avoided getting sprayed. He kept licking his chops so I think he managed to get a few good bites in. Since he didn’t stink, I got him inside and started using the solution on Lils. After several minutes, the smell was still in the air, but Lillian was ok. I washed her off and got her in the house.

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Since the house had a smell, my next move was to rush to the grocery store to get some vinegar to boil to neutralize the inside smell. I got back, I put it on the stove to boil and proceeded to give the pups real baths.

In the end, the house still has a slight smell. I can’t tell if it’s from the vinegar or the skunk… but more importantly, the pups don’t smell and the formula worked like a champ.

If your dog ever gets skunked, I highly recommend the formula above and the below video.

If you have any thoughts on Lil getting skunked or any other tips or tricks, please drop a comment in the box below.

Profile of a Crying Weimaraner

Let me start by saying that I love running with my weimaraners. I love the company and the pure excitement for running.  I would go as far as saying that running is one of Tobey’s favorite things in life (Lillian’s is eating). It’s gotten to the point where it’s almost unbearable for me running alone. One of my events I look forward to each year is the CHA Dog Jog in August. Since 2009, Tobey and I have raised close to $3300 for homeless animals in and near Columbus (although… to be fair, Tobey hasn’t done much fundraising).

Anyway, I usually try to take both pups when I run. Lillian (our Blue Weimaraner) runs on the left and Tobey (our Gray Weimaraner) runs on the right. This adds a level of complexity because I don’t have full use of my arms because I’m holding the leashes. If I’m going for a long run or if I’m tired, my preference is to roll with only Tobey and leave Lillian behind.  This is what happened the other day. Thankfully my wife recorded Lillian’s reaction to us leaving her behind.

If you want to drop a note about how sad Lillian sounds or how cruel I was for leaving her, please use the comment box below.

Running Calorie Milestone

Tonight I had one of my most lackadaisical runs in a very long time. I kept telling myself that I would be unstoppable if I could only get started. This got me the motivation to get started but it didn’t help on the actual run. In the end, I took the 1 mile route out and then cut it short on the way back for a total of 1.58 miles with both Pups.

While the run was a let down, when I entered the data into my running spreadsheet, I crossed 300,000 calories burned. This equates to over 85 pounds directly lost (or not gained) as a result of running.

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I know that the calorie count from my Garmin watch isn’t 100% due to weight fluctuations and the like, I’m still proud of the achievement (Not to mention going over 2000 miles last month). Pictured below are the two best running partners ever.

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If you have any running achievements you’re proud of or want to drop a random comment, feel free to use the box below.