Tag Archives: Running

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.

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.

2013 CHA Dog Jog

Tobey and I participated in the 23rd annual, 2013 CHA Dog Jog today at Genoa Park in downtown Columbus, OH. The weather was absolutely perfect and we finished the 5k in 23 minutes and 23 seconds. This put us on a 7:45 average mile. The big news is that Tobey finished third and received a gift basket full of treats at the finish! This is the 5th time we’ve run in this race (I was injured one year so I couldn’t participate). The first time was the day after my grandfather’s passing in 2008 so this race has always been special for me. This years time was our 3rd best (13 seconds behind last years time of 23:10).

The last few years I’ve been fortunate enough to do a lot of fundraising for the event and have raised over $3200 in total. I wasn’t able to do that this year due to the wedding and honeymoon and whatnot, but it still felt great to help a great cause in Citizens for Humane Action (a local shelter in Columbus). We’re already looking forward to the 2014 race!

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If you have any thoughts on the dog jog, feel free to drop a note in the comments

My First Morning Run

I don’t want to kid myself. With my recent wedding and honeymoon… I haven’t made it a priority to run or exercise. In fact, I’d bet with all the eating and drinking at restaurants and the wonderful cooking by my wife, I’ve put on at least 5-10 pounds. Before I balloon up to 200 pounds, I figured I need to do something to stay in shape and I’d pick up running again (I’ve gone on exactly one run since June 21.) The problem with this is that I hate summer running because of the heat, which leaves my only options as night running or morning running.

In a perfect world, I’d get home, simmer down a little bit, then grab my weimaraner Tobey and go for a run in 60 degree weather. Unfortunately, the temperatures have been in the 90’s lately in Columbus. At this temperature, I don’t feel comfortable taking Tobey out because I don’t want him to burn his paws on the pavement and I don’t want him to suffer from heat exhaustion. Night running isn’t a great option because I like to see where I’m stepping. This leaves as the morning as the best time to run. I’ve never done morning running so this is a whole new experience for me.

Today was our first attempt at morning running. I woke up a little before 6am and it took me about 20-30 mins to rally to actually leave the house. The run was a good experience. We ended up running 2.7 miles at a decent pace. The splits are below:

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The lesson I realized is that not running in three weeks will take it’s toll. Going forward, the plan is to do a morning workout 3-4 times a week. We’ll see if it sticks…. otherwise, I may have a weight loss blog in the future.

Editors Note: This comic came out while I was writing this – http://theoatmeal.com/comics/running …. definitely worth checking out and makes me want to get back on the horse tomorrow

If you have any tips for early morning workouts, please feel free to drop a note in the comments.