How to Teach Your Dog to Run
The Event. Recently, our family adopted another dog and I was excited for a potential running buddy. I knew Jack would need a little training and guidance, but this guy was made to be a running companion. In the beginning, we took him out for walks around the neighborhood, so he could get comfortable with his new surroundings and family. We soon found out that he loved other dogs, cats, cars, bikes, anything with wheels and a loud noise. He would go nuts anytime we encountered anything moving!
Have a Plan. It was time to hit the pavement. I was prepared with poop bags in my pocket and a firm grip on his leash. I knew I wouldn’t achieve any personal records and there would be frequent sniffing and pee stops — for him. I was ready to teach him to be calm and stay on track around his overstimulating environment.
The Test. The first mile was an unexpected set of interval training — run at a fast pace for a short amount of time followed by recovery period in-between to lower your heart rate before you run another set. However, this wasn’t what I intended. The roller coaster of fast bursts and sudden stops to sniff or pee kept me on high alert to avoid tumbling over or being dragged by a 70-pound dog.
Finally, he calmed down and we were in a good rhythm at a steady pace. I was feeling pretty good about the situation and my mind started to relax a bit and wonder in my thoughts for the day ahead.
The Unexpected. The last leg of my route was on the sidewalk of a busy street. I gripped the leash tight to ensure he wouldn’t jump after a car whizzing by us. He was doing great and it seemed as if I broke him of his sudden outbursts. I was wrong. A big truck drove by us and like a flash my dog tried to jump into the street after it. I pulled him back so fast that he whipped around me and I fell over him leaving us both lying on the sidewalk. He was scared and I was pretty scraped up and defeated. The only thing I could do was pick myself up and hobble home.
Regroup. I didn’t give up. The next time I took my dog for a run, I modified my route and avoided the busy street. Once again things were going well until my dog spotted a walker with a couple of small dogs on the other side of the street. I immediately stopped and held him close to my side instructing him to sit while we waited for them to get out of eyesight. Then, I was stung by a wasp.
The Moral of the Story. A well thought out plan may not shield us from an unprecedented event. However, it will cushion the fall of the unexpected.
Michele Sarna is a financial advisor at Beacon Pointe Advisors and can be reached at (760) 932.0930 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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