Running with Pets

12 Mar

I really should title this post “Running with Dogs” as I don’t believe there exists another domesticated animal that takes well to being leashed up and dragged on a run. But got to make sure I’m inclusive and all that jazz.

I have two incredibly adorable, but insanely high energy pups.

Ella is 3 years old and a pointer/hound mix (this dog simply doesn’t know what tired is). While she’s calmed down slightly since adopting her, she could probably run 10 miles and still want to play a rousing game of tug-of-war. When we start a run, Ella’s mindset is “RUN!! Must run as fast as I possible can. Now! RUN FAST!” I would say she’s a sprinter, but she never tires no matter how long we run for. She’s a very unique combination of sprinter + long-distance runner.


Roscoe is a 2 year old Beagle/Collie/possibly Lab/possibly Dachshund mix. He’s a bit smaller than Ella, and while he enjoys a good run he’d rather cuddle on the couch. Where Ella is out of the gate, guns blazing, Roscoe is content to just trot along, checking out the scenery, checking on momma to make sure she just saw that fascinating squirrel that ran by. He will sprint when a cat or other interesting creature appears, but otherwise his running is more akin to a Sunday drive, as opposed to Ella’s Usain Bolt approach.


To say the least they’re interesting to run with. They both are also currently going through a phase where the have to bark at EVERY dog we pass. So that’s fun. But here a few tips and tricks I employ to make running with our pups a little less stressful.

1) Don’t run with a retractable leash. I know some people love to run with their dog using a retractable leash. I’ve found that our dogs are too unpredictable when we’re on runs (SQUIRREL! CAT! SMALL CHILDREN! TREE!) and it’s much, much easier for them to wrench a retractable leash out of my hand than it is to wrench a leash I’ve wrapped around my wrist. I use a Y-leash when running with the pups as it’s easier for me to handle than two separate leashes.

2) Do not give them too much leeway. The first time I took Ella on a run, I nearly killed her. We were running past a local gas station on a busy road, about to make a turn on a trail. The gas station had a few advertising flags out and as we went past Ella completely freaked as the flag flipped around in the wind. She half-back flipped around and was out in the street before I even realized the longer leash I had her on had run through my hands. Now, I keep them on very short leashes and avoid major roads whenever possible.

3) Not all dogs are made the same. Some dogs take to running quite quickly, others were just not born to run. Growing up we had 180-lb St. Bernard who were lucky to get to walk (if a 180 lb dog doesn’t want to do something, he is NOT going to do it). But Ella, at a lean 53-lbs of pure muscle would be happy to run around like a nut all day every day. Roscoe falls somewhere in between. He likes a good run, but then it’s nap-time. Get to know your dog and your dog’s capabilities. Don’t force a non-running dog to run and don’t keep a dog that loves to run caged up. Otherwise, you’ll end up down a few pairs of shoes. I speak from experience, people.

4) Keep an eye on the weather. Be careful of running with your furry, four-legged pal when the weather is tending to extremes. Our very first dog, a Boxer who was an absolute sweetheart died of heatstroke at 6 while out for a walk one summer day. Extreme cold can also be dangerous. Some dogs are better built to handle extreme cold (our St. Bernard for one), but Ella and Roscoe are lean pups with short-hair, not designed to withstand extreme cold for long periods of time.

5) Bring treats. This will save your ass if your dog manages to escape your grasp. Roscoe usually listens if you scream loudly to stop, but Ella just continues on her merry way. The only way she be lured back is with the promise of food. It can also be a good training mechanism if you’re working on teaching them to heel.

Any tips or tricks for running with dogs? Any one have a cat, or a rabbit, or a lizard that likes to run? Everyone knows cats, rabbits and lizards make the best runners.


2 Responses to “Running with Pets”

  1. Alison Burtt | Pies and Puggles March 14, 2013 at 12:19 pm #

    Hi! Thanks for stopping by my blog! Nice to meet another local thrifter.

    I have a puggle that I sometimes take running with me. He’s more of a sprint, stop, sniff, sprint kind of dog, which is pretty irritating when you want a steady jog. So mostly we opt for long walks together instead. Hope to see you around again some time!

    • feetoffancy March 20, 2013 at 12:37 pm #

      I was so thrilled to come across another local thrifter! Always nice to know I’m not alone in my love of second-hand stores 🙂

      Your pup is too cute! How old is he? I totally feel your frustration on the sprint, stop, sniff, sprint thing. That is Ella to a T. Roscoe can hold a steady pace, but Ella has vibrant independent streak. Huh, I wonder where she gets it from…

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