Yesterday, though, I wasn't very happy with her. I've been taking her on a few short runs (3-4 miles) on the nearby bike trails and I've noticed that if she has the choice between pavement and dirt, she always chooses pavement. So when we pulled up at the trailhead yesterday she was enthusiastically sniffing coyote poop, but as soon as I started to run she lagged behind. We were going to do a 6.5 mile loop that has one big climb but has become relatively easy for me. It should have taken me no more than an hour and fifteen minutes but with her it took an extra half hour.
I'm not sure why she hated it so much. She dragged as much in the first mile as she did in the last mile so it wasn't that she tired out. When I would walk and let her catch up she would energetically take the lead but as soon as she heard me running, she would slow down and eventually I would have to pull her. I experimented with dog booties on and off with no change in performance. I gave her water and treats but nothing gave her any more pep.
You can imagine my disappointment as the dog I love so much seems to hate the activity that I love so much. All week at work fellow cattle dog owners were telling me fantastical stories about how many miles their dog could run. One former elite marathoner told me her dog would run 20 miles with her. Another told me that she would take her dog for a run, hand it off to a friend to run with, who would hand it off to another friend so that they would all feel protected from mountain lions while on the trails.
I'm hoping she gets better and for now I'll dismiss it as post-traumatic stress from her previous days ordeals. I took her to a nearby field to play ball and on the way we met a guy and a kid with two dogs. One was the same breed as her but slightly larger and much more aggressive. I wanted her to socialize with others dogs better and so I let her check them out. Everything was going well until suddenly the dog bit her face. They followed us to the field and the owner assured me everything would be fine if they all played together. I did not believe him. I took her to a nearby tennis court and, though she acted fine, I checked her feet after 10 minutes of pavement pounding. Bloody toenails. Shelter must have trimmed them too short.
I really hope she learns to love trail running. After all, if I took a sedentary middle-aged person on the loop we did yesterday, they wouldn't have liked it very much either.
She doesn't like the socks much but they keep her from constantly licking her paws.