Monday, November 19, 2012

This is not a dog blog

I'm going to try my very hardest to not let this blog be dominated by dog-heavy posts. Right now, though, our pup is a dominate force in our life and so I find myself constantly talking about her. Cory says I need to tone down the Mayla stories because people aren't that interested, but I find myself unable to think about much else. We've only had her for a week and she already feels like part of the family.

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.


  1. She might need to work up to your pace. Jason started Robin out with 30 minute runs and kept at that for a few months (he'd run out with her, drop her off at home, then finish his run without her). Now he does hour runs with her and she's pushing his pace most of the time. Just like a person, it takes them a while to get into shape and find their pace. Between running, hiking and dog park-ing, we give Robin two rest days a week, and that seems to be a good balance for her. She's also a large-breed puppy, though, so Mayla might need more or less off time.
    One time while hiking, I saw a man carrying a ball on his run. When his dog (a Weimaraner) would lag, he'd throw the ball ahead and the dog would perk up and retrieve it. Maybe that would help Mayla?
    P.S. I like her socks. :)

    1. Good advice, Hannah. I've been thinking about the ball idea, but I'm still a little nervous to let her off leash. Right now I keep her on a retractable leash while running so that if we encounter mountain bikers I can pull her out of the way in a hurry. I've just come to accept that she's an middle-aged girl and though she won't be able to keep up with me, she brings me joy in lots of other ways. You should move to Colorado so that I can borrow Robin:)