3 lessons I’ve learned while running with Penny, my puppy.
1. Use your glasses if you need them and take off your headphones if you can’t hear well
I love running to a good playlist but unfortunately I’ve learned the hard way that I’m a bit hard at hearing (I’m also blind but that is not news to me, the hearing bit is more recent). It’s not a big deal most of the time, but my deficiencies got me into a bit of a dilemma when I first started running with Penny.
A lovely neighbor was walking her two Golden Retrievers both of which became quite excited at the sound of us approaching. I didn’t notice them, as I wasn’t wearing my glasses, until it was a bit too late. Penny noticed them a lot sooner than I as she took our pace from a steady run to an abrupt sprint. At first I thought she was excited at the sight of a cat—she has always been fascinated by them. (Her curiosity concerned me at first but now I know it’s nothing to be fearful of as she’s befriended my soon to be mother-in-law’s cat.) As it happened the two large puppies became overly excited, managed to free themselves from their owners grip and hurdled towards us at an incredible pace. Not knowing their gentile demeanor, I picked Penny up and started running as fast as I could—wrong move. They caught up to us quite quickly and started sniffing and licking. It was both terrifying and comical. Their owner eventually caught up to us, she’d actually fallen given their strong pull, and explained what happened. I was mortified. She said she was surprised that I continued at the same pace given that her dogs became increasingly excited as we approached.
Lesson learned—don’t go on runs without glasses or with headphones on.
2. Invest in an accommodating leash
I was going to say, invest in a good leash but I feared that that would suggest that I’m steering you towards an expensive leash, but that isn’t necessarily a requirement.
I have purchased more leashes for Penny than I care to admit—mainly because I’m forgetful and leave them everywhere. With this in mind I can tell you I've made a few mistakes and hopefully help you not make the same ones. Here are my few, probably obvious, tips when choosing your harness:
a. Make sure it fits!
Don’t trust the “S”, “M”, “L” measurements. These vary from company to company. It not only applies to dog leashes but to their sweaters and such.
Here are a few resources to help you with this step:
b. A steady back strap is ideal
I purchased this harness from Target which at first looked really great! It looked comfortable and it was quite affordably priced. When I got home, I immediately took Penny for a walk to try it out and noticed a fault right away—the back strap swayed from side to side quite a lot. While on a walk it’s not always a problem, but when we go for runs it is. I find myself pulling her a lot more given that we often switch sides on the sidewalk. It made me feel awful hence we went back to the leash we’d received when we adopted her, at least just for our runs.
3. Be prepared
Ever had to respond to unexpected #2’s when you weren’t prepared? I have, quite a few times. Now I pack doggie bags in every hand bag and coat (#NoShame). Even if you think you’ll only need one doggie bag, carry around 2 or more—especially when you’re out and about for long stretches of time.
Have any tips of your own for running with your puppy?