Getting comfortable outside my comfort zone
To Run or Not to Run?
I used to be an avid runner. In fact, it's how I met Caesar - when I volunteered at the shelter I specifically looked for dogs I could take running along the Embarcadero.
So when we brought him home I naturally took him running all the time and at first he loved it. It was also a great way to reinforce leash walking and I believe, really helped established a bond between us, particularly in the beginning. But then after a while he got bored of it. In fact, it got to the point where we'd start jogging and then after about a quarter of a mile he would just hang back and refuse to budge unless we turned around.
I'm sure pounding the pavement also didn't feel that great.
Even when we're just walking around the city, especially during the summer.
Always keep a backup
I actually keep this in my trunk so that I can apply it right before any strenuous activity. The stick application is also convenient and less messy.
Once we started hiking and I saw all the different types of trails I decided to try trail running. Now, if I do take Caesar running I actually prefer it. One, it's gentler for both of us. Two, it's a lot more scenic and it gives more variety since you can pretty much use any trail for trail running. There's a couple spots we usually go:
Leash only. 3 mile loop. You can create a longer route but 3 miles seems to be my max for trail running. These are single lane tracks, though, so take it nice and slow.
Our favorite in SF. 3 mile in/out. Technically this is a leashed trail but it doesn't seem to ever be enforced and people don't seem to mind all the pups running around. My recommendation is if your pup has good recall and doesn't need to meet every other dog up close and personal, then it's fine. You don't want to make other dog owners uncomfortable if they're keeping their pup leashed for a reason.
And in case anyone is wondering...
Variation of Bikejoring
I ❤️ Instagram. If it wasn't for IG it probably wouldn't have even occurred to me to try anything except running. One day as I was scrolling through my feed I came across a video of someone riding his bike with his dog running along side him while he was just loosely holding onto the leash - how cool is that?!
Next thing I know I'm reading all about joring, which refers to any type of activity where the dog pulls you; bikejoring is when the dog pulls you on your bicycle, skijoring is when they pull you on your skis, etc.
Now, I'm not a bicyclist AT ALL. I like my butt on the seat and both hands on the handlebars, so naturally I made my husband try it first. We quickly realized that Caesar will not pull. He doesn't like walking/running in front of anything with wheels; I think he's scared of things running into him.
During my husband's experiment Caesar naturally ran next to the bike but would pull to the side to try to keep a safe distance. Caesar also tends to dive for food, so all the abrupt side-pulling made for an interesting ride. At least it was entertaining to watch, which of course meant I posted it to Caesar's IG account, and low and behold, a follower recommended the WalkyDog Plus, which you can buy here or on Amazon.
TOTAL GAME CHANGER!!!
Now when I don't feel like running or hiking but still itch to get out of the city and be outside, I know I can just bring my bike and hook Caesar up for a casual ride.
The whole set up took about 10 minutes and is SUPER easy to use. Depending on your dog's height you can customize it by adjusting how many springs you load into the rod. I use 2 for Caesar (so there's an extra one in the box). I was definitely skeptical about the rod making that much of a difference but WOW! It's actually super easy to control the bike. And the quick-lock/release system is really secure.
Now, the one complaint I do have, and this might be more user error than anything else, is as Caesar gets tired and hangs back, it does make the rod slide backwards. It's possible I need to tighten the screws a bit. It's not a terrible inconvenience though, because if I keep the rod perfectly 90 degrees I can feel it on the back of my thigh when I pedal. So, very minor.
So where do we go biking? Our favorite is actually on the Bay Trail in San Mateo. What's nice is since the dog park is nearby Caesar can burn off some initial excess energy. My goal is to get him exhausted =P
Get the right harness
This is key. We regularly use a harness when we walk Caesar that has a front D-ring, which definitely does not work when biking. Since I've only just started on this adventure and am getting Caesar (and his paws) used to it (we don't ride for more than 45 min at a time) I can make do right now just by rotating the harness around so that the clip is on the back, but I did invest in custom ordering an Alpine Outfitters Urban Trail Adjustable Harness. Plus, I figured who knows, maybe I'll see another IG post that will inspire me to try something else.
Getting uncomfortable never felt so good.
👣 The fur-mom