March 19, 2015

Running with Joey

I've spent the past couple of days getting back to the norm. I was excited that Jerry didn't have to work, so we could spend some time together. We didn't do anything super interesting, but it was good to spend time with him after being gone for five days.

While I was gone, the snow melted! I was really happy that it's gone, and I hope it's gone for the season. The mud for the next few weeks won't be fun, but I'm glad that the roads are clear. Now that the roads aren't full of ice, I can run outside. Yesterday, it was pretty nice outside (mid-30's), so I decided to try taking Joey for a run with me. I've been reading everything I can about running with dogs, but I was still nervous to give it a try.

I had four miles on the schedule, but was prepared to shorten it if needed (if Joey got too tired or it just wasn't working out well). Labs are apparently one of the best breeds for running, so I hoped he would handle it okay. I took him to the State Park, so that we wouldn't have to deal with car traffic, and I put his no-pull harness on him.

We started running the bike path, and at first, he seemed a little confused. He looked back at me a few times, and was crisscrossing in front of me, but after a quarter mile or so, he did awesome. He didn't stay right at my side, but we can work on that later. Instead, he stayed ahead of me--but not too far--and the leash had a fair amount of slack.

He really seemed to love running! It was much easier to keep him from pulling on the leash than when we walk, and he didn't get distracted nearly as easily as when we walk. I stopped each mile to let him sniff around for a minute and go pee. I had been thinking we'd have to cut the run short and do the 5K loop, but he was doing so well that we went for the full four miles.

We saw another black lab on the trail, who was off leash, and I was really impressed with the fact that she heeled when Joey and I ran past. She looked like she wanted to run, but she stayed put next to her owner. The only time Joey really got excited and out of the "running zone" was when we saw a couple of squirrels and when we passed a man who was walking the trail. It took a second to get him back in the zone, but it wasn't too difficult at all. I was really impressed with how well he did on his first run!

Not exactly consistent splits, but maybe we'll get there ;)

Speaking of Joey, we noticed that he's been shedding like crazy for the past couple of weeks. I don't know if dogs have a "winter coat" that sheds when the weather turns, but it was getting a bit crazy. I bought a "Furminator" to try on him, and I was stunned at how much fur came off. I brushed him for a good 20 minutes, and his fur seemed so much thinner when I was done.

Phoebe was totally fascinated every time I "ejected" some of the hair from the comb, which is why she's sitting next to it. It doesn't even look like that much fur in the photo--it was a huge pile! I had tried the Furminator on Paolo a couple of times, but it didn't work very well (he was so old that his skin was very thin, making it difficult). It was so much easier to use on Joey, and I couldn't believe how well it worked.

Last night, my brothers and sister-in-law, Becky, came over. Brian and Becky were in town just for the night to look at some properties for sale, so they came over to visit; and Nathan was off work, so he came over, too. It was a fun impromptu get-together!

During the night, Eli came in and woke up Jerry and me to say that he wasn't feeling good. He was coughing quite a bit all night, so I kept him home from school today. I'm surprised he's sick again! He just got over being sick last month. It seems almost inevitable that I get sick whenever Eli does, too... I really hope not!

Anyway, as I mentioned yesterday, I didn't gain any weight in Portland! It's not unusual for me to go away and gain 5-10 pounds, so I was really happy to see that I hadn't gained anything. I was just careful not to eat too much, and I didn't do any snacking (I ate a small breakfast, and then lunch and dinner were restaurants). I really liked not snacking (I felt better that way), so I am going to try and continue with that at home. I'll just eat larger meals so I don't get hungry in between. I am going to be counting Points, though. I went to bed yesterday feeling empty, but not starving. My goal right now is to just consistently count my Points for a few weeks in a row--if I can do that, then I know I can do it long term. It's the first few weeks that's the hard part!


  1. My husband takes our Rottweiler running - I think she does better with him than walking with me, but it is nice to have a companion. I was surprised how much she sheds...I feel like I am vacuuming up a whole other puppy...maybe I should try the Furminator :)

  2. My chocolate lab, Jengo has been my running partner for the last several years. Unfortunately, she's a senior now so we have to settle for just a walk or a much shorter run than we used to. She's trained for my last few half marathons with me but I think our move to humid Florida was a little rough on her. I now limit her to 3 miles but she's just awesome as a running partner. I do want to caution you on doing too much too soon with Joey. Dogs are like people and need to build up distance and time, even if he can play ball for hours. With Jengo we did C25k together.

  3. Just be careful of Joey's pads and toes. I did a lot of walking with Molly when I was out with my knee injury and the asphalt/gravel is really abrasive so she developed a sore. And give them a swipe with a damp cloth to wash off any salt that is still all over. My dog sheds all yr long and the last couple of weeks after sweeping I'm amazed she has ANY fur left!

  4. Snacking healthy is such a better way to eat than just 3 larger meals a day. Your metabolism burns more when you are feeding it more consistently ( every 3-4 hours). Don't give up the snacks, just keep them healthy and on the smaller side.

  5. That's great that Joey did so good! The Furminator is AMAZING. We use it on our beagle/terrier mix and it really does the job. Dogs do shed more due to the change of seasons, so it's not unusual for that to happen. In the fall, you'll notice he'll have more fur than normal too.

    So glad you got the break you deserved in Portland!

  6. Sounds like you've got a new running companion! Joey is just great in every way, isn't he??? I can't believe he did 4 miles the first time out. What a champ!

  7. I can't wait to run with a dog. We are thinking about getting one this summer but we work a lot so I'm still nervous about not being around enough to care for a dog.

  8. Joey sounds like a great dog. You will be surprised at how much hair he will shed. After our daughter and her black lab are here for a weekend, there is hair everywhere. Keep up the good work. Happy running.

  9. we used to have a chocolate lab and you have never seen so much hair in your life. about this time of the year they start shedding that winter coat and you could absolutely pull it out by the handfuls.

  10. Lise in IndyMarch 20, 2015

    So glad Joey likes to run with you. Maybe he'll be a deterrent to the other dogs. When they mega-shed twice a year, they call it "blowing coat" for a reason! :) If you put the fluff out for the birds, they might use it to build nests. True story: some friends had double-coated sled dogs who spent a lot of time in the backyard. The birds started eyeing up all that fluffy fur, and actually dive-bombed the dogs' butts, and plucking out fur. Poor babies! But what a riot.

  11. Those piles of shedded dog hair are also a great deterrent to deer, if you want to keep them out of an area. Put a big handful here and there and the dog scent will help keep them away.

  12. When I run with my dog (a collie / lab mix ), to prevent the criss crossing, I've trained a command, "switch" , which his him switching sides, but behind me. If he ever switches in front, I tell him no, then have him "switch" back to the original side. I always have him switch to be on the opposite side of anyone we pass.

    Also, I use sled dog terms, haw for left and gee for right. They are easy to get out comprehendibly when a bit out of breath, and quite useful for sidewalks and roads (less useful for state parks with fewer forks.


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