4-Paw Drive: Running with Sherpa

Who needs a Garmin when you have a four-legged running partner! Our lab Sherpa loves a good run-walk-job mix around our neighborhood streets, paths or trails.

Pros & cons of running with Sherpa:
+ her natural sense of pace
+ her company when I need it
+ her dog vision for night running
+ her scary growl/bark to protect me if I need it
- the poop bag
- her sense of smell
- holding the leash

I'm not sure if dogs' gaits are described like horses' gaits, but when I run with Sherpa, I consider her gaits & speed levels to include:

1-paw drive - the walk: a slow four-beat gait; pleasant, time for Sherpa to smell things and to explore as my legs warm up for my run-walk-jog.
2-paw drive - the trot: a two-beat gait; as I pick up my speed, she shifts into a slightly quicker pace but it's "no big deal" for her to stay ahead of me, she appears bored.
3-paw drive - the canter: a three-beat gait; as I top out my speed, she seems surprised & excited to run alongside of me.
4-paw drive - the gallop: a faster, four-beat gait; a rare mysterious speed that shocks us both.

Active.com Expert Gale Berhardt recently blogged about running wih her dog Meeka & shared tips for running in the heat. Running With Your Dog in the Summer: & see her cold-weather tips as well Cold Weather Running With Your Dog:. Also see Active's article: 10 Races to Do with Your Dog.
And find tips for handling scary dogs on the bike or foot in my earlier post "Chopper, sic 'em boy!" (includes a classic Stand By Me clip.)
Questions for you:
- If you have a dog, do you like to run with him/her? What speed/gait do you reach?
- What tips do you have for running with a dog?
- What bothers you most about other runners who bring their dogs along?


Lisa Slow-n-Steady said...

I tried running with my dog, but he's too big and too fast for me. Now he runs with my Husband (using a leash that connects to the waist with a little bungee cord for hands free running)

RunnerDude said...

My dogs too big, but in this case it's fat. Poor thing. Got across the street and sat down. Had to carry him back to the house. But man, when his sense of smell kicks in, shew! you can hardly hold him back (he's a beagle). I'm thinking maybe he's just not in to running for the exercise of it. LOL!

Karin & Brian said...

I LOVE running with our dog (beagle/shepherd mix) but mostly she loves running with us. She knows the difference b/t running shoes and regular shoes and gets fired up when we put our sneakers on. She hits all the gaits at some point during runs and she and I are just mastering running with the dog leash in one hand and the stroller in the other! I feel like I'm missing something when I don't run with Kasey.

ShirleyPerly said...

I used to love running with a dog I had many years ago. One thing I don't like about others who run with a dog, though, is if they can't control it when I go past, say, if it wants to lunge at me (often ankle biting small dogs) or go play with another dog they see just as I happen to go by. Of course, any dog that is loose and chases me while on my bike I do not like either.

Brianna said...

Sadly, my dog can't run with me anymore - he's nearly 9 and now we just enjoy family walks with the sweet ol' boy. He was fantastic for getting me to kick into full gear when he was in his prime, though - he'd point his nose forward and we'd GO!

Sara Cox Landolt said...

Lisa Slow-n-Steady: thanks for the leash tip!

RunnerDude: Poor little guy, beagles are so cute!

Karin: I can picture your dog standing by the door eyeing up your running shoes!

ShirleyPerly: Thanks for sharing on that question too, the ankle biters make my heart leap! And yes, we both have issues with the bike chasers...

Brianna, sounds like a sweet dog. Is he in your running book?

Thanks everyone!

swimslikeabus said...

I have a rescued Treeing Walker Hound (pronounced Coon Dog)who demands excercise. We run a mile or so every evening. He gets a penny whistle stuck in his nose and generally expresses displeasure and misbehaves if I don't run him. The 1st lap around the track he sniffs and pees frequently. Sudden stops are difficult. I hold his leash right handed so often the strain is on my left leg counterbalancing.

Good topic. I've been wondering about other folks experience with this.