No, not obedience training, though one could argue that Riley could stand to learn a few basic commands, like “wait”, “quiet” and “put down my shoe”. Alas, the training I am referring to is physical training. Running, to be exact.
The Oregon Humane Society held their annual Doggie Dash over the weekend and it got me thinking about how I really need to get Riley to exercise more rigorously. He loves to go on walks and be outside, but he hates running. I also hate running but three months ago, for reasons that now seem unclear, I signed up for my first half marathon. You know what they say about misery loving company. Plus, there’s just something magical about jogging with a dog by your side. At least that’s the impression I get when I see it happening on TV shows or in the movies.
Actually, that’s not entirely true. I have on occasion gone running with my step-dog. The problem with that, though, is that Sigh loves running. And being part Italian greyhound, she’s really fast and could go forever. I spend the whole time with the leash stretched tight in front of me and on the rare occasions when she turns around to acknowledge my existence she looks me in the eye and I know if she could speak she would say, “Come on, Fatty. Why are you SO SLOW?” So no, Sigh and I don’t run together often. But Riley and I are about to become jogging buddies.
Let me be clear: I don’t expect Ry to run a half marathon (truth be told, I’m not sure that I will be able to finish one), but I do think he can build up to running a few miles. A 5K would be great. He’s got a few pounds to lose and once he gets past the initial hatred (and the need to pee on something every 3.5 feet), I think this will be a fun thing for us to do together.
I’ll keep you posted on our progress. But in the meantime, if anyone has stories about how they motivate their pets to exercise, I’d love to hear them!