From the time I moved out on my own I’ve wanted to adopt a dog. Living a fairly transient life in New York and then Chicago made accomplishing this difficult. After marrying my husband we agreed we were settled down enough to add another member to the family so a month after the wedding we began looking for a dog. After several outings we found a
boxer-shepherd mix pit bull at the pound and named her Dee. As a puppy Dee was super high energy and a bit nuts so we subscribed to the dog whisperer philosophy of wearing her out until she was too tired to be anything but calm and well-behaved. When she became a pro at leash walking I decided it was time to start taking her with me on runs. As a high energy girl I figured this would be right up her alley, as it turns out I was very wrong. 2 minutes in Dee was trailing behind, 3 minutes in she had pulled over to someone’s yard and was lying on her side. There is no physical explanation for Dee’s lack of enthusiasm for running. She is 50 lbs of pure muscle and could win a figure competition by a landslide if there were such a thing for dogs. For a while I gave up and let her sleep in while I ran my morning loop solo, picking her up upon my return to go for a walk. After a while I got tired of wasting time I decided to think like a trainer. What would I do to help a client work up to a steady-state run? Thus began Dee’s physical training. Though I initially wanted to jump right in to running, I took a step backward and started with run/walking since Dee is more of a sprinter than a marathoner. I also played upon her motivation, taking our run first thing in the morning after realizing that Dee was more apt to push through a workout when breakfast was waiting for her afterwards. Since getting Dee out in the morning involves picking her up off the couch, standing her on her four legs, and then nudging her out the door I initially felt guilty force-marching through this process. However, upon our return she comes in tail wagging, relaxed, happy, and clearly proud of what she’s accomplished. I realized just like any reluctant client Dee might hem and haw initially but overall what we were doing was right for her overall well-being. We’ve been at this for a while now and though I still have to peel her up off the couch every morning the whole process is becoming easier for both of us. We’ve even gotten my husband to join us on the weekends (though the process for getting him up is very similar to what I go through with Dee…). The moral of the story? We all need some encouragement and if you can relate to Dee go ahead and find yourself a workout buddy. This person should:
A.) Have the patience to take time to get you were you need to be
B.) Know how to effectively motivate you to get the job done
c.) Have the strength to “peel you off the couch” knowing that you’ll be grateful they did it afterward
Word on the street is there are some dogs who actually wake their owners up to go outside…I’ll believe it when I see it.