Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Taking My Dog on a Run

Well, some of you may know that I have had some issues with Remington (my younger dog). He is obviously not adjusting well to the apartment life. Going from a big house with a big yard in a suburb, quiet neighborhood where the only time it gets loud is during New Years and Indpendence Day to a small apartment with no backyard and lots of noise. And I think he's just gotten old and cranky. I take both of my dogs on long walks to get them out of the small apartment, but I guess it's not good enough. So, last week, he tried to attack another dog, he may have attacked my other dog, he barked at runners and passerbys, and he bit me. I was now thinking about putting him down, which I didn't want to do. After some advice, I went to the vet to maybe see if he's going through early stages of alztheimers since he is 9 or if some other medical issue is going on with him. It turns out he's normal, which I figured. But Dr. Baxster gave me lots of things to try to see if this changes him before we consider that other alternative. Also, she had a dog that did the same thing...as it got older, she got finickier and just aggressive. It made me feel good that she went through the same things I did. Some things she suggested include the following:
  • Take Remi on walks by himself and in a quieter area. I live near the medical center where it's busy and helicopters/ambulance sirens/police sirens are going off constantly and loudly, which I know makes him on guard more.
  • Give Remi alittle bit more me time.
  • Give Remi treats and say, "Good Job Remi" whenever I do take him on a walk so that he would rather sit and get his treat than go after another dog or person.
  • Get Remi a harness for control on the walks and possibly a gentle leader around his mouth. I did buy the gentle leader, but it's too big.
  • Give Remi a treat on his own, which this didn't work out so well. He's not interested and Lady is definitely interested in a cong full of peanut butter.
So, now I'm wrestling with taking out my dogs separately and then somehow I have to fit in a run. I was already strapped for time fitting in my run with taking both of the dogs out together. Well, I took Remi up to Hermann Park after my vet visit (with new harness) since it's quieter than around my apartment. He did awesome. The harness works perfectly (need it more for Lady though) and he was sitting and being so calm; a motorized golf cart went right passed him and all he could focus on was my hand with the treat. He was walking right next to me and just looking like his old self.

With that really great walk, I decided that I might take just Remi on my runs. I've seen other people do it and he did so well on our walk. Plus, I don't have to spend 3 hours exercising on an already tired body. So, I drove Remi and I up to Hermann Park. I hate doing that since it's only 1.8 miles away (usually, I'm walking up there), but there's lots of traffic and loud sounds between my apartment and the park. I was following the vet's recommendations. Plus, it saves me some time.

I didn't do any stretching and just started walking the dog a bit (good mini warmup) to get out of the parking area. Once we hit the gravel path, I picked up the pace to a light jog to see how Remi reacts. He reacted just fine. He loved it in fact. He mostly stayed by my side and with the harness, I was easily able to get him back to me. If someone passed by, we would stop, I had him sit, and then I gave him a treat and said, "Good boy." We went all the way around the 1.5 loop running as much as we could. He actually  makes his run look slower, like it's a fast walk. Was it the best run? Gosh, no. Remington still has a habit of stopping right in front of me, tripping me so that I get close to falling on my face. He did that a bit, but I was prepared for it. He also is sniffing around, but he doesn't go far.

My only issue was this one dog. We had to pass this white toy poodle dog since they were walking and  we were running. Remi just wanted to get to the dog, but I kept telling Remi to let it go. And what was cool about that whole scenario was that it was the other dog barking and going crazy. Sure, Remi was pulling so hard that I thought my arm was going to get ripped out, but he wasn't growling or barking or anything. There was another dog ahead of us that he kept sprinting to try to get it, but I pulled him back towards me with no issues. I was very happy with Remi's performance when it came to other dogs. He did try to run after some joggers passing us by, but he didn't bark.

Towards the end, Remi was getting tired. I was now running ahead of him and trying to drag him along. I kept up the run until we got about 100 ft from the car and stopped to do our cooldown walk. I was so proud of him and now, I'm going to start taking him on more runs (shorter for now). Hopefully, I can build up his endurance to go longer. He looks happier and hopefully, his grumpiness will subside.

Some pictures from my run.

My boy is leading me for our walk back to the car.

Remi's new harness. I plan to get Lady one in pink.

Oh mom, quit taking my picture.

Thanks mom for a great day.
After I got back, I took out Lady for a 1 mile walk (roundtrip) to the big open field to throw the ball to her. She gives me more of an arm workout and I really need to get the harness for her. I tried to use Remington's but she's too big.

1 comment:

  1. I'm so happy Remi is doing great. The pics are cute.


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