This is more of a personal rant I suppose, but it’s something I’ve heard a few times recently and it started to bug me and I just want to get it off my chest. Since the weather has turned nice, I’ve stared to bike with the dogs again and I’ve overheard some pretty… negative comments.
The straw that broke the camel’s back, so to speak, was on Saturday. I took Shayne and Rio to the park with my mom and her dog Bandit. I wanted to run Rio so, I brought my bike and my mom agreed to walk Shayne. Rio kept turning around while running with me to look for my mom and Shayne. He was being a bit of a pain and forced me, on a number of occasions, to turn around and bike back. He was not being dragged by the bike or run into the ground… he was turning around, I was encouraging him to keep going forward, and ultimately, I was turning back. This was for about the first 1/3 of the when we “warm up,” I never take him above a moderate trot (about 7mph) and would slow down if he was turning back. Once he got over having to see Shayne, and we were in a groove, he was pulling forward like normal for the last 2 miles.
As we were cooling down, I over heard someone saying (though they were certainly saying it loud enough for me to hear), “I can’t believe she forces him to run like that. She was just dragging him along, he could barely keep up! It’s awful!”
Now, Rio started training to bike with me when he was about 8 months old (started walking next to the bike, learning how the bike moves in small circles, and going short distances at slow speeds–starting at just 50yd at fast walk or slow trot) and it’s something he really enjoys. He is a fast bugger and will trot, with flying strides, up until about 9-10mph when he’ll switch to a canter… I have yet to bike fast enough for him to fall behind. He gets excited at the sight of his bike harness, more than half the time he pulls me on the bike and I actually have to ask him to slow down.
Shayne doesn’t like to bike. At first I thought she was afraid of the bike but after two years of work, she was still not comfortable with the bike. Recently I started biking with the dogs off leash and it hit me, she just doesn’t have a good gait to keep up with the bike… her trot/canter don’t really match the bike well (even when I adjust the speed). She likes to follow about 10-20ft behind me when she is off-leash while I bike. The point is, I don’t force her to bike and I don’t drag her while I bike… I wouldn’t do that… I want her to enjoy exercising.
It’s a bit frustrating working my tail off to keep a high energy, high drive dog happy by providing ample exercise only to be seen as this awful person. Now, I know it’s not the case–I’m not an awful dog parent, but it does eventually wear on me. I’d love to see them tolerate Rio for a week with out extensive exercise…maybe then they’ll get why I “force” my poor Rio to “suffer” through “miles and miles and miles” of “torturous” exercise. Oi. Apparently it’s been one of those weeks… normally this wouldn’t bother me at all.. LOL!
(Ironically, one person who made a comment earlier this week while I was running Dexter, was walking two grossly overweight labs… ).