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Animal Behaviour – Runners And Their Dogs
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Animal Behaviour – Runners And their Dogs

Do dogs really want to run with their owners?

I'm blessed with a ringside seat to an area where joggers and their more serious compatriots run, for exercise and training. What I enjoy more than all the shapes and sizes that parade past are those accompanied by their dogs.

The serious runners, those more than likely training for a specific race, run with their pets unleashed. German Sheppard, Golden Retrievers and Boarder Collies the dogs of choice. The German Sheppard will prance along pacing their owner, tongue extended to the side and panting, but seeming to enjoy the exercise. The Retrievers, seem more lazy, changing gait as the go, almost as if they are struggling to find the pace. The Boarders, head down, serious face, gait to match the speed of the master, ready for the command to fetch the sheep in.

The joggers, come accompanied with all sorts, some that seen too small to walk, let alone run. Fox Terriers with their little legs going ten to the dozen, even still struggling to keep up with the walk/ jog of the owner. Then the small fluffy cross-breed terrier, clothed with a body harness, literally pulling his owner along, every step for him a jerk on the leash. The owner, not looking good, needing a rest, cursing the dog, but the dog keeps on going, encouraging his owner to reach new heights.

Those that have the noses of blood hounds, running till some odour catches their attention, what do they do? Stop, the jogger not expecting this will either, drag the dog along till it ignores the sweet sense of smell, or, if the dog strong enough, pull him to a sudden arm jerking halt.

There is a man who jogs with his St Bernard, the leash similar to the strap used on a horse-drawn carriage, hand through the loop, pace set by the dog, direction as well. I have seen this dog drag him along from post to post whilst it saviours the smells, even to a complete reversal, if needing to recheck a message at the post just past.

A women, who can only be described as a ten, always dressed to insure her assets are best displayed for the men, with a perfectly groomed poodle. Men following, with their assortment of bull terriers and cross breeds, causing consternation when dogs compete for a place. Tangled leashes, dogs wishing to fight, others turning ninety degrees for a call of nature, tripping joggers, and all for the sake of a prized place behind the woman and her poodle.

The more demure, with their assortment of small dogs, not serious joggers, hardly joggers at all, plodding along at a slower than walking pace. Chatting and gossiping, probably discussing the afternoon tea party, their dogs not sure if they're meant to walk or run.

This brings me to the point, do dogs really want to run with their masters? I think so, they seem to enjoy the outing, the fun, socializing and exercise. The more pertinent question, do the masters really want to run with their dogs? Of this one I'm not convinced, the serious runners seen oblivious of their hounds, and when they stop for a nature call the runners continue knowing their dog will catch up. The joggers seem more concerned, their charges less obedient, disturbing any rhythm they seek. The question, are these people really serious about their exercise with dogs, and do the dogs really want to go with them?


Street Talk

I guess it happens that the dog doesn't want to go out running. My dog wasn't very interested in being outside in really bad weather. But he always wanted to run with me so I think he would have had a hard time deciding what to do if he had to decide for himself if he was going to accompany me or not, on long runs in bad weather. But, I was his master, it was me who decided what the dog had to do. One thing I couldn't decide though, it was how he looked when running with me. He always looked like he just was walking when I was sweating and panting, running almost as fast as I could. He could at least have made the impression he was running, couldn't he? For my sake. After all I was his master.

Reply
  about 6 years ago

Good point Fridakjartans, a lot of these dogs make their masters look silly with their prancing around and playing with each other, whilst the runner looks half dead.

Reply
  about 6 years ago

I have an Irish Wolfhound cross who is so laid back I doubt he could raise a trot. But then he's not likely to need to. One day I started jogging because we were late for school and the kids all stopped dead with their mouths hanging open. The comment? "Mum can RUN!!"..... lol... not far!

Reply
  about 6 years ago

Was once a runner myself, age, and lets be honest laziness, curbed the urge. The other day I needed to catch up with a letter that blew out of my hand, a 40m dash ended in me bent over panting like a man trying to breath on the moon without the NASA suit. ...lol

Reply
  about 6 years ago

The mind boggles.... lol

  
  about 6 years ago

As soon as it quits raining here in Oregon (like never!) I am going to go running with my chihuahua. See those tiny little legs go... hey quit laughing over there!

Reply
  about 6 years ago

Levada please post a picture, what do they say, a picture is worth a 1000 words, you wont need to write a thing. LOL

Reply
  about 6 years ago
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