Jogging with your dog: He doesn’t feel like it?

Article about jogging with your dog in the Netherlands
By Laure-Anne Viselé, November 2010

As a dog writer, I have a bit of a professional deformation: I see dog diseases everywhere. So I indulged in my Munchausen’s by proxy again (seeing diseases in someone else). This time, it was for lumps on my dog’s rump. Completely unimpressed, the vet squarely told me, à la Dutch: “Your dog’s too fat” (shame I can’t do the European accent in writing).

After getting over the frankly crushing humiliation, I figured I’d take the dog jogging with me as I go every couple of days anyway.

True to form, I had him tested for heart problems (predictably enough: negative). Looking good on paper. Didn’t quite work out, though…

So there’s me putting together a jogging survival kit (thirteen items on a good day):

For the dog:

  • Scooper bags
  • Small treats (he IS on a diet)
  • Reflecting dog bandana: I want cars to see him
  • Flashing bike light on his collar: I want to see him myself
  • Leash

For me (it’s winter in my Dutch village):

  • Woolly hat;
  • Two pairs of jogging trousers;
  • Two sweaters;
  • A fleece jacket;
  • High-visibility vest;
  • My snazzy jogging shoes;
  • i-pod on a wrist wrap; and
  • i-pod headphones (yes, bright green).

The whole ordeal takes about twenty minutes, but, somehow, I am still roaring to go. The unsuspecting dog too: he still thinks he’s going for a ‘regular’ walk.

And then it happens: five quick steps to jogging abyss).

  1. I start off in a trot to the sound of, say, Peggy Lee. Already the dog is trailing behind.
  2. After a few seconds, I have to kind of hop in one place until he’s caught up every five meters.
  3. Five minutes later, I get sick of the whole thing and move on to Abba (there, I said it), clipping the leash on. He grudgingly follows my pace, soon dragging behind like a trawler.
  4. I quickly take pity on him (always fall for his theatrics) and unclip him. I then start jogging (to Guns ‘n Roses, no less) in a zig-zag, so that he has less distance to cover (yes, it IS humiliating).
  5. After ten minutes of this regime, utterly disgusted, I bring him back home to my very amused husband, so I can start my real jog.

It wouldn’t be so bad if I didn’t constantly have to take my earphones off to politely answer the well-meaning but Oh-so-Dutch question: “Hij heeft geen zin, he?” (“He doesn’t feel like it, does he?”) .

Jogging to keep fit? Definitely. Having a dog to keep fit? Mmmmmmhhh. All I know at this stage is … that dog will be the death of me.

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