I would love a big dog that I could go running with. A wiemeraner, kelpie or labrador. We would go running pre-dawn, after dark, or on trails, and she would keep me safe. I admit, I feel a twinge of jealousy when I’m out for a run and I see Dave Robertson out running with his dalmatian. I would love to run with a dog.
But I live in an apartment, so I can’t have a big dog. Instead, I got a chihuahua. Her name is Tequila. I take her out for a walk every morning at 7. Most days, I have been out to strength or interval training, so I’m in my running gear. I come home, grab the leash, and we head out for a lap around the block. Tequila explodes out the door… she can’t get out fast enough. She tears down the stairs and out to the footpath, with me in tow, and she doesn’t stop there. Pulling at her leash, she takes off down the road. One day, a little girl picked her straight up and exclaimed, “Look, it’s Beverly Hills Chihuahua!”. The neighbours who see me bolting down the street in my running gear alongside my tiny dog probably think “that poor little dog, being dragged along on a run like that”. But Tequila loves it. I’m the one who gets dragged along when she takes off.
I have taken her along to Parkrun (5km) now on several occasions. She is my little pacer. I take her when I don’t want to run fast (like if i have a race the next day). The first time I took her along, I expected that we would walk most of the way. But she surprised me. She was happy to run along, as long as there were kids or other dogs to chase. I picked her up and carried her through the turnaround, to stop her from getting stepped on. And where we could, we ran on the grass, to stay out of the way of other runners. At her most recent parkrun appearance, she absolutely bulleted the last kilometre home. I couldn’t keep up with her. I felt bad for holding her back.
I’m hesitant to take Tequila out any further than 5-6kms because she is so small. But her vet says that as long as she is over 12 months old and all her bones are developed, she wants to run, and she is not exhibiting any joint problems, then it’s OK.
Through the power of google, I have also read about other chihuahua owners whose dogs make excellent running companions. One man has been running with his chihuahua nearly every day for 8 years. Another lady has taken hers out for runs up to 10km long.
Tequila’s 5km Parkrun PB is 33 minutes 32 seconds. Not a bad effort for someone whose legs are about 10cm long.
Does anyone else enjoy running with their dog?