How Running is Like a New Dog

Today’s topic was absolutely perfect for me — how to choose your races. I put a lot of thought into choosing my halfs, and I will write about that someday, but my life got hijacked by a Bandit this weekend, in case you didn’t see the Weekly Wrap.

Don’t let that sweet face fool you. When Giz looked at him here, Bandit went after him

It’s already turned me back into a morning runner, because although Bandit doesn’t go ballistic in a crate, he’s not really crate trained either. Yesterday he displayed some guarding behavior, going after Giz just slightly when Bandit was on the recliner and Giz came over to investigate. That made it clear to me that I’m not ready to have Bandit wandering around the house while I’m out — he has to earn that freedom, just like Lola and Chester did.

Let’s get on to how running is like adding a new dog to your life, shall we?

You think you are doing something good
You start out running, and you think this is great — I’m doing something good for myself mentally and physically. Then you’re huffing and puffing and wondering where is that runner’s high everyone talks about? Will you ever feel it? You’re wondering hwy did I think this was a good idea in the first place?

You get a new dog, knowing you’re making his life better, hoping you’re making your own life better and your present dog’s life better, too.

And then there’s the posturing for position, you’re exhausted and you’re wondering why did I think this was a good idea in the first place?

There’s so much to learn
Running is simple, right? Some clothes, some running shoes, and out the door. Running is natural, after all, why would we have to learn anything?

You’ve had two dogs before, you’ve introduced one dog to another before. Yet the dynamics of dogs is a fluid thing.

On top of that, every dog has its own quirks. The way that dog behaves in its previous home is not necessarily the way it will behave in your home.

For instance, we were told that Lola got along with dogs and cats. Well, she got along with cats in some of her previous homes, apparently, but let’s just say it was a rocky road at first and now there is simply detente between them.

We were told Bandit was pretty chill about other animals. He seemed that way the first afternoon, but he sure seemed fascinated with Giz. And he was totally fascinated by the yellow lab that walked behind us for most of our walk this morning.

Anything new is hard
If you’re a runner, and suddenly you try a new sport, you may find yourself sore in places you didn’t even know you had. My shoulders/shoulderblades were sore after SUP on Sunday; not my core or my legs, basically just my shouderblades from the paddling.

Unless you’re gifted with those rare unicorns of dogs, the ones that are just completely housetrained, never interested in anything they shouldn’t be, and get along with everyone, introducing a new animal into a pack is hard.

It can be rewarding as hell, in the long “run”, but it’s hard at first.

Just when you think you’ve made a horrible mistake . . .
. . . something great happens.

Mr. Judy enjoyed a peaceful morning with the pack yesterday while I was out at my race. But everything seemed to fall apart that afternoon.

I hadn’t slept well most of the week, and that first night with Bandit was particularly rocky and I was exhausted.

As I said, he displayed guarding behavior with Giz. When I had both dogs on the bed for some reason, Lola was doing this thing where she rubs her face against the sheet. And Bandit started to growl at her. Then lunged at her.

I was so disappointed. Usually there’s a 2 week honeymoon period before a dog displays its true nature. Had I made a terrible mistake? Was this dog more than I could handle?

This morning, when Mr. Judy and I were chatting on the phone about how things were going (better), the dogs started to play. Lola actually initiated some play. Then when she seemed like maybe she’d had enough, I let Bandit outside. Then Lola. And they started to chase each other all over the yard.

Lola loves to play. Chester, for obvious healthy reasons, just couldn’t towards the end of his life. I can’t tell you how good it made my heart feel to see them chasing each other around that yard. I know there will be further posturing and instances when I’m discouraged, but that was all the encouragement I needed to feel that maybe it’s not a terrible mistake and we’ll work through it (even if it will be hard).

And running is like that too. You may get discouraged that you’re injured, or have an injury that seems like it will never heal, or that you will never get any faster — and then something happens. You have a great run with no pain, a new PR, or just a run that seems to go much better than expected.

Talk to me in the comments. Feel free to give me new doggie advice (Bandit, by the way, is 7 years old, not a puppy):

Have you introduced a new dog into your pack? Any tips for me?

What have you tried recently that left you sore?

What would you compare running to?

I’m linking up with with MCM Mama Runs, Marcia’s Healthy Slice, and My No Guilt Life for the Tuesdays on the Run linkup.

Tuesdays on the Run
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27 thoughts on “How Running is Like a New Dog

    1. I’m sure he will get used to Gizmo in time. Right now we really have to work on that crate training, because I just don’t want him lose in the house when I’m gone. I was gone 45 this morning to meet up with his owner and get the rest of the stuff, and while he was okay, I’m afraid it probably set us back a bit with the crate.

      The race went well! Nothing earth shattering, but it’s always fun and challenging at the same time.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Bandit is 3 years younger than Lola. I *think* they’re going to end up being buddies, but that remains to be seen.

      It’s kind of killing me right now because I was used to walking Chester & Lola together. I’m not sure how that will go with Bandit, who is very high energy and quite a bit heavier than Lola, so right now I’m walking them separately.

      This morning I ran before breakfast. Fed the animals. Had some breakfast. Walked Bandit with a little sprinting thrown in, hopefully tiring him out enough so he wouldn’t mind the crate so much while I walked Lola — I met my step goal by the time I finished walking Lola around 8 am!

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      1. Since at the moment I’m walking the dogs separately, I’m getting even more walking than usual. And a little bit of running intervals thrown in when I walk Bandit, too.

        I was a big walker, before I had dogs, before I started to run — even living in VT in the winter!

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    1. Oh, no doubt he’s VERY confused, but he wasn’t an only dog. She actually had 2 cats and another dog, although sadly she lost the other dog on Memorial Day weekend.

      I think I tend to be a bit stricter in the behavior I accept from my dogs than a lot of people . . .We’re definitely having a better day today, but it’s been kind of exhausting, too, since right now I have to walk the dogs separately!

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    1. Bandit’s not a puppy, so it’s even harder for him in some ways. On the up side, so far, knock on wood, he’s completely house trained, and that is a nice break from both Chester & Lola, who weren’t when we got them.

      He’s a marking fool outside, but hey, as long as he keeps it outside I’m happy.

      So far he hasn’t tried to get into anything or chew anything either, so that’s a nice plus (assuming it continues).

      He has lots of good qualities, including being very smart! At first he didn’t seem food motivated; he wasn’t interested at all in the first few treats I tried with him.

      And then we tried jerky. 🙂

      I think Mr. Judy will actually be happy to have a dog barking at him when he comes home tonight!

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  1. Ah, the adjustment period. I think, really, consistency and time are the main factors in helping a new pooch acclimate to the family. We’ve always let our dogs meet the newbie before we brought him/her home, to see if they’d get along.

    Running reminds me of life. You get in what you put in; sometimes it’s hard and sucks and you want to call it quits, but when you stick with it you’re always rewarded.

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    1. Well, the meeting where we kept him? That was supposed to be a meet & greet. We walked them down our street (met outside on the street), then let him into the backyard, then into our house and she was like you’re the ones. This woman absolutely loved him & only wanted to do right by him.

      I’m not sure I really get out of running what I put into it, but that’s life too sometimes, I guess.

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  2. Good luck with the new dog. Good thing you do not work.

    My shoulders were fine. I think it’s because of the tennis. Esp serving which tough on the shoulder.

    Congrats on a good race.

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  3. Ha! I can definitely see the analogy. We don’t have any dogs now, but I grew up with them. Running is definitely like any new challenge or life change… it takes work to make it happen at first but soon becomes part of your lifestyle.

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  4. Awwwww Bandit is so cute! Wishing you and the rest of the pack all the best with him. Great analogies here between dogs and running. So many are asking me now if I’ll get a “replacement” dog for Remy. Sigh. I’m just not ready.

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    1. Most people just don’t get it. Of course you’re not ready – I wasn’t really sure I was ready for a second dog again & it’s been 6 months! Plus it would be very hard on Remy’s brother, I’m sure (sorry, I forget his name).

      Oddly enough, though, Bandit reminds me very strongly of Chester. The right dog will come along at the right time, or so they say.

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    1. Thank you, Patty. I don’t know about brilliant, but I do know my mind works in strange ways.

      Bandit is settling in very nicely, but it’s still early days & I don’t know that he’s shown his true colors yet — but I hope he has because so far he’s doing really, really well!

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  5. Love this and agree with all of it. I can not offer any dog advice, I haven’t had a dog in over 25 years! I think it is like anything… new job, new experience, new house… you need to get used to it and there is an adjustment period for everyone. Not just you, but also the (new) dog and your other animals. Give it time.

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    1. Oh don’t worry, we’re not planning to do anything with him and he’s actually settling in quite well.

      I was totally amazed when I got him to stay in the living room this morning while I fed Giz (our kitchen is open, so no doors).

      The other day I had to hold him in my lap & he was VERY interested in Gizmo’s food.

      Of course Gizmo decided to walk us up at 3:30 am this morning by knocking over the bag with a container of Bandit’s food, and I was finally getting a decent night of sleep! The thing was closed, I don’t know how he knew there was food in there, but thankfully it didn’t open up.

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