Prong Collars and Methods to Stop Pulling on Leash

I know this topic is kind of controversial among the dog training community so I want to start by saying that the majority of the views in this post are my own opinion. Although I am against prong and choke collars and believe there are better ways out there to get the same result, I admit I have never actually used a prong collar and I respect everyone’s right to their own choices as to what collars they use on their dogs. This post is meant to educate those who are trying to decide between a prong and other methods, and to give alternative methods they may want to try. In the end, it is the owners responsibility to choose what is best and safest for their dog.

Prong collars have been a hot topic in the dog training community for a while now. This amazes me, although I have never personally used one before, I have seen extreme pullers be trained without the use of one. In my opinion, if you can get the same result without causing discomfort and possibly injury to the dog, why wouldn’t you at least give force free methods a try?

http://www.fordogtrainers.com/images/large/Dog-Prong-Collar-Chrome-Plated_LRG.jpg

http://www.pitbulltalk.com/galleries/prong/small4.jpg

For those who don’t know, prong collars are a training collar made of metal links that have points (or prongs) that lay against the dogs neck. They are used a lot to correct leash pulling and leash reactivity. Trainers who use them will tell you that when used properly (fitted high on the dogs neck and not further down like normal collars) these collars are extremely effective and humane. The prongs are used as a “correction” mimicking the way a mother dog corrects her puppies.

In my opinion the fact that these collars have to be used “properly” in order to not cause extreme damage to the dog is a huge red flag. I’d say the majority of dog owners I have seen using these collars are not using them the “correct way,” and is it really their fault? These collars are sold at almost any big pet store, as a “quick fix” to pulling. I asked a few people who have actually used these collars about their experience and I liked how one of them put it, “To be perfectly honest I don’t think they should even be sold in stores. In a perfect world you should only be able to get them through your trainer who has passed some kind of certification proving they have sufficient knowledge of the collar. I’d say at least 60% or more of dogs who come into the store I work at with prong collars don’t have the correct fit or placement, and their owners don’t understand how to use them.” I would argue that if this is the case, why are these collars even sold at all, especially when there a many alternatives out there.

Like what? Below are some methods I have personally tried and had success with, even with the most extreme pullers.

6-halti-optifit-extra

http://www.companyofanimals.co.uk/sites/default/files/6%20HALTI%20Optifit%20extra.png

Head Collars

How they work- These collars fit around the dogs muzzle and then to a leash, some even connect to the dogs normal collar for added security. They are designed so that when the dog pulls, their head gets turned back towards the handler, teaching the dog to keep the leash loose.

Pros- They do work on the majority of dogs and although I don’t like “quick fixes” they work relatively fast once the dog gets used to having it on.

Cons- I personally have seen very few dogs that actually enjoy wearing this collar. There is an adjustment period for any dog with this collar before you actually use it on a walk/run. If you want tips on how to help your dog adjust to a head collar please email me and I’d be happy to give more information. Some dogs never get used to this collar and will try anything to get it off (even possibly injuring themselves in the process).

chopper_0312web

http://www.softouchconcepts.com/images/stories/softtouch/chopper_0312web.jpg

No-pull Harnesses

How they work- There are a lot of harnesses you can buy today that advertise as being no-pull but the kind I am talking about here are the ones where the leash attaches to the front of the dog. When the dog pulls, he/she is pulled slightly to the side, encouraging them to keep the leash loose. For best results I would combine this tool with other positive training methods (mentioned next).

Pros- This is my favorite thing to use on dogs that pull. It’s gentle on the dog and also gives the handler a lot more control compared to a flat collar, not to mention it takes the strain off the pulling dog’s neck. Most dogs will accept a harness much faster than a head collar. When combined with positive training methods, you could eventually wean the dog off of the harness if desired.

Cons- Some determined dogs will still pull with this harness. Also, if not fitted properly, it can rub on the dogs arm pits and cause a rash, but if you think the harness is fitted well and it still does this, there are strap covers you can buy that prevent rashes.

Positive Training Methods

To reduce stress on the dog and owner, I would combine these methods with one of the two tools mentioned above.

These methods take time but they work, instead of a painful “correction” every time the dog pulls, they teach the dog what you want and that obeying you means good things.

Start in an area with little to no foot traffic or distractions, a backyard or even a room inside is perfect. With your dog on leash, start walking. The minute your dog pulls, say “oops” (or another word that signals to the dog you don’t want that behavior, this is optional when teaching loose leash walking because the dog is already learning this by your actions) and turn in the other direction. Keep walking in the other direction and repeat if/when the dog pulls again. You are teaching the dog that if he/she wants to go somewhere, not pulling is the best choice. Once your dog is doing this well in the backyard, you can graduate to normal walking paths or trails. It’s important to be consistent with this training because if you sometimes allow pulling and other times don’t, you will confuse your dog. I think this method is easier to learn by watching instead of reading so the videos below demonstrate what I’m talking about as well as some other awesome positive training methods.

Video 1

I love the idea of being “unpredictable” mentioned in this video. I’ve found this also really helps when you start teaching off-leash behavior because it teaches your dog to watch where you are going.

Video 2

I could probably fill a book with reasons why the methods mentioned above are better than prong collars but I will just conclude this post by saying this; dogs pull because they have four legs and we have two, that is it, they are naturally faster than us and excited to go places. They are not trying to “dominate” us by walking ahead and they don’t need to be “put in their place” or “corrected” by using tools like prong collars.

If you honestly feel like you have tried all of these methods and nothing is working, enlist the help of a positive dog trainer instead of resorting to punitive methods. You will walk away with a happier dog and a much better relationship with him/her.

*Images used in this post are not mine, I’ve attached the image source underneath each picture.

Dog Running/Walking in Cold Weather

It can be a challenge to get your dog out in these winter months when its really cold out. Here are some tips to so you can get the most out of those cold walks and runs with your dog.

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1.Cold Weather Gear

Investing in a good coat for your dog is a really good idea, especially for shorter coated breeds. Not all coats are created equal and just because they’re “cute” doesn’t mean they will keep your dog warm. Make sure you measure your dog before buying a coat so it’s a good fit. I am really bad at shopping for dog coats in stores, I always guess Hershey’s size is bigger than he is and end up with a coat that is too big. I currently use this one for really cold days and a lighter sweater for days that aren’t as cold.

2.Make Sure You are Dressed for Cold

If you are miserable on your walk/run because you didn’t dress warm enough your dog will be miserable too. Make sure you are dressed warm enough to be happy on your walk so you and your dog can have a good time despite the cold weather. Hand and feet warmers are life savers!

3.Keep and eye on your Dog

Some dogs have so much fun outside no matter how cold it is! It is the owners/handlers job to watch their dog carefully for any signs that they are getting too cold and should head back inside to warm up. Some signs I have noticed are shivering, lifting up paws in the snow, constantly looking at you, anxiety, and pulling towards home. Exercise is important even in cold weather but make sure you are listening to your dog, if they want to go inside, go inside. Hershey loves the snow but his paws get really cold, so he wears boots, once he has his boots on he is super excited to go out and romp in the snow!

I know it doesn’t look like it but he was actually really excited to go out in the snow.

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4.Think Positive

Walking/Running in the snow burns more calories and builds endurance! Instead of wishing you didn’t have to go out in the cold, think of all the things you are gaining from pushing yourself to get outside! If all else fails, think of how amazing it will feel when you get back to your warm house!

5.Warm Beverages Help

I’m not sure how well this would work while running but walking with a nice hot chocolate or hot coffee in hand works wonders!

Any other tips/tricks for running or walking in the cold?

Peanut Butter and Pumpkin Dog Biscuits

During the winter months it seems like everyone is baking. We spend so much time baking for ourselves, why not also bake for our dogs.

Making homemade dog treats is a great idea for any dog owner, you can alter the recipes if your dog has allergies to anything and since you are the cook, you know what is put into the food your dog is eating.

I made this recipe today and wanted to share it. Hershey loves these biscuits and when they are cooking they make the whole house smell like peanut butter cookies (but they don’t taste like them).

What you will need:

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½ cup canned pumpkin

2 eggs

2 tablespoons peanut butter

2 ½ cups whole wheat flour

½ teaspoon ground cinnamon

½ teaspoon salt

½ cup- 1 cup water

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Cookie cutter(s)

  • Set oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit
  • Mix together pumpkin, eggs, peanut butter, flour, cinnamon and salt.
  • Gradually add water- you want the dough to form but you don’t want it to be too sticky
  • Roll out dough and cut into shapes with a cookie cutter (if you don’t have a cookie cutter you can just use the rim of a cup to make circles, your dog won’t know the difference!)
  • Place cookies on baking sheet and bake for 40 minutes.
  • Let cool and store in refrigerator (that is if your dog doesn’t eat them all at once)

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I know a lot of dogs have grain free diets so I’m going to make some homemade grain free treats soon!

Do you ever bake for your dog?

Walking the Dog; Is there a Magic Number?

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Ever since I got Hershey six years ago I have thought a lot about this question. How many times a day should you walk your dog?

The short answer is no, there is no magic number of times a day that you should walk your dog. Each dog is so different from the next, it is impossible to give a set amount of exercise every dog should get. Some dogs are small and don’t need as much exercise, some dogs need a ton of exercise. So it really depends on your individual dog.

That said, every healthy dog should be getting out for a walk, run, hike, bike ride, or other activity at least once a day. (I say “healthy” meaning dogs that have no current health issues that cause you to limit their activity.) This does not include going out in the backyard. Backyards are great but even if you have one, please make sure you still walk your dog. Dogs love to get out and sniff around, doing this not only exercises them physically but also mentally, meaning you’ll have a tiered, happy dog at the end of the day.

As much as I wish I had a set schedule for Hershey’s daily walks, I don’t. My goal is to get him at least 2 hours of exercise throughout the whole day. That usually means two, one hour walks and/or runs. But sometimes it means a two hour hike, or a twenty minute walk, and then a longer walk later in the day. I’m sure it will change as he gets older, but right now two hours is what he needs to be his happiest.

So weather you decide on a certain number of walks or hours of exercise for your dog, please strive to get them out at least once a day, even if it’s only for twenty minutes. Your efforts will be well worth it when you see how happy it makes your best friend.

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How much exercise do you try to give your dog?

Anybody bike with their dog?

The Perfect Solution

Maybe it’s just me but I tend to get sick of the dog collars I buy for Hershey really quickly. I find one and think; “It’s perfect!” and then a couple months later I’m looking for a new one. This can get very expensive so I finally came up with the perfect solution! I’ll make his dog collars! I made his first one yesterday and it came out surprisingly well. I also found that it was pretty fun making it (as long as my old sewing machine puts up with me). I’m planning to make some more and depending on what those turn out to look like, I’m considering opening up an Etsy shop.

I’ll make a tutorial for how I make them once I get a little better, I’m still figuring out some things. I’m also going to try to make a couple rope dog leashes because Hershey’s old one is falling apart.

Super short post today sorry, I just had to share my exiting new hobby!

Here is the main man in his new homemade fox collar. Sorry for the bad quality photo.

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Glenwood Springs

The Glenwood Canyon Shuffle! That was the name of the half-marathon Hershey and I ran last Saturday. It was a really great race, because I had Hershey with me;  I took it pretty easy and didn’t push myself too much. I haven’t even looked at the results yet which is unusual for me

This race is just so peaceful, you run through the canyon on a nice concrete path. This was the third time I’ve done this race and after this year, I think from now on, this race is going to be my easy race. The race I do just for fun to spend time with the pup.

This past year has been a series of ups and downs in my life for a number of reasons. I feel like I really needed this race. It helped me reset my brain and remember what I want my focus in life to be. Much needed and relaxing- I would love to do this race every year.

The views in this race were amazing! Plus it’s the beginning of fall so the leaves are starting to change, making it even more incredible.

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The place we stayed had a nice deck for Hershey and his friend Lucy to chill out on. We got a lot of exercise this trip, so he spent the first two days after we got home sleeping! My puppy’s getting so old!

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Hope you had a great Friday.

Anyone been to Glenwood Springs?

Favorite place to vacation?

Do you ever do races just for fun and not worry about the time?

How’s Your Recall?

I’ll be honest, Hershey’s recall could be a lot better and of course the fault falls on me. As I learn more and more about dog training, I realize how much I rely on treats to get Hershey to come back to me. I used to think you could never use too many treats in training. But I think I’ve come to the point in training Hershey that he’s so reliant on treats that he either; doesn’t come because the treats have become “boring” and what he’s doing is more interesting than they are or he doesn’t come because he knows I don’t have treats. So I’ve come up with a plan to get his recall to where it should be. This way he can have more fun on walks and doesn’t have to deal with always being confined to a leash or coming back to an angry, frustrated dog Mom.

My game plan! Here it is; to start, I’m going to change the word I use when I call him. I’ve used the word “come” so often that I’ve killed it, it no longer has as much meaning to Hershey because he hears me say it so often. So instead of saying “come” I’ll say “Here.” Next, I’m going to use a retractable leash and take Hershey for at least two one hour walks a day. I plan to call him using the command “Here” five to ten times in that hour and every time he comes he will get a small piece of chicken. (I know it sounds like I’m still overusing food rewards but bear with me!)

 
The smellier the treat-the better. I like to heat up the chicken before I use it because it makes it smell even better to the dog.

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After a couple days of this, I will reduce the number of times he gets rewarded when he comes when I call. Instead of getting chicken every time, he will get it most of the time. Then I will reduce it even more. Instead of most of the time, about half the time. I’ll continue to gradually reduce the chicken rewards until it is pretty random. This will keep Hershey guessing and make him more likely to come because he never knows when he might get the reward. My training class that I’m currently taking compares this to why people get so addicted to slot machines. The possibility of winning makes it addicting.

This idea might sound a little mean to some- like I’m tricking Hershey into coming when called. I probably would have said the same thing, but the more I learn about training the more I realize that using variation reinforcement (a fancy term for rewarding less than every time your dog performs a desired behavior) really strengthens your bond with your dog. It teaches your dog to love being around you and to be happy to come to you. Not only to come to you because you called- but because he/she want to.

I don’t plan to reward only with treats, sometimes Hershey will get the reward of getting to chase a stick if he comes, or maybe his favorite tennis ball will “magically” appear when he comes, that’s what makes dog training so fun- you can have fun with it. The more you make dog training enjoyable for both you and your dog, the stronger your bond with him will be and in turn, he will be more likely to listen to what you say. Hopefully that all made sense, I tend to ramble when I talk about this subject.

Have fun with your training and your dog will too!

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The retractable leash- Not great for all dog walking situations but I love this leash for recall training. It’s not as hard to walk with as a long lead is, and I believe it gives the dog the feeling of being “off-leash” but they are still on leash if they aren’t fully trained yet.

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Finally, my plan is to not allow Hershey off leash again until I’m 98% sure he will come back when I call him. Of course, no dog is perfect, sometimes they’re going to have a bad day and maybe decide to chase a rabbit or roll in that lovely smelling cow pie instead of come back to you. Our job as dog owners is to admit that our dog is just having a bad day and put them back on leash and continue to maintain the training process.

Of course, everyone has their own opinions about how to train their dog. I’m not saying any way is better than the other, I’m just sharing what I plan to do with Hershey based on what has worked for me in the past.

Oh and if you do use chicken- don’t forget to put the leftovers in the fridge or throw them out. Don’t forget about them because that could lead to a pretty gross surprise next time you reach into your pocket or treat pouch- yuck!

 
Anyone have a dog with a really great recall? How did you train them?

What rewards do you use for your dog(s)?

Hello Again

I had so much fun putting together my last post that I had trouble coming up with other ideas for new posts. I love “matchmaking,” if you will, pairing the right dogs with the right people so making a post on what breeds are good for runners was really fun for me. Hopefully I won’t overwhelm, but I’ll probably be doing similar posts like that one in the near future. If you have any ideas please feel free to comment. I’m thinking something like good dog breeds for… apartments, less active families, hikers, travelers, ect… We’ll see what I come up with.

For now I’ll just fill you in on some dog and running related things happening in my world lately.

My Grandfather recently adopted an adorable shelter dog named Amos. I am totally in love! If he didn’t already have a home, I would take him in a heartbeat! Soon after he adopted him he noticed that when going for walks he would lay down multiple times and not want to move. After taking him to the vet, he found out that he had heart worm disease. I had no idea that lack of energy for exercise was a symptom of heart worm disease. He is currently being treated but it will be a long process and he’s going to have to have very limited exercise for a while.

So if you decide to adopt a dog from a shelter, which I highly recommend, just make sure there has been a heart worm test done recently, like within the past 6 months. Not a fun disease for a new dog and owner to have to deal with. But Amos is taking the treatment like a champ, I can’t wait to see his true personality come out when all this is over.

The man himself- the shelter said he was a french bulldog mix, I believe there’s also a little pit in him. He’s got a big head but he’s pretty short and funny looking- but adorable at the same time.

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Next weekend I’ll be running a half marathon- I’m not prepared. I signed up a while ago and kept thinking; “I’ve have a ton of time to start training.” Well… it’s a week away and my longest run recently has been about 6 miles. I’ll just do my best, I know I can run a half marathon right now, it just may not be my best time. That’s ok though because Hershey gets to run this race with me so I’ll probably be taking it easy for him anyway. (I’ll just keep telling myself that and be surprised when my legs give out at mile 9!)

After the half, I will have to start training because I’m officially signed up for my next marathon! The Colorado Marathon. From what I’ve read, it’s a pretty fast course- I’ve mainly done hard, trail and uphill marathons (and 50k), so I’m excited for this one. Despite what it sounds like in the last paragraph, I’m excited to start marathon training again.

Hope you have a great Sunday!

Anyone ever had a dog that went through heart worm treatment? How is he/she now?

Good Dog Breeds for Runners

I love researching different breeds and how they are when it comes to running and endurance. So I made a list of the breeds I think are the best suited for runners and which breeds may be better suited for different running styles.

A lot of these breeds have similar traits.. For even more information on a particular breed I’ve found that www.AKC.org can be very helpful.

Please note: Only the Vizsla picture is mine. Below each picture is the source that I got it from.

Long Distance Runners

Good endurance, able to keep up a good pace for at least 10 miles if not longer.

Siberian Husky

Endurance- Low**********High

Speed- Low**********High

Heat Tolerance- Low**********High

Off-leash Train-ability- Low**********High

Friendliness Toward Strangers- Low**********High

cute dog hasky running in winter

http://www.huskypuppiesinfo.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/12/Siberian-Husky-Off-Lead-in-Snow.jpg

Alaskan Malamute

Endurance- Low**********High

Speed- Low**********High

Heat Tolerance- Low**********High

Off-leash Train-ability- Low**********High

Friendliness Toward Strangers- Low**********High

alaskanmalamute

https://encrypted-tbn2.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcQnt0XjtalSpgAf1iWLGwDGyte0wXcq8dz0TDm-i9miHki8Re9udw

Vizsla

Endurance- Low**********High

Speed- Low**********High

Heat Tolerance- Low**********High

Off-leash Train-ability- Low**********High

Friendliness Toward Strangers- Low**********High

photo(11)

Weimaraner

Endurance- Low**********High

Speed- Low**********High

Heat Tolerance- Low**********High

Off-leash Train-ability- Low**********High

Friendliness Toward Strangers- Low**********High

Weimaraner-Running-Dog-ADB250028

http://www.animalsdb.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/11/Weimaraner-Running-Dog-ADB250028.jpg

Brittany

Endurance- Low**********High

Speed- Low**********High

Heat Tolerance- Low**********High

Off-leash Train-ability- Low**********High

Friendliness Toward Strangers- Low**********High

brittany-spaniel_ph1

http://www.outsideonline.com/sites/default/files/styles/img_600x600/public/migrated-images/brittany-spaniel_ph1.jpg?itok=YpTIHggk

Belgian Malinois

Endurance- Low**********High

Speed- Low**********High

Heat Tolerance- Low**********High

Off-leash Train-ability- Low**********High

Friendliness Toward Strangers- Low**********High (Socialize well when young)

belgianmalinoisf8

http://www.yourpurebredpuppy.com/dogbreeds/photos-AB/belgianmalinoisf8.jpg

Dalmatian

Endurance- Low**********High

Speed- Low**********High

Heat Tolerance- Low**********High

Off-leash Train-ability- Low**********High

Friendliness Toward Strangers- Low**********High

dal

http://s3.amazonaws.com/assets.prod.vetstreet.com/ac/8c1360c2c211e0bfca0050568d6ceb/file/4841-PC2-DT-425km080911.jpg

English Pointer

Endurance- Low**********High

Speed- Low**********High

Heat Tolerance- Low**********High

Off-leash Train-ability- Low**********High

Friendliness Toward Strangers- Low**********High

1357484612~Black-and-white-English-Pointer

http://www.petyourdog.com/uploads/dog_pictures/large/1357484612~Black-and-white-English-Pointer.jpg

Fast but short distance runners

Fast but may tire quickly.

Greyhound

Endurance- Low**********High

Speed- Low**********High

Heat Tolerance- Low**********High

Off-leash Train-ability- Low**********High

Friendliness Toward Strangers- Low**********High

KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERA

https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/7/77/Greyhound_running_brindle.jpg

3-6 mile everyday runs

Longer runs are an option, but these dogs are great for the everyday runner.

Labrador Retriever

Endurance- Low**********High

Speed- Low**********High

Heat Tolerance- Low**********High

Off-leash Train-ability- Low**********High

Friendliness Toward Strangers- Low**********High

lab

https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/736x/e2/85/aa/e285aa17566d5970134483954c30d2f2.jpg

Golden Retriever

Endurance- Low**********High

Speed- Low**********High

Heat Tolerance- Low**********High

Off-leash Train-ability- Low**********High

Friendliness Toward Strangers- Low**********High

golden

http://img.aws.livestrongcdn.com/ls-slideshow-main-image/cme/photography.prod.demandstudios.com/c6fd2c7d-b7c5-4b16-890c-0530f55b2ea3.jpg

Live in an apartment

Small but energetic, needs exercise but doesn’t need a lot of living space. (Actually most breeds would do fine in an apartment, given they get enough exercise, but I’ll talk about that more in another post.)

Parson Russel Terrier

Endurance- Low**********High

Speed- Low**********High

Heat Tolerance- Low**********High

Off-leash Train-ability- Low**********High

Friendliness Toward Strangers- Low**********High

Jack Russell Parson terrier

http://blog.dublindog.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/d64-750×410.jpg

American Staffordshire Terrier

Endurance- Low**********High

Speed- Low**********High

Heat Tolerance- Low**********High

Off-leash Train-ability- Low**********High

Friendliness Toward Strangers- Low**********High

American Staffordshire terriers

http://www.dogtemperament.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/03/american-staffordshire-terrier.jpg

Shiba Inu

Endurance- Low**********High

Speed- Low**********High

Heat Tolerance- Low**********High

Off-leash Train-ability- Low**********High

Friendliness Toward Strangers- Low**********High

shiba

https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/736x/d9/6e/5d/d96e5dd11aa35c41ed922b175054eace.jpg

Adaptable Runners

Able to get used to different running styles.

Australian Cattle Dog

Endurance- Low**********High

Speed- Low**********High

Heat Tolerance- Low**********High

Off-leash Train-ability- Low**********High

Friendliness Toward Strangers- Low**********High

australian-cattle-dog-exercise-personality

http://nextpup.com/wp-content/uploads/australian-cattle-dog-exercise-personality.jpg

Australian Shepherd

Endurance- Low**********High

Speed- Low**********High

Heat Tolerance- Low**********High

Off-leash Train-ability- Low**********High

Friendliness Toward Strangers- Low**********High

DOG-01-SS0025-01P

http://www.kimballstock.com/pix/DOG/01/DOG-01-SS0025-01P.JPG

Border Collie

Endurance- Low**********High

Speed- Low**********High

Heat Tolerance- Low**********High

Off-leash Train-ability- Low**********High

Friendliness Toward Strangers- Low**********High

border-collie-672570_960_720

https://pixabay.com/static/uploads/photo/2015/03/14/02/38/border-collie-672570_960_720.jpg

German Shepherd

Endurance- Low**********High

Speed- Low**********High

Heat Tolerance- Low**********High

Off-leash Train-ability- Low**********High

Friendliness Toward Strangers- Low**********High (Socialize well when young)

gs35-k.jpg.pagespeed.ce.9TevrbzuE_

http://www.dog-names-and-more.com/images/gs35-k.jpg.pagespeed.ce.9TevrbzuE_.jpg

Another really good option is going to your local shelter or rescue organization and adopting a dog. A lot of dogs are given up because they have too much energy. Many behavior problems are solved by simply giving the dog more exercise. If you want a dog to run with this is a great opportunity for you to save a life and in return get a great running partner.

Remember that just like humans, not all dogs want to be runners. Just because you may have one of the breeds I listed doesn’t mean they are automatically great runners. It takes time to build up a dogs strength to run with you and some dogs prefer other types of activities. Listen to your dog and don’t push him or her to do things that could cause injury. There are lots of other ways to exercise a dog besides running with him or her.

Have a great Saturday!

Any other breeds you want to add?

What dog breed do you have? Do you run with your dog?

50k! That was Hard!

Saturday I ran the North Fork 50k. It was extremely hard for me, if I could go back and train all over again, I would incorporate many more hills into my training plan. I knew the race would be hard and have lots of hills and I did train on hilly trails but I feel like I would have felt better about this race if I trained even more on the trails.

Here is the elevation profile of the race, as you can tell, lots of ups and downs.

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I really don’t remember much before mile 5. I was pretty focused on getting to that aid station because I knew some of my friends were waiting there to cheer me on. I passed that first aid station still feeling pretty strong. At about mile 10, near the second aid station, my legs were pretty sore, I was worried because I still had a little less than 22 miles to go, so if I was already sore, what would that mean for the rest of the race?  That feeling passed when I saw Hershey and my parents waiting for me at the second aid station. That gave me the boost I needed to keep it up and I felt better.

The whole course was really beautiful.

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After mile 10, I remember lots of rolling hills, the race went through an area that had some fire damage and it was pretty sad to see all of the dead trees. Around mile 15 was when the 50k and the 50 milers separated and went different routes, we had all been doing the same course until then. The 50 milers went off to do a 18 mile detour and eventually would end up back where the split was to finish their race. Let me just say those people who do 50 and 100 milers are extremely amazing! At that point in the race I wasn’t even sure I would make the 50k so I couldn’t even imagine if I was running 50 miles! Right after the split of the two races around mile 15 there was a huge uphill. I don’t really remember much about it besides the fact that I was angry with the hill, with my legs, and with myself for not training harder. That was probably my lowest point in the whole race, I almost dropped out but then at the aid station around mile 20 I got to see my friends again. At the aid station, I was able to drink some Gatorade that my friends had brought and they were also nice enough to put some more water in my backpack because I was almost out. That gave me the confidence that I could do this! Just 12 more miles!

I left the aid station feeling confident but still hurting. I think the Gatorade really helped because I had a burst of energy and was even able to run up some of the hills at that point.

After that it all kind of blurred together, I was just so focused on being done that I didn’t really think about much else. At the last aid station, about 3.9 miles from the finish, the volunteers there filled up my pack with ice and water. I was really happy after that because I knew that most of the hard inclines were over and I had enough water (and it was cold!) to get me through.

My dad was waiting for me at about the 31 mile mark. He had hiked in and once he saw me he started running down so he could see me at the finish. I didn’t think I had any more energy left but I was so ready to be done and seeing my Dad just gave me that needed push. That last mile or so was probably my fastest since mile 5, it helped that it was pretty much all downhill.

I finished and told myself I would never ever do that again. But who knows because that’s what I said after my first marathon and I signed up for my next one two months later.

My time was about 8 hours and 27 minutes. That’s a long time to be running! My best friend who also ran it finished about an hour before.

So there’s the long review of my first 50k! I meant to get more pictures but I wasn’t able to. I’m now pretty sore and have a pretty nasty sunburn (because I stupidly didn’t put on sunscreen) so I think I’m going to take at least a week off from running just to give my body some time to heal and recover.

So would I do it again? Not if I trained the way I did this time around. If I ever did another 50k I would do all of my long runs on trails so that my body is used to running on that terrain for a long time. I was pretty good about sticking to my long runs on my training schedule but I did most of them just around my house which is pretty flat. I also skipped a lot of the shorter runs and hill repeats in my schedule and I now think that’s part of the reason I struggled so much.

My parents and Hershey did an 8-9 mile hike while they were waiting for me so Hershey has been pretty worn out too these past few days.

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Anyone ever do a 50k or longer? What was your training like?

Anyone have any races coming up?