Coach Kelly requested a post on running with your favorite fur babies, so this one’s for you Coach!
Some of my favorite runs are with my favorite girl! It fills my heart to see her so happy and have so much fun! The world is her playground!
Before running with Basil, we went on MANY walks to teach her commands that we wanted her to know before actually running with us. We did some of these walks on leash, and others off leash. Teaching her to follow commands both on leash and off leash were important to us for her safety, because we want to let her off leash to run when it is safe. Sure, she isn’t always perfect and sometimes forgets her listening ears, but she’s right where we want her approximately 95% of the time. Here are some commands your dog should know before he/she runs with you:
- When coming up to an intersection, I give Basil the command for the direction I intend to go: left, right or forward (straight sounds too much like right). She knows these commands well and instantly goes in the direction given.
- We do a fair amount of running on the streets against the flow of traffic, so it is important for Basil to heel when a vehicle is coming toward us. We have trained her to run on our left when she is heeling so that she is not in harms way of oncoming traffic.
- When we are running and there is something that Basil finds appealing (another runner going in the opposite direction, a child, a rabbit, a squirrel), I tell her to “leave it.” When given this command, she typically leaves whatever it is that has appealed to her. This is a command we frequently use in the house as well when we drop human food and don’t want her to snatch it up.
- Since we often run on the street, it is important for her to know “up” and “off” when we have to get “up” on the curb, or back “off” the curb and onto the street.
- When we come up on a busy intersection, I tell Basil to “stop” and “wait” until it is safe for us to cross the busy intersection. Sometimes I have her sit to wait until it is safe for us to cross. This allows me to focus on watching the passing traffic instead of needing to watch Basil. Once it is clear for us to cross the road, I tell Basil to “cross” so she knows it is safe to cross the street.
- There are some places where we run that I let Basil off leash letting her run free. We have a few parks, golf courses (in the winter), gravel roads and trails where Basil can run off leash. When she is running free, I have such a #happyheart watching her. Pure joy! But this also means that she needs to know when to “come back” to me when called. Sure she chases after squirrels, rabbits, and the occasional deer…she’s a Labrador, but she always “comes back” grinning from ear to ear!
Through routine, consistency, and LOTS of treats (which are really just dog food kibbles), Basil is one of the best running partners ever!