I have been impatiently waiting until Saffi is old enough to come running with me. I was going to wait until she was nine – 10 months however she runs SO hard and fast on walks I decided it would be ok to start slightly earlier as it wouldn’t make any difference to her speed. Personally, I haven’t run for a while and am not very fast so it’s not as if she wouldn’t be able to keep up.
We went on our first run at the weekend and it was BRILLIANT! Until we reached Barnes Common I kept Saffi on the lead and when she realised I was going to be running too she kept stopping to let me catch up with her with the sweetest expression as if to say, ‘come on slow coach!’ Perhaps she finds the runs more stimulating than running but she (touch wood) has been so well behaved on the runs. Not that she’s naughty otherwise but her recall and biddability are even better than on standard walks. And I find that because I’m distracted from the discomfort (ahem ahem!) of recommencing running after such a long break because we’re having so much fun.
My new running partner Saffi approaching the Circus currently on Barnes Common
Over the last few months Saffi has learnt to understand the commands ‘stop’ and ‘walk’. I have my Dad to thank for this – he introduced the new commands because Saffi exhibits next to no road awareness or sense. On runs I’ve found these commands so useful… as we approach a road I shout ‘stop’ and she waits for me and when her lead is reattached and it’s safe to cross the road I say ‘walk’. Since she has picked up these commands so well I’m gradually introducing ‘run’, ‘left’, ‘straight on’, ‘right’ and ‘this way’.
In fact my Dad, who won’t admit it but was apprehensive about Marcus and I getting a dog, has taken a real interest in Saffi’s training and activities he can do with her. He has bought a whistle which Saffi cannot ignore even when she’s having a ‘cloth ears’ moment and more recently bought a contraption to ‘attach’ her to his bike so that he can go cycling with her. The picture below shows his first attempt using a short length of broom handle cable tied to the bike with an elasticated strap and carabiner clip. He then went for the ‘Walky Dog bike attachment’ commercial model at K9: http://www.k9active.co.uk/walky-dog-bike-attachment-p/b41b01000wda.htm.
Reluctant Guinea Pig…
Saffi isn’t 100% sure about cycling just yet but we are taking a family mini-break in the Peak District in a couple of weeks and hope to do a cycle ride – by then we hope she’ll start to enjoy it. We’ll also take a pannier with us so that we can carry Saffi if she gets tired – we’re aware that she’s still young and don’t want to over-exercise her. I’ll report back as to how well it goes!