Friday, March 11, 2011

Walking the dog

I took this dog for a walk today.

It was a long walk. Really long. Like, 2.41 miles long.

That's pretty long when you're only 7 months old. (Okay, fine, 7.5 months old. STILL.)

Did I ever tell the story of how we came to own a standard poodle? My kids are seriously allergic to dogs, but daughter H and the husband really wanted one. They finally wore me down sometime last year and I agreed to get a dog, but for obvious reasons, it had to be a hypoallergenic breed. After some research, we narrowed our choices down to a schnauzer or a poodle.

But I had a further requirement (and I felt like the family owed that to me, since I finally agreed to get a dog and all): I wanted a dog that would be big enough to run with me.

There are large schnauzers, yes. But I wanted a REALLY big dog. And a schnauzer just didn't feel like a good fit for our family. So, a standard poodle it was.

Mister Awful Adorable is getting pretty big now. I'm allowed to start running with him when he's a year old, so to prepare him for that, I've been walking him quite a bit and working with him on matching my pace. He is doing SO GREAT on the leash. Like, amazingly great, when you consider he's still a puppy. (Our awesome trainers get the credit for that. They have worked miracles with this dog.)

He doesn't lunge or pull my arm off. He doesn't pee on every vertical object we pass. He doesn't bark at anyone or anything, not even the dogs behind the fences who bark their freaking rottweiler heads off when we walk by. He does tend to hesitate a bit when someone is walking toward us on the same side of the street, and he's a little freaked out by kids on bikes (he's used to strollers, though). He pays no attention whatsoever to the cars. He mostly stays right by my left side, or just a step ahead of me, trotting happily along.

For the first mile and three-quarters, anyway.

Then he got tired. He just wanted to sit down. I'm sure he would have been happy if I'd carried him, but hello, he is 50+ pounds now. That was not going to happen. So he'd sit, and I'd pet him, and then I'd make him get up and walk a little more (which he did, gamely). Rinse, repeat. For .66 miles along a busy street. It began to feel like some sort of twisted doggy death march after a while. I was pretty sure the poodle rescue people were going to pull up any minute, take him away, and give him to a nice, sane family that doesn't exercise.

But as soon as we turned the corner onto our street he rallied and dragged me the rest of the way home. Then he drank a gallon of water, peed a gallon of pee, and took a nap on the nice cool tile in our entryway.

I was a little worried I had overworked his hips, but after his nap he was 100% fine and has been bounding up and down the stairs and jumping around like a maniac (in other words, acting completely normal)(for him). There's a chance I may have given him a whopping case of Stockholm Syndrome, because while he is usually glued to the husband's side, today he hasn't left mine. And he's been extra cuddly and affectionate, which I don't mind at all.

Still, I think we'll keep our walks a little shorter for a while and work our way SLOWLY up to 2+ miles.

He's still just a baby, after all. Even if he is the size of a Volkswagen.


  1. The after-exercise is the sweet spot. We try to run the dogs like made at the park on Saturday morning, then bring them home and rush out for breakfast while they sleep so we don't feel guilty for leaving them on our day off. Seriously? Their daycare costs about ten times what I paid for the kids' daycare when they were little. What were we thinking getting a dog - nay, TWO??

  2. I love my little dogs, but now that I'm starting to run and love running. I wish I had a big dog to run with.

  3. Well done on figuring out the puppy photography! Perfect lighting, and no blur of fur!

  4. He is a seriously cute fellow.
    Maybe his pads got tender. That was a long walk!
    He will be really happy to run with you when he is a big guy. You made a great choice.

  5. Will ya look at his expression?
    I would NEVER have a dog but I can surely appreciate a nice looking one. And when I see eyes like those, well I go: AWWW.
    But you keep it.

  6. Oh, I still suck at the photography. I think the dog has just gotten better at sitting still for more than 1/200000th of a second. But thanks!

  7. Did you ever tell us his name? He's a beauty. I wonder if he'll get confused when you get on the treadmill.

  8. He looks a bit psycho (before) and a bit knackered psycho (after). Not sure which I prefer. Did you measure the pee?

  9. OMG, he is the size of Volkswagen! I can't believe how big he is already! Sounds like he will make a great running partner. :)