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.
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?