Thanks, Cocoand Deborah, I’m sitting here with my hot chocolate (whether it’s cold or hot outside!) and I have a lot of unusual animal sightings to share with you this month.
If we were enjoying tea/coffee . . . I’d tell you I we did see the Albino squirrel again. He was hanging out in one of our pine trees grooming himself in a rain storm. Unfortunately Mr. Judy was unable to get good photos this time — although he actually went out in the rain to try!
If we were enjoying tea/coffee . . . I’d tell you Mr. Judy also noticed a deer in our yard. The first time we’d ever seen a young deer in our yard was last year; we figured he’d gotten lost and we never saw him again. This was a doe and her adolescent fawn.
The interesting thing was that the doe had white blotches, kind of like a pain/pinto horse. I’ve never seen a doe that looked like that. They were running through the neighborhood too fast for Mr. Judy to take any photos, alas.
We joked what’s next? Bear? Tigers? Elephants?
If we were enjoying tea/coffee . . . I’d tell you I was very excited when I saw this bird hanging out on top of the kennel. I thought maybe it was a baby hawk. My birder friend informed me it’s a fledgling Robin. Can you believe I’ve never really seen one? And he was big!
If we were enjoying tea/coffee . . . I’d tell you that a long time ago I had wanted to try an Amazon Firestick (we don’t have cable) but never did buy one. We got the light version of it on Amazon Prime Day. It came with several free months of both Disney+ and Hulu. We’re almost set for the Summer now.
We watched Nomadland, which I’d wanted to see. It was slow, and although I adore Frances McDormand, I was actually rather shocked she won the Oscar for that performance. It was still an interesting movie and I’m glad we watched it.
We have started WandaVision (we’re big Marvel fans) — I’d heard so many raves about that show, and I’m enjoying it so far. I also enjoy that the episodes are short!
If we were enjoying tea/coffee . . . I’d tell you I still want to get HBOMax so I can see “In The Heights” before it’s gone (7/11, in case you were wondering). My sister didn’t think it was that great, but I still want to see it and I think there are other shows on HBOMax we’d enjoy. My sister and my cousin both recommended Mare of Eastown..
Seen some unusual animals in your neighborhood recently?
When you get a good workout in, you feel good for the rest of the day. It helps clear the mind. — Reggie Miller
One of the things I do first thing in the morning is practice Yoga. I have only missed one morning in the last eight months: the morning after my second vaccine when I had a fever. Sometimes it’s a short practice, sometimes it’s a longer one. Not only does it clear my mind, it makes my body feel good, too.
I’ve also noticed that when I’m forced to get my runs in earlier due to heat, there’s a definite satisfaction to getting in so many steps before breakfast. Let’s be clear, though: I still enjoy a nice, relaxed morning when it hasn’t heated up and I can take my time before my run.
Getting in scheduled runs I managed to bump up to running 4 x week a for most of June. I did it by embracing the short, very easy recovery run. I’m not really sure that I’ll ever love a recovery run, but knowing I didn’t even have to run my usual 3 miles definitely made it easier.
Recording my runs I have veered off course here again . . . seriously, I need to start using my planner again because it helps me to keep focused. It’s a broken record, folks!
Grade Earned: C
Dynamic Warmup I always do my warmup, and I even did a short warm up walk . . . once or twice? Hey, baby steps!
Grade Earned: A
I pretty much foam roll (or some variation of foam rolling) every morning. I do the very fast foam rolling with small stick like roller before every run. So far this works great for me.
Grade Earned: A++
Nutrition In May I seemed to be doing well with my weight, feeling less bloated, clothes fitting better . . . until I wasn’t. One of the things I’ve had to rein in (but not give up completely) is my From the Ground Up Chip obsession. It had gotten to the point that I was eating some daily. Chips are chips, whether they’re healthier or not so healthy. They’re not really a power food.
That was one of the changes I made in June — I didn’t stop eating them, I just ate them less often. I made a few other small changes. Things seem to be slowly heading in the right direction again . . . until I didn’t want to cook and made some poor choices.
Somehow the other stuff I want/need to do seems to take precedence over cooking, and that’s not a good precedent. I’m working on that, too.
Grade Earned: B+ (for trying)
Yoga, running, a little more hiking, walking, not so much indoor cycling. I have been doing a bit more strength training.
Grade Earned: A+
June 2021 gets . . .
. . . an A. I got up to an 8 mile run (twice!) — I figured I had to take advantage of good weather running, because I’m pretty sure that won’t happen all Summer. Nutrition and weight have been a struggle the last couple of months, and there are some skirts that I could wear, but not feel comfortable in. I pay attention, though, and I keep trying to get back to a more comfortable place for me (without deprivation).
Add in some stationary cycling/hiking. Y/N. No stationary cycling, yes a few short hikes.
ST 3 x week. Y.I built off my success in May and continued to build on ST. Sometimes it’s light weights, sometimes heavier, sometimes just bodyweight. It’s all good.
Strength for Wheel Pose. Y/N. I left this in, but it’s a goal I think I’m going to let go — again. I’m just working on strength in general.
Flexibility Challenge. Y/N. I taped one video, but there was some frustrating tech and I haven’t figured it out — still!
Continue to try to eat intuitively — unless the weight starts to creep up.. Y. The weight did creep up, but I paid that heed and made some changes.
Which leads me to July Goals:
Shorter/Recovery runs after harder runs. When they’re after a long run, yes, they’re recovery runs. After a short speedwork or even just a short easy run? Are they junk miles? Personally, I’m saying this works for me right now and they’re not junk miles.
ST 3 x week. I began to struggle to squeeze it in 3 x week towards the end of June. I lose an entire day, basically, when I visit family. I actually don’t do it quite as much in Summer — so many things to do & see! If I can do it more weeks than not, I’m happy.
A project with a friend. I have a project to work on with a friend. Should be fun! We’ve done week 1, I have some stuff to do — 3 more weeks to go.
A few Yoga teaching opportunities. I donated a class as a prize for our big women’s race. Working to get her information and set up a time. Also an opportunity to teach a class online as part of a project to expose someone’s students to different teaching styles. Another project isn’t teaching, but writing up a piece on being a “Wellness Warrior” to tell my fitness journey.
Continue to try to eat intuitively — unless the weight starts to creep up.Not really at a happy weight right now. Don’t get me wrong, it’s only a few pounds, but when you’re as short as I am, they can make a really big difference! I know I can get there — but I do have to make time to cook more. And make wise choices when we’re away in July.
Looking ahead I could tell next week wasn’t going to be a good time for us to be daytripping and hiking. Wednesday was really picture perfect so we headed out to Lenox, Ma for some good food and walking and a short hike. Sandwiched in between I completed four runs and some strength training.
PB = Killer B
TM = Treadmill
WU = warmup
CD = cooldown
SB = Stationary Bike
Monday Intention: hot, sweaty, easy Our weather has just been bonkers the latter part of the Spring, the temps are all over the place. Knowing that it would be hot and humid today (then cooling down supposedly as the week goes on), I got my butt out the door relatively early and just ran by feel.
It was what I call a bell curve run: started out slow and easy, slowed down from there, then on the last mile speeded up a tiny bit faster than the first mile. There was a really nice breeze going, and that helped tremendously.
Tuesday Intention: recover Easy two mile recovery run. Ran in a cool-ish drizzle. Yes, we have everyone’s rain, apparently. Yes, it was significantly faster than the previous day. It was only about 10 degrees cooler when I started — much later than the previous day — but so much cooler. It was also forecast to basically stay at those temps the rest of the day — 30 degrees cooler than the previous day’s high temperature. Weather Whiplash, indeed.
Friday Intention: stay the course I didn’t really have a plan, but with another heatwave headed towards us, I decided to take advantage of still cool-ish weather and see what my body wanted to do. Not quite sure it really wanted to run 8 miles, and the pace was all over the place, but I got it done. No desire to go longer, and probably will be dropping back down with heat and humidity dropping in.
Saturday Intention: recover The thermostat’s going up. Out for a short walk with Bandit, who is really feeling any heat these days — so lovely, breezy, and cloudy. Then a snack, quick change, and out for my nice & slow recovery run. Thank goodness I had to the foresight to bring water, which I normally don’t do because it’s only 2 miles. The sun was out, and while it certainly wasn’t unbearable, I needed that water — and probably more!
Favorites of the week
We had a really nice daytrip to Lenox, Ma this week. We stopped at a small preserve first, which truly was a walk in the woods. There are more difficult paths there, but it’s always a tradeoff finding the right length/difficulty for us all. Then an al fresco lunch, at an area we’ve been to a few times before — but for the first time we discovered there’s trails from the back of there, too!
So we took a steeper, but shorter hike, before I went to buy chocolate. I have now got some more trails bookmarked to explore in Lenox for a return trip someday. I also found some gardens that look amazing — but suspect that Bandit might not be welcome there. I’ll find out though!
While there were no big deals on Amazon Prime for us, there were plenty of smaller deals, and the packages are slowly rolling in. I often take the longer delivery to get digital credits when they’re offered — and then have a hard time deciding which kindle book of my very long wish list I want to apply them to!
I also had a friend come over for a chat in the backyard yesterday, and we did some Yoga together, too. Fun!
Are you planning any escapes this Summer?
Any great deals on Amazon Prime Day?
How’s your fitness going?
ICYMI: Feeling spacey? Try this guided Root Chakra meditation (won’t be live until 12:30) here.
Coming up on Tuesday: I’m wrapping up June — wow, halfway through 2021! On Friday it’s already July and time to gather over the hot beverage of your choice.
Three months in and I still have runfessions about my Garmin! I’m also coming clean about those early morning runs and my desperate need for a haircut.
I runfess . . . On a recent early morning hot run, I saw the mama duck and her ducklings again, which I wrote about in that WRD. What I didn’t share? I stopped to take photos and a short video.
I kept messing up pausing and unpausing my Garmin. That first mile came out to almost an 18 mm pace. I have actually run that slowly — but on steep trails when it was very hot. It doesn’t really matter, but it was a little frustrating and for once not my Garmin’s fault.
Oh yes, and I also did that on a recent hike with Mr. Judy and Bandit.
I runfess . . . I struggle with whether to walk Bandit before my run or run first when the heat is on. There was even one day I wasn’t running but I didn’t want to skip my first thing in the morning Yoga. Usually running wins, but I have been getting out there earlier and earlier — but sometimes he gets walked first.
I runfess . . . There is a certain satisfaction to having 10k+ steps before 8 am. That’s the reward for those early morning runs. The downside is I find that as the Summer wears on, those early mornings begin to wear me out. I ran with USAFit for several years, and we definitely got out there pretty darn early as the Summer went on to accommodate our longer & longer runs.
I am not missing those 0’dark thirty long runs
I runfess . . . There was a morning recently when a lot of swearing was going on downstairs. Turns out a hornet had gotten into our office, but thankfully Mr. Judy took care of it. Not long after that I put on my shoes to walk Bandit, took a few steps outside, when suddenly there was a stabbing pain in my toe.
My first thought was there was a hornet in my shoe! I kept feeling that pain! I took my shoe off — it was a single pine needle stabbing into my big toe.
I runfess . . . When we walk Bandit, I put my hair up into a ponytail and stuff it all under a hat. A while ago as I did this I noticed the hair was falling into my eyes, which was annoying. I would have to sort of shove it back under the hat at my forehead.
It’s a clear sign that I am in desperate need of a haircut, and yet I still haven’t made that appointment. It has nothing to do with COVID; I just haven’t gotten around to it.
The hair also annoys me when I have to move it out of the way when I roll over onto a different side in bed. Yet I enjoy throwing it up in a loose bun and having a long braid. I’m a bit undecided how short I want to go, plus I know when I get it cut she’ll go a little shorter than I want — but seriously, this needs to get done!
Drag yourself out of bed early to run or bounce right out of bed?
Couldn’t wait to get back to normal hair or embracing some change?
I cheated a little: I’m sharing things I saw on a long run a couple of weeks ago.
Animals I saw the usual animals:
Nothing unusual in the list. Sometimes I do see something more exotic like a turtle or a groundhog or beaver, maybe even a bald eagle if I’m really lucky (actually, never at this section of the bike path, but I have on other sections), but I was running along and thinking this is kind of a boring run.
Humans and their companions It’s a popular trail so it’s rare that you don’t see someone, even in Winter. People walking their dogs, their kids. People riding their bikes. Other runners. Occasionally skateboarders, but not this day.
A guy fishing This isn’t unusual either, although most of the time I don’t see people fishing here. But once in a while I do. I always wonder what the heck they catch out of the algae choked canal. Is it edible? Or are they just fishing because it destresses them?
The grand finale Seriously, I was running and thinking this is a really boring run. Nothing to see here. Then it happened . . .
I did not see this on the way out. I can be pretty oblivious sometimes, listening to my own thoughts, but I don’t really think I could have run anywhere near the union jack jester’s hat above and missed it. Since this was almost at the end of the run, it did keep me occupied, wondering who would ever wear such a thing? More importantly, why? Finally, why would they leave it on the trail?
What is the weirdest thing you’ve seen on a run?
If you run by a water source, are there people out fishing?
Looking forward to see what you see on the run!
The Summer Solstice, which starts tonight, is a little bittersweet — because from here on out the days get shorter. Even knowing that we can still enjoy the long days of Summer and extra sunshine while we have it!
PB = Killer B
TM = Treadmill
WU = warmup
CD = cooldown
SB = Stationary Bike
Monday Intention: much slower intervals I woke up to pouring rain and thunder & lightning. It looked like there might be a break around 8 am — nope. I had planned a treadmill run, and then I had hopes I could squeeze my run in outside — but it wasn’t worth risking it. I’ve been caught in a thunderstorms on the run. 3 times.
Of course it was fine the whole time I was running on the treadmill
I did a 45 Peloton Rock Run, but I made sure I wasn’t pushing as hard as my last Intervals run. I’ve been pushing a few weeks now, and it’s time to cut it back just a bit. I was still doing intervals, but not as fast. All was well until the last 10 minutes when my Ipad lost Wifi apparently — I just did a steady pace until I hit 3 miles and called it good.
After I showered and it was still clear, so I walked Bandit. We had already turned around but were still at least half a mile from home when I heard more thunder. Luckily he seemed to sense the need to get home, and by the time we got there, of course the thunder has stopped — for a while.
Tuesday Intention: recover Easy two mile recovery run. Really not much to say (or apparently remember) from this one.
Thursday Intention: increase distance I really feel for those of you out in the west & midwest! Meanwhile we have been enjoying some damn nice weather this week (don’t worry, our luck ran out on Saturday, the day we were hiking). I took advantage of that to run 8 miles. 8 very slow miles. At some point I saw either a groundhog or a beaver — I was too far away to tell which. Still nothing terribly exciting on the run!
Friday Intention: recover Another cool, dry morning. It’s heating up, but not quickly. I know it’s almost Summer, but this is the Spring weather we skipped and I love it! We walked Bandit first, because although not super hot, no cloud cover. The running pace was quicker than the long run pace again — but far shorter.
Favorites of the week
Seriously? The weather! Except for Monday we had great weather this week. I wrote that before Saturday dawned really hot & humid! Well, most of the days were great.
A nice day hiking, eating outside, and time with family yesterday. It’s so nice to get together with people without masking. And hugging them!
If you’re caught in the heatwave, how are you coping?
If you do a recovery run, ever have it be faster than the long run?
Did you know the Summer Solstice and the longest day of the year is Monday?
ICYMI: I’ve got a great Summer Solstice flow that will tone you from top to bottom. It’s Beginner-friendly but that doesn’t mean it’s easy! You’ll find the video here. Keep your eyes peeled on my FB pages on Monday — I’m hoping to have Yin Yoga practice for the Solstice up tomorrow (if that’s your thing).
Coming up on Tuesday: I’m wrapping up June — wow, halfway through 2021! On Friday I’ve got a few things to get off my chest. It’s Runfession time!
Do you get bored with the same routes, the same distances, the same paces? You can mix it up without working to hard. I’ve got five running “workouts” you can play with the next time your find yourself in a running rut.
Disclaimer: I am not a running coach. These are just fun little workouts I use sometimes to get out of a running rut.
1: Pick Ups Every runner is different, but I find I often run at a non challenging pace by default. A lot of runners have trouble running slower, but if you’re more like me and slow is your jam, just literally pick up the pace during a run. For however long you feel like. Usually I’m like that really didn’t feel so hard, why was I running so slowly?
2: Run hard for short distances Mile repeats? I’ve done them but I don’t like them, gotta be honest. Tempo runs? Not surprisingly I’m not a fan of tempos either! Those longer intervals work. If you’re just looking to have a little fun running faster for a just a bit, go short: 200 meters just might be your sweet spot.
3: Alternate hard miles The opposite of #2, this is a strategy I use in longer races and runs sometimes. It’s the longer intervals but with a break in between. Pick up the pace for a mile, then ease off the next — repeat as necessary.
4: Run faster on the downhills I know some people are afraid of opening up the throttle on a downhill, but running downhill fast has always felt exhilarating to me. Probably why I love downhill races!
5: Add in a little PT Start off with a little agility — grapevine, anyone? Run a while. Do sideways squats. Run some more. Do some skipping. Run some more. You get the idea. Do some high knees, some butt kicks, some toy soldiers. It would be a great way to get in those drills we know we should do, but then never do. I have to admit I would probably feel too self conscious to do this outdoors — but I have done some variations of this when I’m on the mill indoors.
Final Thoughts Running can seem monotonous sometimes, but it really doesn’t have to be.
If you’re interested in diving a bit deeper into the Chakras (I mention them briefly in the Rainbow Challenge), you can learn more from the videos in my Yin Yoga Chakra Playlist; click here.
Sometimes you need a distraction I came up with both of the challenges above when I was running in my own neighborhood. A lot! It’s not that big, I’m not a huge fan of looping, and besides, I’m also walking Bandit here almost every day.
Both times these challenges served me well. They took my mind off of the monotony of running in the same place over and over again.
Why it’s better to be present on the run I think taking in nature on the run is important. One of the reasons running can be so great is because it gets us out of our houses and into the fresh air!
I would argue, though, that we can get more from running when we ditch the distractions. We actually look around us and take in the beauty of nature. The sky, the animals, the sounds around us, the breezes on our bodies. The changes we see as the seasons change.
Being truly present on our runs can help to build up that mental toughness we need if we’re racing. If you’re not racing (like I haven’t been for a long time) building mental toughness is still important! Running and racing aren’t the only places in life where we need mental toughness.
Ditching the music and the podcasts, even if only occasionally, can help us to connect our body and minds. Begin by noticing your breath — your breath will always give you a clue of how hard you’re running.
We can run through a body scan while we run. What are our feet doing? Turning in or out, on the inside or outside of our feet? Does something feel off? Can we change something to make it feel better? Where are we breathing from? Where are we breathing into?
Final Thoughts Sometimes distracting ourselves on the run is just what we need. You might be surprised at just how enjoyable a run without the music or the podcasts can be. Or you might find that when things get tough, you are actually tougher. That can be a really comforting thought.
Although I’m always wearing and using my Garmin, I almost never look at it. It’s there basically so I know how far I’ve run and when I’m done. It doesn’t distract me from my run.
Music can definitely be a nice distraction, but isn’t part of the reason you run to be outside enjoying nature? Why not really immerse yourself in it?
I find it’s easier to get in more fitness during the Summer — how about you? I seem to have settled into a groove of running 4 x week, even though that wasn’t a goal. I told myself I was only going to run 3 x this week, but oops.
After a very hot and humid start to the week, it finally cooled off and I just knew I had to take advantage of that!
PB = Killer B
TM = Treadmill
WU = warmup
CD = cooldown
SB = Stationary Bike
Monday Intention: beat the heat & keep it easy I didn’t get out quite as early as I’d planned — what’s new? — but this is the earliest I’ve started my run so far. Thank goodness, because there was not a cloud in the sky and even at 6:30 it was hot. It probably didn’t help that I stopped to take some photos of the Mama duck and her ducklings. Yup, she was going walkabout again. 7 ducklings! Poor mama!
Wednesday Intention: I feel the need for speed It has been about 70 and very humid when I’ve been walking Bandit for the last few days at about 6:30 am — I finally cried Uncle and decided to take it to the mill today. Which meant I could push myself a little harder than I have been lately.
I chose a 45 minute interval run. They were intervals of 4 minutes (2 at marathon pace, 2 at half pace) and 6 minutes (3 at half pace, and 3 at 5k pace) — something like that anyway. The instructor challenged you not to walk in the recovery interval but nope, I did. #sorrynotsorry.
Mr. Judy came in as I practically melted onto the mill at the end, wondering if I was okay. I was but it was not an easy workout!
Friday Intention: increase distance A dew point of 44 degrees! I took advantage of that to relax longer in the morning than usual lately, and even though it got a bit humid towards the end. even with a late start this run was fine. I thought my legs would feel heavy after the previous day’s hike, but they were fine, too. I know I said this would be a cutback week, but I took advantage of the cooler weather at the end of the week to go longer. Who knows how long that will stick around?
Saturday Intention: recover Again a cool morning, so I walked Bandit before my run, instead of after. The heat earlier in the week definitely took something out of me and I was still recovering. Although my pace was slow, still not as slow as a recovery run should be (about the same as my long run pace!). Garmin said my V02 Max nudged up to 40 afterward, which is a number I haven’t seen in a long time, so I guess I’m doing something right.
Favorites of the week
Thursday was finally a really lovely day. Mr. Judy actually suggested we hike. He wanted to go somewhere that was relatively close to home (within 30 minutes). The small park I chose wasn’t exciting, but I think we both had a good time. I know Bandit did.
We also ran into an older gentleman who used to be a runner as we were finishing up our hike. He had all sorts of stories to share with me; I’ll be sharing more of that when we meet for coffee/tea in a couple of weeks.
I had plans to go on another hike yesterday with a friend, but a long to-do list, a rainy morning, and already having tackled mud with Bandit on my last hike and my friend and I agreed neither of us really wanted to go. Today I bookmarked some hikes in MA & VT for the future.
Do you feel it’s easier to fit in more activity during Summer?
Getting out earlier to beat the heat or just enduring it?
Training or just running?
ICYMI: We are switching it up and using the wall as a prop in this hip opening Yin Yoga practice. You’ll find the video here.
Coming up on Tuesday: Why it can be good to unplug. On Friday if you’re looking to shake up your runs just a little bit, I’ve got some ideas for you.
Hiking with your dog has its ups and downs (so to speak). They sure do like to mark — where the heck does all that pee come from anyway? Your dog, if it’s fit to hike, will absolutely love exploring new territory.
If you’re ready to start hiking with your pooch, I’ve got a few tips to help you get started. One I didn’t cover: make sure you can bring your dog on the trail with you. The AllTrails App is a fairly good resource about what trails do and don’t allow dogs — because some trails just don’t (not that that stops some people).
1: Consider your dog’s age/fitness level Bandit is just about 13. Lola was doing easy hikes until the last week of her life — at 15. Both have/had slight heart murmurs (which never was a big problem with Lola, thankfully). Lola had a lot of arthritis, and Bandit has some.
You may want to consult with your vet to see what sort of hikes your dog can conquer. It can depend based on age, type, weight, and current level of activity. Your dog wants to be with you, his pack, and he won’t necessarily know when to cry uncle — so you need to know what your dog can tackle.
2: Make sure to bring water for your dog Bandit is an odd dog. He really does not like to drink water when he’s out and about. I bring a bowl for him and filtered water, because he’s just picky about his water. Lola never met water she didn’t love, LOL.
I also bring a small water bottle that fits into a pocket and give one to Mr. Judy, too, for short hikes. For longer hikes I’ll wear a hydration vest. Bandit still will only take a few sips — often when we’re done. So we have to be careful he doesn’t get dehydrated or overheated.
3: Double up on Flea/Tick preventative In addition to his regular Tick treatment, we also use a powder that can be worked into his coat the morning of a hike. It’s just an added precaution. Plus we check him for ticks afterwards. Lyme is rampant in this area, and Lola had a pretty severe case at one point. With almost no symptoms.
4: Consider the weather I once tragically heard of a dog dying from heat stroke. His owners hadn’t hiked that far and the dog was young, but it was one of the times it suddenly got hot and the dog hadn’t had time to acclimate to it.
Many hikes are a lot shadier than a normal walk. They are often cooler due to elevation, too. You may want to leave your dog at home if it’s forecast to be over 85F; we have hiked with the dogs in those temps — you just have to go early, make sure you have more water than you think you need, and keep an eye on your dog/s.
Notice whether they’re excessively panting, have pale or bright red gums, and also notice if their tail is hanging down. Be careful and be on the lookout for signs of heat stroke/exhaustion in dogs:
Dry, hot nose
Pale or bright red gums
Unable to produce urine
Diarrhea or stool with blood in it
If you think you’re dog may be experiencing heat stroke:
Pour cool (not cold) water over your dog (cold water could send them into shock and possibly stop their heart)
Get them into shade
Get them to a vet as soon as possible
5: Try a hands free leash I have a hands free leash for Bandit from when I used to run with him. I finally decided to try it on a hike. What a game changer! Sometimes on steeper hikes, it could be hard to hang onto his leash and safely hike myself.
On our most recent hike (see Bandit below), there was one section that was quite steep, downhill, and muddy. I let Mr. Judy get about halfway down that, then unclipped Bandit and handed the leash off to Mr. Judy — who gave me his hiking pole. It was a very slippery patch with nothing to hold onto to, so this worked great.
There are grips on the leash, so you can still hold onto your dog (unlike a retractable leash where you can only reel your dog in). Even better you can detach the leash — this allows me to sometimes hand Bandit over to Mr. Judy so I can easily get a little exploring in on my own (especially handy when you’re on a rock or getting close to an edge).
It also helped a lot when we stopped for lunch after our hike
Final Thoughts Hiking with your dog/s can be fun for the whole family, but don’t expect to be setting any speed records with all the sniffing and marking. It’s definitely easier with one dog, although we did quite a bit of hiking with two dogs.
Yes, little dogs can hike too. Chester, Lola, and Bandit all love/d to hike. More than once people were surprised that we were tackling a hike that was a bit more on the moderate than easy side with our little dogs.
Funny story: on one of our last hikes I wanted to sit on one of the boulders. I thought it was a bit too high for Bandit, but no sooner had turned to ask Mr. Judy’s opinion than Bandit had jumped up on top.
Then I thought he probably shouldn’t jump down (down is always harder than up on joints), but he already had. He then proceeded to jump on and off a few more times. He was having a really good time! Little dogs can surprise you with their agility, but you do have to keep an eye out for them.
Have you ever hiked with your dog/s?
Is there any doggy hiking gear you’d recommend?
Do you have an animal that is weird about their water?