And this perilous undertaking? I took Ricky for a run.
I'd been thinking about it ever since I saw someone's Facebook post earlier that day about taking their dog for a run. When I'd gotten Toby I'd been hoping that he'd become a running companion but he's a walker not a runner. I've tried. I really have. And the most I've ever been able to convince him to do is 5k - in the middle of winter. Once it gets a little warmer I'm lucky if we can get more than a kilometre before he drags me to a dead stop, lies down and refuses to go any further.
Ricky, on the other hand, is built to run. He's a lean, mean running machine. But he's not so obedient on a leash which is where the danger lay. Crazy, excited dog on a leash barrelling along with only my body weight to act as a brake. It had potential disaster written all over it.
The greater good that I was potentially sacrificing life and limb for was our family's traditional fish and chip night. Every Sunday we plonk ourselves on the couch in front of the TV and scoff fried food - don't judge! It was never really an issue to be eating food down within reach of hungry, slobbering dogs B.R. (before Ricky) but Ricky is a Dalmatian and Dalmatians love their food.
Golden Retrievers also love their food but they love the approval of their owners more so Toby was always fairly restrained when it came to fish and chip night. Throw in a bit of black and white spotted competition and some corticosteroid-induced hunger and let's just say that Toby's exemplary fish and chip night behaviour started to slide a little. And on a couple of nights we even had to break up dog fights.
So I decided that a bit of a run might calm Ricky down and we might get a relaxed meal while we watched the Australian Open Men's final.
Ricky thought that the run suggestion was a great idea. In fact, he was so excited that I wasn't allowed out of his sight for a second. Even to go to the toilet. Toby also was excited about it so I felt really mean when I only got one lead down. (Don't feel too sorry for Toby because he and Bubbles were going to get a nice, peaceful, Ricky-free walk with Iven)
And then we were off. There was a bit of walking to start off with - because our house is at the bottom of a hill and I hate hills at the best of times and even more so when I haven't warmed up. Then we got to the top of the hill and we were really off. And flying down the other side. Until I managed to haul him under control.
The next uphill seemed almost effortless thanks to the pulling power of 26kg canine powerhouse. And we positively flew along the flats. Ricky was in his element and I was having an unplanned tempo session. I had no idea how fast we were going but by my breathing I guessed it was probably somewhere around the 5 min k mark.
After about 1k the manic excitement had settled down and Ricky was running at a controlled trot. A fast controlled trot. He was obeying directions fairly well and we even managed to get past the black Labrador without a big meet and greet. But I would have to say that my proudest moment was running past the woman who was squatting while doing a bit of weeding without having to stop and sniff her butt.
We slowed to a walk after 3k. Not because he was wanting to but because it was still almost 30C and this was his first run and I didn't want his first run to end with him having heat stroke. We found a tap, had a quick drink then ran/walked the rest of the way home.
I think, from all the sweaty kisses, that he really enjoyed it. But as far as a cure for bad behaviour on fish and chip night was concerned, I'd have to call it a fail. There was still a greedy Dalmatian trying to steal as many chips as possible. I guess the lure of fried food is too great.
And if you want to know how fast a 26kg Dalmatian can run towing a 62 kg weight, the answer is 4:56/k