Sunday, January 31, 2016

Ricky Run-ning Amok

I did something extremely brave yesterday. I put my life on the line in the interest of the greater good. And by the greater good I mean just my family not all of humanity - I'm not that self-sacrificing. It was an extremely risky undertaking. I could have been slightly injured, permanently maimed or worse. But I managed to come out of it unscathed.

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


  1. Love it. We used to have a very naughty Dalmation in our neighbourhood called Jackson. He wore a distinguishing red bandanna. He was always getting into trouble and would be seen tearing around the streets being chased by the dog catcher. Fish and chips on Sunday night sounds lovely. I can't blame the dogs dribbling over it.

  2. That's awesome Char. Lucy likes to run and we used to do about 5-10km -- but her joints didn't like it so I had to stop and walk.

  3. Love that, so you did have you garmin on, because a run is a run... (unless you don't have your garmin on!)

    1. Of course I had the Garmin on. Just in case I needed to know how fast Ricky can run.

  4. What? A run AND fish and chips? From a Dalmatian's perspective - DAY MADE!

  5. Love it! Especially since he loves it so much.

    Bella is like Toby: more a walker. I tried to run with her a couple of times but it was a disaster. Either she refused to run or would stop right in front of me so it became more a steeplechase for me by having to jump over her.

    If you are going to do this more often: there are leashes for sale that you can put around your waist so that you have your hands free.

  6. awh love it!! I have thought about taking my dog for a run, but I think we have to master walking, first. LOL

  7. Atsa goodboy!!! I think it would kill Jack if we tried the same with him.

  8. That's fantastic, the next thing you need to do is get one of those waist leads. A vet running friend of mine has one and I've been with her on a run (her dog was on the leash, not me!!) and it was fantastic, and somehow her dog just knew it was time to run well when he was on it. Great control. I wonder if you've seen what happens to our dog at the 2km mark - he stops, nope not going any further and we have to run home with him under our arms!! ;-)


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