We’re happy to introduce Karen London, Ph.D. as a guest blogger for The Other End of the Leash this week! Enjoy!
If people go running by your home accompanied by their cats, geckos, ferrets, parrots, or rats, then you live in a very different neighborhood, perhaps even a different world, than I do. It’s just not part of our relationship with those species, however close we may be to them. Yet running is something that many of us share with our dogs, to the point that it’s almost cliché for people to swear that their dog is the best running partner they’ve ever had.
There are so many reasons why people choose to run with their dogs beyond just knowing that their dogs need the exercise. Unlike most human running partners, dogs don’t ever have meetings that go late. They wouldn’t rather sleep in. They are always ready to go, and are generally willing to cruise at any pace with equal ease. They don’t complain that the weather is bad so they’d rather skip today’s workout. The chance to go for a run is greeted with enthusiasm by our canine companions. The truth is that dogs typically like running, which is yet another commonality between dogs and humans.
Okay, perhaps not ALL humans. (Trisha, for example, who is one of my very favorite humans, has described running as abusive though she is very active both on her farm and with long walks and hikes, which are great joys to her. She thinks it’s great that I like to run and that it makes me happy. Still, every time we room together at a conference and she sees me head out for my morning run, I can’t help wondering if she’s thinking, “Hey, better you than me!”)
In the last hundred years or so, people have become more sedentary than at any other time in our evolutionary history, and many of our dogs have joined us on the couch. (A small percentage can’t run because of health issues such as changes in structure that make the high aerobic demands of running problematic, as is the case for the brachycephalic breeds such as the Pug, Pekingese, and Bulldog, but most don’t run simply because we don’t give them the opportunity.) Though most dogs are still generally excited about running, the human species, outside of a small percentage of fanatics of the sport (or weirdos as we are sometimes called), isn’t interested in heading out to run each day anymore. As a result, those good feelings we get from running—the runner’s high—are not felt as often by as many of us. Yet, the potential to activate the chemical reactions that cause the runner’s high still exists within us. The ability to experience that rush of good feelings is shared by both dogs and people, even if we aren’t all dipping into the opportunity with the frequency that our long-ago ancestors did.
The runner’s high is caused by endocannabinoids, which are neurotransmitters in our bodies. These chemicals signal the reward centers of our brains, giving us the message that what we are feeling is pleasure. They lessen both pain and anxiety as well as create feelings of well-being. Running results in higher levels of endocannabinoids in our blood, which makes us respond to running by feeling good.
A recent study by researchers at the University of Arizona investigated the production of endocannabinoids in multiple species, including dogs, as a result of running. There are lots of advantages to running, including to capture prey and to avoid being captured by predators, but endurance running is still not likely to happen if it feels bad. These scientists were interested to know whether it’s possible that species that do a lot of long-distance running evolved to like running via the pathway of reward centers in the brain that respond to chemicals produced while running.
The researchers predicted that there would be a different chemical response to running in species with a history of endurance running compared to species whose natural history does not include running. Specifically, they predicted that running would result in chemical reactions in the brain that are associated with pleasure in endurance running species but not in species that don’t typically run long distances.
To investigate this issue, they compared the effects of running on endocannabinoid levels in three species. Two of the species—dogs and humans—come from long lines of endurance runners over the eons. Running has been an integral part of their evolutionary histories, even if not all of individuals of those species regularly run today. The other species, the ferret, is not a running species. Though ferrets can move pretty quickly over short stretches, running for long distances is not a part of their natural history.
The experiment involved training dogs, people, and ferrets to run and walk on a treadmill and taking blood samples from their subjects before and after they ran or walked. (Not surprisingly, it was way easier to train dogs and people to do this than to train the ferrets!) The blood samples taken after running from dogs and people contained highly elevated levels of one particular endocannabinoid, which is called anandamide. The blood samples from ferrets after running on the treadmill did not show elevated levels of anandamide, or any other cannabinoid. None of the species had elevated levels of any cannabinoid after walking.
This study provides evidence that dogs and humans receive a chemical reward for running but that ferrets do not. When I say that dogs receive a “reward”, it’s hard not to think like the dog trainer I am and compare this change in brain chemistry to a treat, since both provide pleasure. It gives our dogs pleasure to eat steak, which is why steak makes such a great reinforcement for training. Dogs are more likely to perform a behavior if doing so makes pieces of steak available. Having the reward center of the brain activated by the chemicals produced while running is a high-quality reinforcement for running, and one that has been acted on by the forces of evolution to reward people and dogs for running. In species that are endurance runners, the changes in our chemistry as a result of running and those effects on the brain help us enjoy running.
The brains of dogs and humans—both natural runners—are hardwired to enjoy running, which may have provided the evolutionary mechanism necessary for us to develop such skill at it. The quirk of brain chemistry that makes both dogs and humans love running is not universal among mammals. Ferrets, for example, derive no pleasure from running.
Simply put, this study shows that dogs and humans, unlike ferrets, achieve a runner’s high. Of course, it also suggests that Trisha is part ferret. (She said I could write that, in case you were wondering.)
So, consider indulging your dogs the next time they are begging to run. It turns out you are just like them—born to run!
I’d love to hear your views on running and dogs, whether you and your dog participate in this activity or not.
Here I am with one of my best running buddies as we share some water during our post-run happiness:
And here’s elite professional runner and dog trainer Emily Harrison with her dog Super Bee, who I often see running around my neighborhood. Besides the fact that I like both Emily and Super Bee personally, I have to share this picture because it seems just plain wrong to write a post on Trisha’s blog and not include a photo of a Border Collie.
Karen B. London, Ph.D. is a Certified Applied Animal Behaviorist and Certified Pet Dog Trainer who specializes in the evaluation of serious behavior problems, including aggression, in dogs. She is the behavior columnist for The Bark Magazine, writes The London Zoo column in the Arizona Daily Sun, and is the coordinating editor for that same paper’s weekly running column, “High Country Running.” She runs and trains for races with dogs and people, with her favorite training partners being her husband Rich and her old dog Bugsy, who was half Black Lab and half Handsome Stranger. She has co-authored five books on canine behavior and training with Trisha.
Eric runs or bikes with his 5 Schnauzers and last year with my 2 Terriers and then some 12 miles every other day.
Eric, the runner/biker with his 5 Schnauzers and then some, a sight to behold:
Karen Ramstead says
Something we dog mushers have always known – but nice to have scientific backup!!!
Al Magaw says
I have to agree with Karen Ramstead – working with, training, and racing sleddogs brings huge rewards of pleasure and feelings of accomplishment for dog and owner alike
Angel Stambaugh says
Very interesting! I know my Bear, a husky mix?, loves to run. It’s evident by just observing him. Fascinating to learn that there is brain chemistry behind that pleasure.
I think I must be part ferret, too. Lol! I don’t enjoy running, but reading this makes me want to try again. I had started trying to incorporate small amounts of running into my walks, with hopes to build up to actually going for a run. Never quite got there for various reasons. Reading this makes me want to try again.
And while Bear loves to run, we never made it to the running together thing. He always gets too excited and starts jumping at me and biting my ankles. Any tips on how to teach him to run nicely by my side? (After I teach myself how to run? Lol!)
Thanks for the great post, Karen!
Beth with the Corgis says
It does seem apparent that dogs enjoy running. They get so excited when they see toys that mean running is imminent (frisbees, balls). Dogs seem to universally adore the Chuck-it, which goes longer distances and therefore means longer (and faster) running. And of course they frequently run in play.
I would like to see them test the brains of horses, another species that seems to truly enjoy running.
Roberta Beach says
A woman in town is offering to http://www.runyourtailoffcape.com/ with your dogs for differing time amts. It will help some dogs but I need to move more, too :). Eric’s photos were fun – love his car and letting his Schnauzers be real dogs!
I run with my dogs (Siberian huskies), well I preferably take only one, because I have them on leash and they pull me. The one thing about running with them in this way is that they do not seem to need a warming up. They start full tilt, only slowing down after the first fifteen minutes or so. It takes getting used to… The other thing is is that they are perfect for a fart-lek training, since every now and then they see a rabbit, smell a deer etc and that means speeding up!
It is fun to run with them and it creates a bond. Running is what they seem to love most and going out with all of us together (my hubby also runs) is really good for ” group feeling”, it also forces me to keep up with hubby who normally runs a lot faster than me :-).
Anyway, when our new pups were five months old, we were planning to go for a run with our older dog but instead of a chewy my hubby gave them an energy bar for dogs. Faced with two bouncing pups we decided to take them along and see how for we would get. We ran for 45 min, they were off leash, running literally at hubby’s heels. We stopped several times, they would wander around a bit but weren’t tired in the least. I on the other hand was exhausted when we got home…. Yes, yes I know, officially they should not walk this long but these pups, I don’t know but they are such bundles of energy that to not let them run would drive both them an us crazy…
The other advantage of running with a dog is that I can go running by myself in the dark in autumn/winter. I love being out in the dark, moonlight runs on frosty evenings are among the best memories I have of my previous two sibes. Janouk – who died last week at the age of eleven, but that is another story- could really run in sinc with me. Never felt so together with him as when running or ski joring with him.
Greeting, Mireille (from The Netherlands, please forgive misspellings etc…)
Ps thank you for your post about guilt and loss, it really helped me in this past week!
My husband and/or I take our two two-year-old bc mixes for a 3-5 mile trail run every day. The dogs run more, of course, because they’re off leash, but at the end of the trail, we’re all sporting equally happy grins. I’ve always suspected dogs have a “runner’s high,” so it’s nice to have my suspicions confirmed!
Ps what I forgot to add: running is only fun when you go fast, e.g the majority of plodders does not really look happy now do they? One of my fav quotes s from Roger Bannister; running is an art. Only after severl years of technique training am I coming lose to knowing how to run properly and using my body in the right way, and with the right -minimal- shoes. One of the things that helped me tremendously is astanga yoga practice, which includes the upward and downward dog poses, something I see my dogs practicing daily.
Pps I assume the endocannabinoids are the same as endorphins? In human medicne, as far as I know, that term is still used.
Mary Sangrey says
I’ve been running with my huskyish canine companions since I was a young teen, and now 40+ years later and multiple generations of pups, I can confirm that there is no better running partner. I’ve had human running partners come and go, even my husband who started out as an avid running companion now ignores the 4am pull to put foot to dirt, but my huskies are ready rain, snow, or calm. And there’s no better running partner than a husky – side by side – the perfect pairing. But, I’m a bit disappointed in this study that shows the great feeling after a run is chemical from the run. I always believed it was from quality time spent outside together, me and my pups 🙂
Christine Pielenz says
“Unlike most human running partners, dogs don
I only recently started running with my dog and I will affirm the cliche…he is THE best running partner I’ve ever had. He is also a husky mix and because I run with him in a harness attached to a belt (Canicross gear) I think he’s fulfilling both the urge to run and also pull – if huskies do indeed have a genetic predisposition to want to pull more so than other dogs (?). But I can certainly agree that after a run we are both much happier than we are after a normal walk!
As far as the study goes, I wish they would have also included hamsters. How could any animal run for 7 hours a night and not enjoy it?
I began running with my mutt pretty recently as I was taking part in a sponsored run for the local rescue centre. I was surprised how much I enjoyed it although I knew Jess would love it. I’m going to keep it up.
This study doesn’t surprise me at all. The only thing my Australian Shepherd gets more excited about than running is herding. I don’t enjoy running myself, so I run my dog with a bike. All I have to do is say the word “bike” and he goes crazy. We go about 11 miles every other day.
I also have to agree with the mushers above. I handled for 4 years, and you cannot mistake the husky “hookup scream” as anything but excitement about running. It’s a frenzied excitement.
I wish I liked running. It has never been anything but extremely unpleasant for me. At least one of my dogs would certainly enjoy it, and could use the exercise, but I don’t see it happening. I thinks some of us are immune to that “runner’s high.’
Just wondering is it really a high or does it feel like a high as your body is just throwing all its resources to compensate for stress on the body? Just wondering what other receptors were triggered other than just the cannabinoids – as the body has so many processes. The endocannabinoid system seems to have many other functions memory, stress response, immune function – just wondering what else goes on in the body when running other than the cannabinoids levels?
I also question the idea that dogs need to be tired to be happy and balanced – for some dogs that tiredness does not lead to balance. I feel there is a lot of pressure in the media to exercise dogs and used as a solution to address some behavioural issues – think it is worth thinking about and debating? I feel that exercise should suit the individual dog (and what daily stress they are already under) rather than a blanket statement or solution to a problem without looking at the individual.
“Thus, a neurobiological reward for endurance exercise may explain why humans and other cursorial mammals habitually engage in aerobic exercise despite the higher associated energy costs and injury risks, and why non-cursorial mammals avoid such locomotor behaviors.” – taken from the summary of the study they do note that this may be why we tolerate the exercise even though there are energy costs and injury risks.
I run with my Border Collie, it was because of him I started running. Once I realized what competing in agility with him could be like I knew my fitness needed some improvement so we started training together. We run Cainicross style and getting his harness of the hook and sight of me pulling running clothes get him all fired up.
What I am fascinated by is his level of exhaustion, it does not matter if we go for 3 or 10 miles he is a puffing panting mess, and I am a middle aged women who is not fast. If he had been running off leash with our other dog while we walked 3 miles he is not as worn out.
Angel said: “And while Bear loves to run, we never made it to the running together thing. He always gets too excited and starts jumping at me and biting my ankles. Any tips on how to teach him to run nicely by my side?”
My dog Loki, a 2-year-old German Shepherd does that too. I’ve also tried taking him biking and he’ll try to jump onto the bike. I *think* it’s frustration that we’re not going faster and that he’s attached to someone/thing slower than him. Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to break him of the habit – I’d also love some advice about how to get him to run at my side!
I’m with Trisha!
I love to run. I’ve just started this running program on my own that eases a person into running a 5k. as I said, i love it, but here’s the drawback. I can’t do it outside. Being blind can be a pain in the butt sometimes because while I’d love to do it outside, I don’t have a friend who also runs and who also lives close enough to me to act as a guide. Also, I’d love to run with my guide dog and i know he’d love to come with me, but I can’t use him as a guide and run at the same time. We’d move way too fast and he would be very confused. I think, perhaps I’ll look into some sort of track where I can take him with me. Still, I know all about the runner’s high. I feel great after a run. This week I’m on to week 3 of my 8 week program… woo hoo! I’m looking so forward to running tonight after work. Just with Seamus, guide dog extrodanar, could run along.
Harriet Irwin says
Hi Karen! Great article. Hope all is well with you and the family. No running for me anymore but Ashby and I walk miles in the woods and fields here in Wisconsin. Best to you. Harriet Irwin
Karen London says
Many people try running multiple times before the habit sticks. I wish you luck with your next attempt. As for helping your dog run in a way that helps you enjoy the run, this article may help. It’s called, “Running with dogs no easy ‘feet'” and here’s the link:
Running with dogs no easy
Karen London says
Beth and Michelle,
I agree with both of you that it would be fascinating to know more about how running affects other species, and your two picks–horses and guinea pigs–would top my list, too. Maybe the researchers will continue to look into this, but I suppose it depends on getting funding for additional research. I’ll cross my paws that they do!
Karen London says
I think the quality time outdoors and together plays a big part in the joy and happiness of running with dogs. This study was about the brain’s response to the physical activity, but that in no way discounts other factors that make us feel good!
I love running, have done so since the 70’s. My first dog enjoyed going with me then. My second dog was small with heart issues. But my new dog, well, she’s small too, but so active with energy to burn … I think she’ll make a great running partner!
Has anyone around here read the book Born to run by Chris McDougall? I found it quite fascinating about why the human body is ‘made to run’ . Also very inspiring and enlightening why most of the running that is done,is not fun! Monotonous, on asphalt, repetetive movements. I have switchted to trail running, minimal shoes and double the fun. It is like running when you were a kid. Only downside: downhill with a pulling siberians is somewhat tricky….
I’ve worked in pro-racing kennels. Greyhounds were bred to be sprinters, not long distance runners. They conserve their energy in order to put every ounce of all they’ve got in to that brief outburst of speed. Training is all about efficiency in the sprint and turns, long distance isn’t a factor beyond the length of the track. So in between sprints, they’re typically resting on the couch. Rhodesian ridgebacks, on the other hand, were bred to cover miles of rough terrain as long distance runners in a warm climate in pursuit of game that covers miles in a day. I know pro LD human runners and they choose Rhodies as their running partners. Training and energy requirements are different for humans as well, ie the differences between a marathon runner and sprinter. Huskies are great LD runners ofcourse, but running in high temps isn’t what they were bred to do. If you’re seriously training, it makes sense to pair the breed of dog with the type of running and climate conditions they’ll experience as best you can. I didn’t check the original study for distance and the amounts of endocannabinoids produced. Wondering if sprinters produce less even within the same species…
When I was growing up, my malamute mix loved to run , although no one in the family ran so he had to settle for lots of long walks. My current dog, a dachshund-mix, loves hiking in the woods, but dislikes routine walks and doesn’t really like to run. Probably his shortish (longer than a regular dachshund, shorter than a beagle) legs, and the fact that his two front feet, owing to his strange mix, aren’t the same, which makes him go a little crooked when running. Since he has no problem going 9 miles on a hike, I know it isn’t a physical issue when he won’t walk, unless it is hot; he just gets bored by the neighborhood.
Barb Stanek says
I never thought I’d run any where for any reason in any situation for anything! Then I tried the sport of agility! My, my. How things change. True agility is more of a sprint than a marathon. But one does need to get in shape for it and to practice! My dogs love to play the sport with me. It’s a total win/win.
Karen London says
Thanks to all those who commented on the range of responses to running among different breeds. Those who are dog mushers and those who are living with Greyhounds or Italian Greyhounds seem to be at opposite ends of the spectrum. I just love the diversity of canine behavior–it’s so much more interesting than if all dogs were the same! I’ve always said that greyhounds have two speeds: quick as lightning and fast asleep. (I’ve also commented that my oldest son is like a greyhound in this way, whereas my younger son is best understood as a Vizsla/Irish Setter cross.) No generalization is true across the board, but most dogs are natural runners, and it’s something I personally love about them. : )
Karen London says
Harriet, it’s great to hear from you!! I have such fond memories of teaching dog training classes together back in the day. I’m glad to hear that you are enjoying the great outdoors in the Garden of Wisconsin and that Ashby is a beneficiary of your active ways. All the best to you! Karen
Karen London says
Goedemiddag and bedankt for your comments! (My Dutch is quite limited, unlike your perfect English!)
The endorphin and endocannabinoid systems are different. Endorphins are the body’s own opiates and are chemicals that are too large to reach the brain, which requires being small enough to pass through the blood-brain barrier. Endocannabinoids are lipids that are small enough to reach the brain.
Since you brought up the term, I wanted to share with you that I achieved one of my random goals in life when I used the word “fartlek” (Swedish for speed play as I understand it) in a magazine article about dogs. It’s called “Five Running Games to Play with Your Dog” and here’s the link:
Happy running with those Huskies of yours!
My dog Daisy Mae loves running – in fact, a picture of her running was featured in this month’s issue (June issue) of The bark. You can see the joy on her face – definitely looks like she has “runner’s high”.
Even though Daisy likes to run, I’m like Trish – don’t enjoy it. So we compromise, I ride my bike and use a Springer attachment so that Daisy can run beside me. She LOVES it and we both get the exercise we need.
I seem to take up running any time I have a big national agility event coming up and then completely abandon it after that. lol My dogs certainly wish I had the gumption to keep it up all the time! I’m fortunate to be able to walk them off leash the majority of the time which somewhat makes up for it. I used to rollerblade when I just had two dogs, but haven’t been brave enough to try it with three…
Karen: Thank you for being a guest blogger. I enjoyed your post greatly and also appreciate you participating in the discussion. I also have one of your DVDs and I really liked it.
Here’s one side/peripheral response I had in regards to your blog. You wrote: “They are always ready to go, and are generally willing to cruise at any pace with equal ease. ”
Before reading your post, I had very recently read the following post from Kay Laurence where she argues that walking next to a human is a) usually not at the dog’s pace and b) difficult for the dog:
Kay is talking about walking, but I wonder if the same applies to running. Also, I remember Trisha’s books which explain that teaching a dog to heal can be difficult because we are asking dogs to go at a pace that is slow, steady and boring for them. Then I saw the following comments from posters above:
“Ps what I forgot to add: running is only fun when you go fast, e.g the majority of plodders does not really look happy now do they?”
“What I am fascinated by is his level of exhaustion, it does not matter if we go for 3 or 10 miles he is a puffing panting mess…. If he had been running off leash with our other dog while we walked 3 miles he is not as worn out.”
All of these thought together lead me to the conclusion that (for at least some dogs) it is better to let the dog run off leash than on leash. That the dog is going to be a lot happier/”higher”? from that kind of running than the kind of running a leashed dog gets next to a jogging human.
I don’t know if that is true or not, but it makes sense to me. I’m always working hard to get my dog as much off leash exercise as possible.
Amy @ True Dog says
Love the post! I’ve known for a long time that I need running in my life. And when I got my first high energy dog, I learned that running is something I simply must do everyday with my best buddy, border collie, Chico. Like many working dogs, if he doesn’t get his physical exercise he simply is a mess. Behavioral problems crop up fast and furious. Everyday Chico needs 3 to 8 miles of exercise. (The more the merrier!) If he doesn’t get many miles we make up for it in training time. He simply needs it to be happy, calm, and confident.
There are many days, I come home from work exhausted, but I know he needs the exercise. Getting out there with him ALWAYS makes me feel better. And the best part, he never judges me on my speed or outfit. 🙂 When I’m tired he encourages me to keep moving and we always end our run with a smile.
LaDonna King says
My breed (Dalmatian) were bred to run long distances behind or along side of horse drawn cairrages. When I was younger I used to road work my dogs by bicycle and they loved running along side. Now I am older and do not have the energy to work multiple dogs by bike. About ten years ago I discovered a way to continue to run them without having to work so hard myself. I drive them to our county fair grounds. Once there, I let them out of the car on six foot leather leashes that I then attach to a carabineer that is attached to my seat head rest. I drive—they run. I am able to drive on gravel, while they run on grass. They are happy, well exercised and I am not tired at all. I have had many people ask how I trained them to do that. There was never any training at all, they have all just happily trotted alongside from the first time we ever tried. I can run several dogs that way at the same time. I try to keep them at a comfortable gait but they will go as fast or slow as I drive.
Well. I’ve always known I was part “something else”, and now I know: I’m part ferret. I love running…when the house is on fire. The only “high” I seem to get is when I can finally stop and *gasp* for breath. However, my golden Rex seems to LOVE to run, and watching his ear-flapping tongue-lolling happiness has made me start s-l-o-w-ly to run short distances with him. And you are all right: dogs make the perfect running companion. My true high comes from a good hike, however…and I don’t think ferrets like that either. Good news! I must be part non-ferret. Thanks for your wonderful post!
Karen London says
I think it really is a high in that it is chemicals influencing the mind’s perception of pleasure, though of course there is much research to be done on what else is happening because the system, as you say, is very complex. It’s interesting to consider how tired and happy go together with dogs. I think that dogs who have gotten plenty of exercise are typically content, but I’m not sure how important it is to be tired. Thanks for sharing your thoughts!
Karen London says
You’ve brought up a lot of great points! Most humans are pretty slow compared to dogs, which is why the opportunity to run off leash and really fly is something I want dogs to have, as long as it is a safe place where they are allowed to do so. It’s great that you make the effort to give your dogs that opportunity! There’s something about going at high speeds that can’t be matched by slow, steady running, although both have value. It can be really hard to tire some dogs out unless they really get to open it up and run at full speed for a bit at least. It varies by the individual dog as well as by breed. And some dogs who seem not to benefit from steady running may just need to go longer, as long as there are no medical reasons not to do so.
As far as the challenge for dogs to run our human paces, there is a lot of variation beyond the simple fact that many of our dogs would prefer to go faster. For example, I ran with a friend’s dog recently and was surprised how easy he was to run with because I’d been warned that he pulled a lot. My husband also ran with this dog one day and had a good experience. The friend runs at a pace intermediate between us and it is at that pace that he struggles to run smoothly. There seems to be an awkward speed for the dog that is faster than me and slower than my husband, and it is right where his owner runs, as luck would have it. It seems to hit the dog between easy gaits for him, and as a result he struggles. My friend has found that runs work best with her dog if she is running slow and easy or doing a hard, fast run, but that her natural pace is not dog-friendly. In my experience, most dogs are able to cover the full range of speeds without an awkward pace, but a few do have a particular speed that is just not effortless. Sometimes practice helps, as does varying the speed throughout the run so the dog is not stuck at the same pace the whole time. Plus variation is generally great for keeping things interesting for people and dogs alike.
Thanks for the kind words, and also for giving this topic such a lot of thought!
Having hit (and passed) that magic age where a woman’s metabolism slows to a creaky crawl, I run to keep weight gain at bay. My Eskie comes with me because he needs help keeping his girlish figure too. We don’t run fast nor do we run really long distances and for years I did it only to keep fit but as we both got fitter, it slowly became – dare I say it – pleasant!? Then recently, after being stuck at the office very late, it occurred to me that this is quality time we get together every day. No matter what my boss decides to throw at me when I get to work, we’ve had that hour in the morning. We both feel good when we get back and even if the rest of the day is tedious and too long, tomorrow morning, we get to do it again! And it’s even better for us than I thought. Wow. Life IS good! Now if only I could find a way to avoid ever having to working late… 🙂
Karen: Thanks so much for your detailed response. That does a lot to put the entire issue into perspective.
Happy running to you.
I trail run with my Labrador Retriever. He’s a great running buddy and is always pushing me to go faster. The first time I ran the trail instead of hiked it, his face lit up with joy. I could almost hear him think, “thank goodness she is finally moving at a decent pace!” I try to let him off leash as much as I can so he can really run, but there are no places here where it’s legal & we have to be sneaky. I can’t wait until my young border collie is old enough to join us.
Janouk used to be my running partner and he would match his pace to mine, after the first hectic ten minutes. My pace was his easy trot. We really moved in sync. He died 10 days ago, alsmost eleven years old. Some of my fondest memories are of running & skiing together. Our eldest husky, Chenak, who died last year at the age 14 was more difficult to run with since he insisted on pulling like crazy the first half of the run, than slowing down , start marking everywhere and make you trip over his leash. We now have two young dogs, nine months old. At first they went wth us off leash (about 5 mo’s) and it really was too cute; they were glued to my hubbies heels. On leash they pull like the crazy adolescents they are right now…. So I will have to teach them some running manners, which includes matching pace and galloping away like crazy. I mainly do that by slowing down when they start to pull really hard. Opposite effect of what they want to achieve. Right now summer is setting in, so not much running but I am curious what fall is going to bring,
Thank you Karen, for explaining about the difference between endorphines and endocannabinoids. Enjoy your runs too!
We’ve got a huge collection of beds at home but the ones Casper and Noah like the most are the doodle doms: http://www.doodlebugduds.com/html/beds.html
At 47 I finally found the motivation to train for a marathon (26.2 miles). For the longest time, my motivation to run was based on my running partner(s) meeting up with me. Of course I always I took my favorite Aussie with me – she never seemed to tire and always worked at my pace, never pulling or lagging. When I finally had the endurance/confidence/strength to complete 6 miles, something in me changed. That was the day I began to run with or without company (dog or human). The aussie was always ready to run, and she was well past the age of 10 and regularly going with me for runs in excess of 10 miles. I also own a mixed breed dog (lab mix) – oddly enough he is not a very motivated runner and often begins to balk after the first mile or two by lagging pathetically. I guess he and Trish are part ferret!
In doing a significant amount of research on scent detection I have heard several experts remark that during scenting dogs experience the chemistry that resembles runner high which makes the work so rewarding and reinforcing for the dogs. Karen do you have any data on this?
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Bruce K says
I been running for over 40 years having done many different types of races including destination races like The Great Wall of China marathon. Then recently my daughter got a high energy Aussie Shepard dog which quickly became my first dog whose name is Kipton. I trained him so I could walk and run him without a leash. I quickly discovered that he much prefers walking where he can really get into sniffing rather than running where he is always rushed to sniff. Sometimes he will linger on one spot for a couple of minutes. My running days have been replace by marathon walks early in the morning or in nature that sometimes go for hours. Oddly, the endorphin high has been replaced by a sense of peaceful easy. I guess my spirit animal now is a ferret.