Running with Dogs

So, I have a dog. He’s sweet. His name is My Dog. (I didn’t choose that name.) We call him MD for short šŸ™‚ He’s an ageing Blue Heeler-Jack Russell Terrier cross. People love his patchy colour and his funny beady eyes.

But as I mentioned, he’s getting older. And he’s going deaf. He still hears under most circumstances, but he can’t always tell where the sounds are coming from, and his hearing range is pretty short. Loud banging noises tend to get his attention, but he can sleep through nearly anything.
We’ve had MD since he was about 6 years old. He’s 12 now! A few years ago, MD was fit enough to keep up with my horse on a 12-20km fast run nearly daily. Now, he thinks he can still do it, but he’s not so fit any more. He’ll still make the distance, but it’s at his pace.
When I first started running this year, and noticed he was following me, (and nearly getting run over the process!) I tried putting him on the lead, but got INCREDIBLY frustrated with him – he just can’t keep up. He jogs, walks, then trots to catch up more or less, then stops, walks, etc. On the lead he made me positively WILD! Not a bonding experience, I can assure you!
But he really really really wants to come for a run with me when I go, or a horse ride when I go! I decided if he is coming with me, he needs to be off leash, so …
So, if I’m going to take him, there’s some special considerations I need to take:
1) the ride or run must not be longer than 1 hour
2) it must not go on any main roads or busy areas
3) we should travel, preferably, in known areas so he can find his own way home if necessary
4) I must be listening for traffic that is up to 300 meters behind me, because this could be how far he is lagging and he won’t hear it and guaranteed he’ll be running right down the MIDDLE of the road!
5) if I am riding, I cannot canter more than one street length, or trot more than three street lengths consecutively, or I will lose My Dog.
6) he must have the opportunity to sleep for about three hours following the run or ride to recuperate
Here he is after today’s 7km run

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