Right now is the best time of the year for me. Finally good weather again.
Finally no more mud. Anyone who runs with dogs celebrates this weather.
Because that means: no big cleaning actions afterwards to get the fur noses clean again.
For ten years now, I’ve been running with my dog often and with pleasure, and you can be sure that you’ll experience a lot. Nothing is nicer for me, but also sometimes more annoying than running with Pelle and Bella at the moment. What I lack the most is mindfulness and respect from other dog owners.
He doesn’t do anything, he just wants to play
For me it is as clear as day: When I run where many people walk their dogs, I put Pelle and Bella on the leash. Above all, we keep our distance. In these times, it is per se not unclever as a person to keep your distance.
Conversely, I expect – yes, that’s probably a mistake – that other dog owners put their dog on a leash or take them aside until we’re over.
I know, of course, that joggers are always found food for one or the other dog. Some Bello have a very strong hunting instinct, and the runner’s thigh is a great substitute if no fresh deer are available at the moment. Likewise – everything already experienced – it can happen that all of a sudden a big dog stands in front of you when you are walking past a farm. It is precisely these “colleagues” who enjoy doing their job. And go jogging. Because these simply have no place in the vicinity of the farm.
As a runner, even with a dog, you are almost always prepared for the worst. In the meantime, however, I ask myself: What is actually going on with our society? Is it enough to yell, “Don’t worry! He doesn’t do anything. He just wants to play”, while the 50-kilo Doberman is about to jump.
That’s not how it works…
What’s the problem with putting your dog on a short leash? At this point, I would rather not start the discussion that in many cities, communities and regions we have a general obligation to keep dogs on a leash.
But at least when a runner approaches, when I know that my dog is, let’s say it gently, interested in jogging, why not pull him aside? Or on the leash? Especially when the runner is traveling with a dog. I don’t know how many times I’ve been asked by Max, Skipper, Benny and all the others. How often Balou, Ella, Trixie and Gonzo chased my dogs for fun and dollery. It’s enough from time to time if they actually just wanted to play. If you have to interrupt your run 10-15 times because Idefix and Otto just want to play, then you just want to stop the run out of frustration.
All in good time
I’ll gladly admit that sometimes I’m not attentive and fast enough either. Little Bella in particular finds runners very exciting. If she runs towards them, I apologize in all form. There are also simple walkers who are either afraid of dogs or just don’t want to be disturbed. Always and always and always I take my dogs aside.
Before I let her go, I ask if it’s okay. My dogs love to romp and play with like-minded people. But when I run with Pelle and Bella, we exercise and don’t want to play. If we come across joggers on a walk, we let them run. And don’t disturb him.
For me, this simply has to do with being treated with respect. With a healthy togetherness. It gets bitter when, as a runner with a dog, you are bullied on top just because you say something like: “Sorry, I would just like to run. Without stopping.” Often enough I’ve heard sentences like “Man, then run somewhere else”, “Your dogs are in really bad shape”, “Don’t cry around, he doesn’t bite. It just pinches.” I could continue the list endlessly. I wish people would be more mindful again. I wish for more respect. Just “I.I.I” doesn’t get us anywhere. There is an urgent need for more “we” again. That’s how it works.
This is our running columnist Mike Kleiss
Mike Kleiß has been doing sports since he was a child. “Those who exercise achieve more” is his motto in life. Running was always his favorite topic. For seven years he has been running between 15 and 20 kilometers almost every day, often in marathons and sometimes in ultra marathons.
So far, our columnist has published two books on running. He is the founder and managing director of the communications agency GOODWILLRUN. Mike Kleiss lives with his family in Hamburg and Cologne.
Here he shares his experiences as a runner to motivate others to jog.