28th July 2015
I recently purchased a running leash, because I like the idea of running with the dogs. My pooches are big dogs, ideally suited to long distance running and I’ve seen pictures on Instagram that make it look like a fun thing to do. But my purchase sat on the side looking interesting. Because I’ve tried running with dogs, and it wasn’t a wholly satisfying experience. So it was just a decorative adornment in the dog box for quite some time.
In fact, my last jog with the dogs was a complete disaster and resulted in our previous running lead snapping. How? I had both dogs tethered to my waist (OK – possibly not the brightest idea I ever had), when they saw a cat. Which they immediately launched themselves at. I think it was a good thing the leash snapped, because I suspect the alternative was me face-planting prior to being towed along in hot pursuit. (I thought Oscar had done a better job of training his “furry beasts”, but this demonstrated that he has far more work to do). I actually managed to grad the lead and restrain the brutes before they terrorised the poor feline, but it kind of put me off going out with them again. (Incidentally, Oscar has found another social media channel to dominate: he has a Facebook page now, so he can post numerous selfies of his delectable self. You can check him out here).
I would have left it there. But Instagram pictures have a way of working on you and the wholesome images of owners and dogs exploring shady forests and sparkling streams was alluring.
So I decided to give it one more go before PayPalling a new lead. I put Dexter in the ute and set off for the hills. He howled the whole way, as though I were the woodcutter and he were Snow White. (Doodles does have issues – we’re his 5th home, so I think he thought I was taking him off to an adoption agency…) We had a good time, but running with a regular lead was a pain in the butt, because I had to hold it whilst Dexter legged it through the saltbush sniffing out birds to chase. He also drank most of my water. Bad dog!
My solution was an Ezydog road runner leash, the sort that fits around your waist so you can run hands free. (Handy if you want to carry a water bottle, phone or just generally have your hands available to avoid any face-plant problems should a cat stray across your path…) The leashes are well designed and well made, with some features that make the experience a whole lot more comfortable. For a start, the waist band is padded, so when the woofet tethered at the other end decides he wants to set an Olympic qualifier pace, you aren’t sliced in two. I did try to explain the concept of “the Garmin sets the pace” , but Dexter doesn’t recognise the Garmin as top-dog. (And I’m not convinced he sees me in that category, either).
The leash is long, too, which is great on two counts. One, it means that it gives plenty of room for adjustment around the old jelly-belly, and two, it means that we’re not getting up close and personal, so I don’t end up tripping over my-mate-with-four-paws when he detects something in my path deemed worth a sniff.
The other feature that I really like is the “zero shock” webbing at the end, designed to reduce the impact of Olympic qualifier pace setting by hounds. I wouldn’t say it completely removed the shock of my dog trying to haul me along at something akin to 2:30’/km, but it did absorb some of the discomfort.
I bought new collars for Gracie and Dexter at the same time. A necessity, not a luxury, as between them, they’d nibbled Dexter’s into pieces, and had started on Gracie’s. The Ezydog ones are pretty chunky with padding against the neck and reflective trim, which is good in the twilight hours of early morning walks.
The products aren’t cheap, but I’m a firm believer that you get what you pay for, so I was happy that the leash and collars are good value for money. However, I have spied a whole backpack system that would be the answer to the water theft issues in the hills. (Dexter has a drink problem – he is addicted to slurping water, which in turn results in him constantly needing to be let outside for a piddle). I’d love a backpack so he can carry his own supplies, but my budget wasn’t going to stretch to that as well. (R.E.S.U.L.T: I wasn’t duped by PayPal into thinking my spending power is unlimited – thank you Dry July)!!
I guess the next thing is that I need to repeat the exercise, because whilst the leash was great, Dexter and I were no Torvill and Dean partnership. By the end of the run (we did 5km), my back was hurting and I could feel that I was heel striking, which is not my normal style of running. I suspect that the continuous pulling around my waist pulled my out of alignment, so my running posture was compromised. For trail running, it will be ideal. The design of the leash, and in particular, the length of the lead, means it will wrap round my waist and clip together, so that I don’t have to hold anything or have bits of leash dingly-dangling around my legs.
Oh, and if you’re wondering why I only refer to Dexter and not Gracie, that’s because Gracie is not keen on running. Well, she likes it. But not for long. Or far. Because that interferes with her lying down time, having a snooze.
And Oscar has taken up traffic directing duties, so is too busy bossing unsuspecting motorists around to participate, despite Twin1’s best efforts to train him to walk on a lead.
Do you have a running dog? What are your recommendations for a good run? Do you think Ezydog should sponsor us to try more products? 😉
(This post is not sponsored. All views are my own).