Jogging with your dog in the Netherlands
Imagine jogging with your dog in the Netherlands? Before you try it, read dog specialist Laure-Anne Viselé's tips for running with your canine companion.
As a dog writer, I have a bit of a professional 'third eye': I see dog diseases everywhere. So I indulged in my Munchausen's by proxy again (seeing diseases in someone else). This time, it was for lumps on my dog's rump. Completely unimpressed, the vet squarely told me, à la Dutch: "Your dog's too fat".
After getting over the frankly crushing humiliation, I figured I'd take the dog jogging with me as I go every couple of days anyway.
True to form, I had him tested for heart problems (predictably enough: negative). Looking good on paper. Didn't quite work out, though...
I start putting together a jogging survival kit (thirteen items on a good day):
For the dog:
Small treats (he IS on a diet)
Reflecting dog bandana: I want cars to see him
Flashing bike light on his collar: I want to see him myself
For me (it's winter in my Dutch village):
Two pairs of jogging trousers;
A fleece jacket;
My snazzy jogging shoes;
I-pod on a wrist wrap; and
i-pod headphones (yes, bright green).
The whole ordeal takes about twenty minutes, but, somehow, I am still roaring to go. The unsuspecting dog too: he still thinks he's going for a ‘regular' walk.
And then it happens: five quick steps to jogging abyss).
I start off in a trot to the sound of, say, Peggy Lee. Already the dog is trailing behind. After a few seconds, I have to kind of hop in one place until he's caught up every five meters.
Five minutes later, I get sick of the whole thing and move on to Abba (there, I said it), clipping the leash on. He grudgingly follows my pace, soon dragging behind like a trawler.
I quickly take pity on him (I always fall for his theatrics) and unclip him. I then start jogging (to Guns ‘n Roses, no less) in a zigzag, so that he has less distance to cover (yes, it is humiliating).
After ten minutes of this regime, utterly disgusted, I bring him back home to my very amused husband, so I can start my real jog.
It wouldn't be so bad if I didn't constantly have to take my earphones off to politely answer the well-meaning but Oh-so-Dutch question: "Hij heeft geen zin, he?" ("He doesn't feel like it, does he?") .
Jogging to keep fit? Definitely. Having a dog to keep fit? Mmmmmm. All I know at this stage is ... that dog will be the death of me.
Laure-Anne Visele is a pet photographer and dog writer. She also provides Dog services for expats in Holland. For more information, visit her website Canis bonus.
Photo credit: ceiling (jogging with dog).