When I run with Freckles I use a Gentle Leader headcollar to control her. She’s a major puller when her leash is hooked to her collar. With the Gentle Leader the leash is hooked under her chin so if she tugs against the leash it ends up pulling her nose back to me. It is almost impossible to run away with it. They learn this really quickly so it saves on being pulled around the trail.
The only complaint I have is that the strap is long under her nose. When she puts her head down to sniff she always ends up stepping over the leash so she spends most of the run straddling the leash. This may be a problem for us since she has the 25-50 lb size and she’s at the small end of that. If she was wearing the under 25 lb size she’d have less ‘extra’ to drag on the ground. I may get her the smaller size and try that out.
This is what I usually see when I run. Happy dog. Wagging tail. Today though she was not a happy camper at the start of the run. I couldn’t get her going. She kept stopping in the middle of the trail. I’d nudge her with my leg to get her moving. On the steepest hill of the loop she stopped in front of me again. I nudged her and she started but stopped immediately. I went right over top of her and onto the ground. She knew that she had done something that ranked Very Super Bad on the Scale of BAD DOG! (Worse than Chasing Kitties because she shows no remorse for that.) She was looking at me with the big sad puppy dog eyes like I had just beat her. I got up and used the fall as an excuse to walk the rest of the way up the hill. When we started jogging again she seemed to have understood the lesson and did not stop on the trail again. In fact she was starting to go a bit too fast and I had to hold her back some. I guess having a lumbering human fall over you will reinforce a lesson pretty quickly!
This is what the trails look like at this time of year on the 1 mile loop. It is decomposing leaves over dirt with bridges over the streams. It is very forgiving on the legs but scary on the downhills. The leaves also hide the roots so Freckles isn’t the only trip hazard.
I think I’m starting to get some fitness back. I did that loop in 15 minutes today. That includes the time to stop and take that last picture and the time lost in the fall and walk up the hill. My next goal is to get consistently running a 10 minute per mile pace. I know that trail running doesn’t compare to road times since I can’t take long strides or go as fast as I can because of the footing but I’m just slow anyway. I might do most of the speed work whenever snow forces me to work inside on the treadmill. I’m just glad I can still run on the trail in the middle of December. I hate treadmills.