A New Running Partner

The last week has been a blur. A couple of birthdays, some big goals, and a new addition to the clan. We brought home a new puppy! The little guy has been adjusting nicely into a routine, and is really loved by everyone who meets him.

This addition wasn’t fully scripted, and although we have been looking for a puppy for some time now, it wasn’t something that was planned that morning. But we are spontaneous go with the gut people, and sometimes that means when you meet a dog you like, you run with it.

My hope is that he will become my training partner for some of my trail runs and keep me company in the woods. Although I admittedly am new to the Cocker Spaniel breed, research seems to say that they are athletic and agile enough to handle most of the exercise I would throw at him. They are also not great in the heat which works out well because neither am I. But they are hardy enough to handle the cold within reason when we are up in Lake Placid over the Winter.

At this point I am just trying to keep him from eating sticks around the yard, but as he gets bigger and stronger, and the training progresses to where we can walk and hike as a team, I will share some of the learnings I experience along the way. For now, here is one: make sure you have a treat to reward the dog when they do something you like. I have been keeping a treat in my hand and walking with it next to my leg to give him a target to shoot for. Loose leash walking for me is the starting point. Obedience and other commands will come in time, but only after we can do laps in the yard to keep the energy levels in check.

He is still too puppyish to take on a hike, but I am hopeful that will change in a few more weeks as he begins to outgrow eating and biting everything new he sees. It will be a slow progression just like training a person would be, but it is important to do right. Although I would love to head out for an epic run right now, patience will be important. Build the trust and behavior in the beginning, and reap the rewards later.

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