Gear Review: Dog

I’ve always heard that having a dog helps encourage you to exercise. Dogs need exercise and have to poop, same as humans. So you take the dog out to get some exercise and to keep your carpets clean, and the next thing you know you’re exercising as well. Everyone wins, right?

Well, let’s see.

For disclosure, I’ve got a 17 pound cocker spaniel. He’s nine years old, I believe, black with a white belly and snout, and barks like he thinks he’s a dire wolf. At anything. Squirrels. Trees. His own reflection. Whatever. He was a rescue dog so he’s not as well socialized as I’d like, even after all these years, but he’s far more bark than bite.

I dragged myself out walking last night, to wrap up my mileage goal for the day. As is my practice, I took the dog with me. Kill two birds with one stone, right? The only problem is, my dog slows me down. Seriously. Forget all those lovely pictures in running magazines of someone jogging across a sunlit field with a golden retriever at his or her side, tongue lolling in the wind. Taking my dog for a long-distance walk is nothing like this.

I really should have live-tweeted the walk, so I’d have time stamps. But the trip went something like this. Walk out my condo door. Dog excitedly runs in circles, hitting the wall once. Nearly jerks the leash from my hand as I juggle it and my keys. Get out front door of stairwell. Dog immediately stops and marks bushes. Dog tries to head right when I turn left, then nearly trips me as he races to catch up. Suddenly, dog stops and drops a load right on the sidewalk. Seriously, dog? The grass is right there.

Make it to end of sidewalk. Dog stops and squats like he’s pooping. Two minutes pass. Dog duck-walks while squatting, sniffing the grass. Another minute. Dog duck walks some more, still sniffing. Oh, and he’s pooping while moving. Gonna be lovely, picking all this up. Finally, we head downhill. Dog tries to go investigate an oncoming car, then races to my left and sniffs a tree. Oh, look. A neigbor. Dog begins barking. Walking the dog becomes dragging the dog as we make a turn around the condos on the lower level of the complex. Dog cooperative once more, if “cooperative” means “lagging behind to investigate a leaf, and then running in circles.

Heading back up the hill, fortunatly with a sidewalk on this side of the street. Dog stops at every tree, marking and sniffing. Dog tries to hurl himself into the street three times, once to investigate headlights. FitBit buzzes, telling me I’ve hit my walking goal. Dog immediately spins in place and lays down on the grass. I tug the leash three times, dog gets dragged two feet while staring at me like I’m unreasonable, and then begins walking. We make it back inside the condo. Dog immediately jumps into my chair and curls up.

Pros: The dog is extremely affectionate. Petting him is a huge stress reliever. My son loves him.

Cons: Breath like an open sewer, tendancy to bark, complete and utter lack of focus on exercising.

In summary, I do recommend dogs if you like them. Just don’t make the mistake of thinking they’re exercise equipment.

Check-in for 11/4/2015: 1,790 calories consumed. 4,444 calories burned. 5.54 miles walked.

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