The Running Leash Conundrum

I love my dog Parker.

He is on his best day a light puller on the leash and on his worst day a rip your shoulder out of socket puller. We used a gentle leader for our first six months with him including when running. Now, with the help of our amazing trainer, we are just use a training collar for correction and most of the time he is walking a little easier (i.e.: less need for rotator cuff surgery).

(This shot was heck to get, hence the blur.)

Alas, he is a dog. A high energy, lab-pit mix, 55 pound, pounce and whine at you if he needs exercise dog. He needs to run.  If he gets to start running, he is going to race. He wants to run like Kara Goucher training for the London Olympics. He is fast and pulls hard thereby choking himself on his training collar resulting in  hacking like a 50 year smoker. I worry about the health of his neck and windpipe. I don’t love the gentle leader either when he runs because I feel he can’t pant as freely. Given his amazing speed and endurance, this pup needs to pant!

We have tried many a leash contraption.

I like this short leash with the two handles. I use a caribiner to hook the long handle to the short one around my waist. This gives him little to no room to roam and when attached to the neck, exacerbates the stress.

Ken likes this longer leash. He attaches a cargo belt to it and allows for more room for P to roam. I have not tried this method but I do know that Ken still uses the gentle leader in conjunction with this method.

In the winter, I tried the harness, but he hacked like an asthmatic on a treadmill in a botanical garden. It seemed like it was putting to much pressure on his chest.

Am I being a neurotic mom? Is it too much to hope that my dog will not choke to death while running? Lord knows this dog needs to run, a lot. We are talking a good hour would be best for the sanity of everyone in our house. Can anyone make suggestions as to the safest contraption for running with a dog on the leash? We run on sidewalks and at the trails. I would love to have him off-leash on the trails but he is not good at the “Parker Come!” command just yet and it has led to some scary, “he’s never coming back”, moments.

Ideas? Thoughts? Do you run with your dog? What do you use? Did you break your dog of pulling and fleeing? 

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