Becoming Runners & Emergency Recall Worked!

I have started a Couch to 5k running program and I am brining Tucker along with me! I have never been much of a runner but I am determined to succeed at this and start running a few times a week. It is a 9 week program which gradually builds you up to running 5K. We live right near Valley Forge National Park with lots of great paved trails so we have been going there. I figure if Tucker starts the program with me he will build up his endurance along with me and will be a great running partner. He has been loving it so far! He keeps pace with me really well - rigtht now we are alternating between running and walking intervals and he stays right next to me focused on his running. So cute! He is much better behaved on these walk/runs than regular walks around the neighborhood. Probably because the running tires him out more. He also loves being in the park- I let him have some time to sniff around before we start. (He has particular interest in the deer droppings but I keep him away!) We are only doing 2 miles walking/running now - but I'd like to be able to run 3-5 miles with him. Achieving this will take more work on my part than on his I am sure.

On another note Tucker and I are taking obedience classes and we are working on using 'Touch' as an emergency recall. So far I have just beeing training him with it but never actually used it. Well last night I sleepily took him outside for his last potty before bedtime and he ended up nose to nose (with a chain link fence in between) to a skunk! Tucker was acting excited like he wanted to play which I am sure was scaring the little critter. The skunk got really puffed up and I was afraid Tucker was going to get sprayed! I ran towards the house and called him - he didn't budge. Then I remember I had a new tool - I called TOUCH and he came running! I gave him a bit of cheese when we got inside and we slept well - with no skunk stank.

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Comment by Chris and Andrew on September 30, 2009 at 5:34pm
Welcome to the runner's world !! Couch to 5K is a good program and you will enjoy. Good luck!!
Comment by Amanda & Tuck on September 30, 2009 at 4:29pm
Sorry the links didn't show up... I guess you can just copy and paste.
Couch to 5K program:
Comment by Amanda & Tuck on September 30, 2009 at 4:28pm

Sure Jeny here is the link to the program - with the intervals for each week/day. It is 3 days a week for 9 weeks- about 30 minutes a day. There are podcasts you can download with music and spoken cues for when to switch from running to walking and vice versa. They have them available for each week/day. I downloaded Robert Ullrey's podcasts- here is a link to that . Much more enjoyable to not have to look at a watch and just enjoy the scenery of the park. I am getting fit for running shoes next week as a birthday gift from my boyfriend. :)

Have fun!
Comment by Jeny (and Wrigley) on September 30, 2009 at 4:22pm
That program sounds awesome, do you have more info on it? I was going to go buy some running shoes this weekend and start running daily with Wrigley.
Comment by Amanda & Tuck on September 30, 2009 at 4:09pm
I have heard of the Really Reliable Recall but haven't read it. I am just going by what our trainer in obedience class taught us. He calls Touch the 'leftovers' command. For the past few weeks when we have dinner I set aside a tiny bit of chicken or meat for training this command. We were told to use the highest value treats - something he never really gets - like leftovers. The trainer told us to hold our flat hand out to the side and have the food between two fingers so it is a noticable gesture even from far away. At first I would do this and walk up to Tucker - touch my hand to his nose - say Touch and give him the treat. I did this for a few days. Then I started saying Touch if he was in the other room and he caught on quick that something good was going to happen when I said that. As soon as his nose touched my hand I'd give him the treat. I did it a few times a day and now we've just been reinforcing it about once a day. He comes running full speed whenever he hears the word Touch. The one thing the trainer drilled into our heads is never to use the recall to get him to come in from playing or to say go in the kitchen so you can put the gate up - etc. Have an everyday recall for that. It should never be associated with anything negative - only getting delicious food. I guess reallly really yummy food is hard for a corgi to resist in almost any situation.

Thanks John for the encouragement and words of wisdom on running. It's something I've always wanted to do. Your active lifesytle is inspiring - and whenever I wonder if Tucker can handle something I think of Al & Gwynn and the mountains they have conquered with you. Corgis are amazing little dogs.
Comment by Judi, Dawn, Soffie & Griffyn on September 30, 2009 at 3:47pm
We taught the "touch" command to Soffie too! And one night at a Holiday Inn in NC she scooted out the door (outside room) and was off on a run down the sidewalk. Dawn shouted "touch"!! and back she came lickety split!! Whew!!!
Comment by John Wolff on September 30, 2009 at 3:46pm
Congrats on the running. To quote Pythagoras:
"Do what is best. Habit will soon render it easy and agreeable."
In other words, after the learning curve flattens out, running is easy and fun.
Don't neglect stretching.

I am really impressed that Tucker passed the Skunk Test!
I sure hope Al & Gwynn pass the Porcupine Test!
Did you use Leslie Nelson's "Really Reliable Recall" training method? I have that booklet but haven't done the training.
You've inspired me.
Comment by Avyon on September 30, 2009 at 3:29pm
What a good boy! Congrats on your new learnings and not getting skunked ;)
Comment by Bev Levy on September 30, 2009 at 3:28pm
That is great! Skunk is awful to get out and a good recall has saved many a dog. Good luck with the running.

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