Keep on Truckin’

Yet again, another week since the marathon passes and I move up another few notches up on the “Feeling Better” scale, at least while running.  Earlier last week I talked about what I’ve done since Chicago and what I was setting out to accomplish this week.  At this point, I’m just taking each week one by one without worry.  I’m looking at the past week and setting some minor goals for the next 7 days.  The goals for this week that I set were to run three times and body weight train in my apartment.  I’m happy to say I accomplished most of it.  I ran 3 times and although I only did about 20 minutes of physical therapy exercises (because apparently my drive to workout comes from beer), I did stick to my Stand-Up schedule with work.

Separation Anxiety Dog
Velcro Dog at its finest.

Monday I rested, though I was prepared to run after work with Dunkin.  When I came home from work, I had a note on my door from a neighbor down the hall to let me know he had been barking all day while I was gone.  J had left around 12:30pm and I came home around 4:45pm.  This set a terrible tone on my week and I found it difficult to eat due to my own anxiety that set in with all the “what if” scenarios.  As of 8am on Tuesday  morning, we began Mission: Desensitizing and Counter-Conditioning Dunkin.  My poor baby, he just loves us too much!  I get it, Dunkin, I do — I only want to be home snuggin’ up with you, too!

Pretty much the week has consisted of the exact same routine each day.

I wake up at 6am and take Dunkin for a 20-25 minute run, followed by a 15-20 minute walk.  Then I get ready for work, J is already awake, and he stays home with Dunkin.  We’re really lucky that this is even an option right now and despite not living together, he’s willing to temporarily relocate here to make this work for our pup (when he wasn’t even included in the decision making on his adopted).  While I’m at work, he practices desensitizing him to the sounds of us getting ready to leave (keys, putting on shoes, changing clothes, getting ready in the bathroom, etc.).  It’s a tireless job because you need to do it repeatedly all day.  In addition, he takes him out for a run or long walk of an hour.  By the time I come home close to 5pm, aside from the walk, he’s gotten up and completed his leaving cues close to a dozen times.  After I come home, we make dinner, practice the cues another 3-4 times, and finally take Dunkin out for his last walk of the night.  Lather, rinse, repeat.  This week has been exhausting.  

I ran with Dunkin three times this week before work, but I’m still working on not being exhausted after 20-25 minutes myself.  It’s half because it’s really friggen’ early and half because I’m exerting 2x the energy by directing him via leash.  We ran Tuesday for 2 miles, followed by a 1.3 mile walk, Wednesday for 1.6 miles, followed by a half mile walk, and finally on Friday for 2.2 miles along with a half mile walk.  By the end of the week, the exercise definitely catches up to him and he’s exhausted.  Friday he wasn’t running next to me and trying to pull ahead, but dragging behind.  If only I could achieve that with him at the end of every one of our runs!  My goal for these morning runs is to get him tired enough to not care when J practices his leaving cues and eventually, not care when we leave for the day.  Unfortunately, he’s outlasting me it seems!

Glute Squeeze memeAfter Tuesday and Wednesday’s runs, my hip was pretty sore.  I’m a little disappointed in the soreness I feel because it can wake me up if I’m laying in fetal position, but it’s entirely my fault.  I should be doing exercises diligently to strengthen my hip.  Any fatigue or residual pain I’m feeling is a direct result of being lazy.

I also got a massage this week with the gift card J gave me for the marathon. I typically go to a girl from my CrossFit gym because she’s the first therapist I’ve had that gets it.  As an athlete herself, she understands the results of hard training on the body and I’ve found she’s the first person who can accurately target all my trouble spots.  I was signed up for a sports massage at the spa and told the woman I ran a marathon, my hip was bothering me and exactly where.  Her solution was to focus on my upper and lower back.  I understand thinking my lower back was the root cause of the hip pain, but I’m a runner — more often than not, the cause is somewhere else in my leg.  And honestly, if it isn’t, my legs definitely need more care anyways!  I didn’t feel any different walking out as I did when I walked in besides a little more relaxed.  I’ll never pass up a free massage, but this solidified that I will not see another therapist if I’m paying for it!

Separation Anxiety DogSaturday and Sunday were a bit more low-key for us.  Dunkin was having a really bad anxiety day Saturday, so aside from his two mile walk in the morning with some basic command training (“stay”, “easy”, and “leave it”), we held off on the desensitizing.  J went out at night so I stayed home and caught up on the internet, all while having a beer and deciding now was the time to do some physical therapy exercises.  Does anybody else have a distinct drive to work out and/or run after having some booze?  Just me?  Weird.

Sunday was a little better for Dunkin so we resumed our training.  We walked for a couple miles between our two trips and I got about 10 more minutes of physical therapy in — my glutes are sore.  I have a lot of work to do.

As of Sunday, it was 6 full days since implementing Dunkin’s own training plan and 5 days of solid focus on basic commands and the separation anxiety thing.  He’s a smart dog and has made a lot of progress with basic commands.  He’s now comfortable listening to the word “stay” on our walks with probably 80% accuracy and on a short leash when walking, he understands “easy” about 50% of the time after some reminders.  As far as the leaving cues, he’s much less anxious and instead of following us around the house, will intently watch from the couch.  He’s also done almost a complete 180 on greetings.  He used to throw his head back and howl in excitement when myself or a family member would come home, he no longer does that.  From my understanding it can take some dogs months to get over their anxiety, but seeing these little improvements makes me feel a teeny-tiny bit better.

Going into next week the weather is going to be much cooler.  After seeing how my hip reacts to 3 runs in a week, I know I need to be dedicated on my physical therapy exercises.  More motivation besides my hip is the fact that me being somewhere other than in the bed or couch makes Dunkin a little uneasy, so it’ll be good for him to be uncomfortable and realize everything is okay.  The plan is the same as this past week: three runs (four if I’m feeling good!) and a daily routine of my physical therapy exercises.  One thing I’m definitely looking forward to is the date night J and I have scheduled on Friday… my Mom’s on Dunkin Duty!


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Just a 20-something homegrown Buffalo sports loving, distance running, gin drinking kind of girl.

7 thoughts on “Keep on Truckin’”

  1. Oh man, that is a tough situation to be in. When I lived in an apartment my neighbor’s dog used to bark for hours on end. Literally from the time I’d get home from work (4pm) until 8 or 9 at night when my neighbor finally got home. Just constant barking the whole time. It is good to hear that you are being a responsible pet parent and working with the dog (I’m quite certain that my neighbor just didn’t care, there were times when the dog would bark like that when she was home).

    Also glad to hear that I am not the only one who will have a drink and then decide it is time to work out or run.


    1. It’s so difficult because I am more concerned about neighbors, I don’t want them to be miserable. There’s barkers here that I hear when I’m home for hours on end but it doesn’t phase me because I have the TV on and they are small. The hound howls are… Loud. HA!

      And the drinking thing… I don’t even get it. I’ve been tailgating for a football game and been like “who wants to race me back to the car?!” Ay yi yi.


  2. Do you leave Duncan a nice tasty frozen kong when you leave the house so he has something to keep him occupied/look forward to when you leave? Use peanut butter if he eats dry food! Good luck- my dog is a sensitive soul so I know how hard it can be. Unfortunately, he will not run with us anymore unless it’s a trail run since the neighborhood is too scary for him!


    1. We were doing that but he’s disinterested in food until I am home. Right now we are working on associating food with being left alone. As soon as we start to put him behind a gate for even just a minute, we are going to give him Kongs again with spray cheese and/or peanut butter. The poor guy’s anxiety is through the roof now that we are training him and he’s itching/licking/chewing himself nonstop. I have an anxiety wrap coming that I hope will help calm him a little bit so we can keep progressing. If not, it might be time for some medication until he’s trained 100% because he seems to just be suffering 😢


  3. Keep listening to your body as you come back to running, you are doing GREAT! It sounds like so much fun to run with Dunkin!! I was cracking up at your experience with the massage therapist. I’ve been going to the same woman for 7 years. She is an athlete herself and like you said – she gets it. She knows whats up. Well, she also has carpal tunnel in both wrists and had surgery on one of them Monday. The second surgery on her other hand is Friday. She is out of commission for awhile…I am so bummed! She has hired other therapists to hold down the fort at her business while she is out, but I am skeptical. I’ve gone to other people before (gift certificates, like you) and have never been impressed!


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