Thursday, November 18, 2010

Burning Some Energy

Kona has been bursting at the seams with energy. She hasn't gotten out for a real run in over two weeks now. Add in my pre-race taper, when we spent less time on the trails, and you get a steaming fuse. Unfortunately, I did a real number on my body by making a couple big marathon training mistakes, one being running very few miles on the road. I'm doing what I can to speed up my recovery, but I'm worried that it may be weeks before we run again or even go for a proper hike.

To try and give Kona a good workout, we packed up on Monday and drove to the beach.

This was Kona's third beach visit and she enjoyed it as much as her previous trips. True to Kona form, she was a nervous wreck getting out of the car and down to the water, but once there, she relaxed quickly.

Kona doesn't pay much attention to birds at home but they're the most exciting thing in the world at the beach. She tore up and down the sand, in desperate pursuit, always coming up empty handed.
I picked the quiet corner of the shoreline to let Kona run on her long line. Despite being midday during the work week, other beach goers walked by our spot continuously. I signaled Kona away from the water to create space between us and the potentially scary strangers.
Kona became nervous a few times when families or groups of people walked by but she never had a problem recovering. (The birds help tremendously).
The return to the car turned Kona into a runaway freight train. She was more nervous than she's been in a long time. To my surprise, she did eat all the treats I gave her after she jumped into her crate.

Instead of fighting afternoon traffic, I decided to take Kona to a friend's apartment to wait out rush hour. I also thought it would be a good challenge, without a lot of pressure, for Kona. Nobody was home and the building was quiet. Unfortunately, Kona did not take the new environment well. I packed fun toys, treats, a kong with canned dog food, a bone and her coveted stuffed lobster. Nothing helped calm or distract her. While in her crate, she kept a close eye on me. Any movement from me brought her to her feet, eyes huge, worried about me leaving.

After an hour and a half with Kona becoming progressively more nervous, I decided it was better to deal with traffic than to keep Kona so stressed. On the way out, she pulled on her leash like death itself was after us. The trip reminded me just how much Kona cannot handle people environments. I felt sad and frustrated. I don't like being reminded how challenging fearful dogs can be and how way out of the ballpark Kona's fears are.

On the drive home, I reminded myself that we did have fun,
but we might just stick to the beach next time.


LauraK said...

Aww I love that last picture- such a smiley girl :)

I'm sure that seeing Kona stress like that can be both frustrating and sad for you. Riley stressed a bit in my sister's apartment a couple weekends ago, and I felt so guilty and sad that my best friend didn't trust me not to put her in a bad situation- but I know they don't reason like that. Kona is so lucky to have someone like you that understands her fears though- imagine if she was with someone else who just got mad at her for being nervous, that would only make the situation worse. I think you're doing an awesome job with her, AC!

Hope you heal up quickly and are able to hit the trails with your girl again! Beautiful beach pictures, I hope my pups can experience a beach someday :)

Kathy said...

OOOOh glad you had a nice time at the beach and Kona got to stretch her legs, but sorry that all was maybe one too many new things for Kona BUT she had to be handling it a little better and not totally stressed if she could still keep taking treats, that is fantastic

Sara said...

I loved seeing photos of Kona on the beach. She looks like she is in her element.

Sorry things didn't go so well at your friends' house. Anything new seems to be tough on our dogs, and I know that fearful pull to the car all too well.

Hope you get your running legs back soon.

Anonymous said...

Hi! MayzieMom here.

I know exactly what you mean. Mayzie loves to go for walks on trails or even in neighborhoods. But for some reason, going into a strange house completely freaks her out. We took the dogs with us on our vacation this summer and rented a house. It had been awhile since we'd been in a strange house and I think I'd kind of forgotten how nervous she is in those situations. It took her a good two days to really start to calm down and she never would walk into the kitchen for some reason. It can be SO frustrating and depressing but I have to remind myself of all the things she CAN do and try to focus on those.

We'll be visiting my sister's house for Thanksgiving and even though she's been there before, I know she'll be nervous. I've been thinking about contacting our vet and getting her Xanax prescription refilled, just to be on the safe side. We haven't used it in awhile but I just hate for her to have to be really anxious if she doesn't need to be. We'll see.

Two Pitties in the City said...

I don't know much about fearful dogs, so it is interesting to read about how things that I consider a part of normal part of life can be so stressful for Kona. How badly are you injured? Did you lose any toenails? I also wanted to tell you think it's brave that you went all the way to NY on your own. I don't think I could run any marathon unless I had my "magic feathers" of people waiting for me with Gu and Vaseline at different mile markers. Is it too soon to ask if you plan on doing another?

KB said...

I love that last photo too! The shadow is amazing. And, since my world will now have snow for the next 5 months, seeing a beach is very novel!

I'm glad that Kona liked the beach so much. She's a lot like me - she loves nature stuff but people stuff makes her nervous. I can relate.

I hope that you recover soon. Roads are so rough after running on trails most of the time. Hey, maybe you could run barefoot on the roads!?! Just kidding - I think that's one of the stupidest fads that has come along in a very long time.

Diana said...

Wonderful beach pictures. I hope you start to feel better soon. I didnt even run in NYC and Im still really tried from my trip. Diana

Sam said...

Sorry, I read this post, and never commented! I totally know how you feel - I've had SO many perfect outings with Marge that ended badly, and the only thing I can usually remember from them are the bad parts. It's so good to remind ourselves of the GOOD parts of our trips, too.

I think Marge would have absolutely freaked being in someone's else's apartment. That's something that's hard for even "normal" dogs to deal with - so we have to keep everything in perspective.

I hope you have more trips to the beach soon!

Dawn said...

Love the beach photos, she looks so happy! Have never taken Katie to the beach, and would love to see how she likes waves and birds...

I don't know how she'd be walking into someone else's house. We've never aken her anywhere. Would be interesting! I know she won't go into the bathroom building at the park with me....scared to death of the fan that turns on when you go in there.

Kristine said...

That's really tough. I've never introduced Shiva to a situation like that so I don't know how she'd respond. Given her anxiety in new places, probably much the same way. The key is to introduce things in small doses, right? A minute here, thirty seconds there. But it's a challenge for sure. For me I struggle with just remaining calm and keeping my frustration in check.

But I digress. Yes, you should just focus on all the fun you had at the beach. Seeing your photos makes me long for summer. It is much too cold here now to head there for a few hours. Though I doubt Shiva would mind that.