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On Your #*;#_$% Left: A Tip for Passing Dogs on the Run

It happens once a week. Danny and I are out running along happily at, say, a 9:00 pace. It’s our easy, we-can-do-this-forever pace. The wind in our hair (or ears), the sun on our faces, and we feel like we’re getting something done first thing in the morning. It’s not fast, but we’re happy.

And then. Someone passes us without warning. Not a word. No “On your left” or “Behind you.” I am surprised, and usually gasp loudly. Danny is surprised, and he usually bounces around with his mouth open looking like a crazed fiend. Not surprisingly, the passer finds this disturbing.

Danny’s crazy face, seen here at doggie daycare.

What can be done? Is there anything a person could say to make the bouncing fiend less likely to appear in my otherwise cool dog’s demeanor? Why, yes! There is! “On your left” works great! Here are some pluses of this easy-to-use phrase:

  • Danny isn’t surprised by flailing arms and legs running past him. When he’s not surprised, he’s a pretty cool customer while we run.
  • I can bring Danny to heel and choke up on his leash so he doesn’t have so much room to get nutty, if he does get nutty.
  • I can make Danny sit and stay as you and your cross-country-team friends pass, because a herd of you fast-running gazelles makes him want to herd you together and bring you home safely. You may not get that from the look on his crazy face, but trust me. It’s his thing.
  • You many not be dog savvy, or you may even be a bit frightened of strange dogs. Fair enough. Lessen the chance that any dog, not just my weirdo, will be surprised by using this *FREE* phrase every time you see a dog, large or small, old or young.

Everyone wins! Training too hard to say an entire phrase like “On your left”? No problem! I’ll throw in the two-syllable “Behind” for those of you on tough tempo runs. Let’s work together to make all runs, yours and mine, less of a canine freak show.


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