3 min read

With another holiday season quickly approaching, why are we talking about poop? Well, poop happens! 

The Thanksgiving Day holiday usually means family, food, and of course, a 5k turkey trot. Unfortunately, my Thanksgiving Day memories now include the dreaded “Poop Incident of 2016.”

I had already spent a year running with my dog Bailey and training her to run safely at my side while resisting the urge to pull or lunge at every exciting person, dog, or unknown distraction. It was time to take her training to the next level by attending a 5k race with numerous people, noise and distractions. I was excited to put all her training to the test with an organized race. This was only her third organized race, but she’d made significant improvements on our solo training runs, so I had high hopes! In “3-2-1,” we were off! It took about half a mile to get away from the pack and get Bailey settled into a good running pace.

Finally, we were sailing through the 5k course enjoying the scenery and loving life, then “it” happened! I felt the dreaded pull on the leash. I looked down to see Bailey doing the half-squat, half-run maneuver while dropping poop nuggets all along the way. Well, “crap”…literally! 

I frantically tried to warn the runners behind us of the impending doom by waving them around the minefield. I endured a variety of looks from the other runners. You know the looks—surprise, laughter, pity, and of course my personal favorite, the disapproving frown from the grumpy runner who was obviously annoyed by the inconvenience, clearly not a dog lover.









Thankfully, we were running in a park with numerous trash cans, so I was able to quickly dispose of the warm cargo. Needless to say, we did not take any medals home that day. While you can’t stop all the moments like these, I’ve learned ways to minimize and prevent many of them. 



  1. Use Quality Dog Food- Quality dog food generally has fewer fillers, so your dog eats less of it to get the required nutritional value. In other words, less food means less waste created by your dog. Recommending a specific brand is challenging because dogs have individual needs depending on their size, breed, allergies, or other medical conditions. If you’re unsure, I would suggest researching your dog’s breed and talking with your veterinarian.

running dog food tips

  1. Consistent Feeding Schedule- One of the best ways to control when your dog goes to the bathroom is by feeding them at the same time every day. It doesn’t matter if you feed your pup once or twice a day as long as you create a predictable schedule where you can control when she will need to go. Also, feeding your dog unscheduled treats throughout the day may make her bathroom habits less reliable.

running with your dog_tips to reduce waste

  1. Potty-On-CommandTraining- I use the specific words “pee” and “poop” so Bailey knows exactly what I want from her. Like all training, repetition and positive feedback was required to help her understand the process, and it only took about a week for her to understand what we were doing. Now, I reserve the “poop” command for the days we run because she knows what will follow; she usually poops within two minutes and comes sprinting back full of joy, knowing the leash will be attached and we’ll be on our way. 

  1. Warm-Up Run- Although Bailey always poops at home before a run, she still occasionally manages to disrupt a run with another pit stop (sigh). If you’re competing in a race where an additional pit stop would be problematic, arrive early for a warm-up run to ensure that no more stops will be necessary.

With these tips you’ll be able to fully enjoy your running experience. More running = less pooping. A motto to live by, right?!


 If you have a funny experience like our 5k Poop Fest, we would love to hear from you! Leave a comment below. 


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