I’ve been thinking for a while about doing an endurance test with Guinness. They are held in the winter months, and are a way of testing a dog’s fitness and endurance. The dogs have to run 20km, but it is broken up into an 8km, 6km and 6km runs. Between each run there’s a 15 minute break, and a vet check. At the end of the event, another vet check and basic obedience test is performed to make sure the dogs are physically and mentally okay. If the dog passes the test then they are entitled to have the letters “ET” after their name. I thought, given that I’m spending a chunk of my time talking about running with dogs, it would add a little to my credibility, but I don’t think so.
Why not? An endurance test, like many obedience tests, isn’t real life. How often would you go for a run and follow that sequence? When I take Guinness running, we’ll do 5km or 10km or more, depending on the weather, time and how we’re both feeling. Also, if he passes, a dog isn’t allowed to do more than one endurance test in his life. So, there’s no encouragement to maintain a dog’s fitness or endurance beyond that one pass.
The other thing I baulk at is the cost. To enter an ET, I’d have to join the Canine Control Council for around $80, then pay extra for Guinness – he’s not registered with the CCC, but with the Working Kelpie Council, and the CCC charge an extra $30 because he’s not desexed. Add to that the cost of the test, and it’s a lot of money just for that one running outing.
I know my dog can run. I can take him to Glasshouse and he’ll run 25km with me, doze for half an hour and want to go out for more. That’s enough for me.