How to Beat a Dog in a Foot Race

When it comes to most things, us humans pretty much totally destroy the canine species. Racecar driving? No contest. Archery? Easy breezy. Multiplication times tables? Made in the shade. Space travel? Well, technically they made it there first, but us humans have been to the moon. So there.

RunningDogsBut one area where dogs still have the upper hand is foot races. Despite a number of highly publicized and valiant attempts from us humans (i.e. Carl Lewis v. Snickers, 1987), those cocky pooches continue to leave us in the dust.

And frankly, it’s embarrassing. Dogs can’t even dress themselves, for God’s sake. We have to do it for them! Where do dogs get their inhuman speed? Is it steroids? No (at least, not in the case of Lewis v. Snickers). Is it the result of an unholy deal with the devil? Almost certainly.

We all love gloating and shouting things like, “in your face” and “Looooser” into our dogs’ faces after beating them at chess or murdering them in a computer typing contest. Here’s how to keep those good times rolling and make sure your next foot race with a dog doesn’t leave you feeling like the inferior species.

Get a Good Head Start

If Fido beats you off the blocks, the race is already over. To ensure a good start, try this: take your mark, get set, and then ball your hand up into a tight fist. Show the dog the fist – wave it around a lot to really get his attention. Then, when the starting gun goes off, pretend to throw whatever is in your hand (nothing) in the opposite direction of the finish line. That dog will turn and start to chase that invisible ball like a sucker. And once he finally realizes he’s been duped, you’re already well on your way to victory.

Consider a Relay Race

If dogs have one weakness when it comes to foot races, it’s passing the baton. Exploit this weakness by inviting three of your fastest friends to race with you. Then, while you’re adeptly using your hands (complete with opposable thumbs) to pass the race from one intelligent life form to another, leg 1 and 2 of Team Pooch are stuck playing tug-of-war with that big, bright-colored stick. Zeus, Bandit: it’s called teamwork. Use it (idiots).

Plant a Bowl of Wet Food at the 30M Mark

Dogs get distracted pretty easily. Placing a big bowl of wet food along the track is almost guaranteed to buy you a few extra seconds. Other items worth planting include squeaky toys, mailboxes, fire hydrants, a hopping frog, a vacuum cleaner and things with interesting smells.

Avoid Using Cats

It’s common practice for us humans to use a cat as a lure to increase our motivation to run faster (“I want to pet that kitty!!”). However, this tactic is likely to be counter-productive when racing a dog. Similarly, hiring a dogcatcher to chase you around the track is also not recommended.

Can the Dog be a Wiener Dog?

If you get to choose your opponent, opt for a wiener dog. Their small frames and stubby legs just aren’t built for racing. Corgis and basset hounds are other good choices. If you don’t get to select the dog breed, at least try to get a pup with three legs or less.


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