I did not always like walking my dogs. I was THAT lady that would be at an offleash park screaming “JJ, Siefer, COME HERE.. COME HERE NOW“, or “JJ, do you want a treat?” to try and entice her to come back to me. I knew that if I got her back, Siefer would follow her back to me! I was also THAT lady that would have out of control dogs who would bulldoze your dog… with utter embarrassment to tell you “sorry, they just want to play..” when in reality, they were disrespectful, rude bullies!
I was also THAT lady, that when I walked JJ & Siefer on leash around the neighbourhood, I would be walking at a 45 degree angle getting PULLED by every inch of my body, trying to not fall on my face, while Siefer & JJ pulled me across the neighbourhood like a 4 way horse contraption.
I was also THAT lady that when you walked by me, with your barking dog.. JJ and Siefer would tag team to eat your dog.. and little tiny me.. would do all my power to try and control them, as they went all CUJO! Back then in my 20’s – i thought ‘oh, they are just trying to protect me….’.
I would always come home beat up, tired, exhausted, frustrated and thinking ‘how is it fun walking your dogs??’ Is walking my dog suppose to be this embarrassing and this stressful??
When Mei Mei came along, it just got worse! She learned from the other two and things were out of control. Why? We lacked discipline and knowledge. It was not because JJ was rescued from the Pound at a year old, or that Siefer and Mei Mei with both rescued as puppies of the Tsuu Tina Reserve. We were not the leaders of the pack.. my sneaky husky JJ (love her to pieces) was! Anything goes in her books and no one was going to stop her!
As days and months passed…. we visited offleash parks less.. to disappointingly, less walks!
What has changed almost 5 years later?
When JJ passed away at the age of 15, Siefer was the easiest dog to walk. With experience, we realized that JJ was his alpha dog, not us! We also started walking Mei Mei and Siefer separately, so that we would learn from scratch, how to walk nicely without getting frustrated. Walks became more fun for us – and the dogs sensed our calm nature.
Unfortunately Siefer passed away from cancer less than a year after we lost JJ. We were so happy to have spoiled him with daily offleash walks and leash walks! We vowed to not make that mistake with our future dogs. It was not fair to punish them due to our lack of experience and discipline!
We realized the importance of dedicating time and efforts in a calm and relaxed environment while training. The fundamentals of leadership starts early. Your puppy is always watching you and testing you!
We went for leash walks often and socialized him early at dog daycare and offleash parks. We made sure to walk in busy areas, quiet areas and never avoided fences with barking dogs. We wanted him to walk nicely always.
When an unruly dog is near us and he got worked up, we would make him sit and stay till the other dog walks by.
Over the years, we kept this consistency. Leash walks and offleash walks. Leash walking promotes discipline. We even umbilicalled Shogun in the home, forcing him to follow us. We learned to change direction in our walking, so he always had to walk where we walked. Recently we have been alternating our dogs on our WALK SESSIONS with Sleep Rover and Prairie Canine Academy as well!
Another way to keep handsfree is to pack a bag, whether to be carried by yourself or Rover!
I chose a small gender neutral backpack from Lululemon which I store:
1) Handy dandy Earth Rated Poop Bags (spare rolls too!);
2) Two bottles of water (one for us, one for the dogs) – it can possibly fit 3;
3) Bug Spray (for dogs and humans);
4) Small bowl;
5) Protein rich small bite size treats;
6) Cool vest for easily overheated dogs (like the Swamp Cooler from RuffWear);
7) Keys and my cellphone (for pics!);
This can also easily be plopped into a dog backpack – I love the ones from RuffWear as well! Added weight adds to Rover’s walk (just like weight training for us!) enhances the exercise!
With all the above, you can be walking like a pro, handsfree, stressfree with the bonus of exercise, making yourself and Rover happy and healthy! You can also find all the above products at Sleep Rover Doggie Hotel & Daycare! HAPPY CANADA DAY!!! Keep safe and stay hydrated!