When it is walk time in our house there is an order. Particularly since I’m in recovery mode from surgery and can’t take more than one dog out at a time. Although as an oldest child I have a certain sympathy for the argument that age should be allowed precedence in many matters, when it comes to dog walking I always start with the baby of the family. Lil is the youngest, least patient, and weakest bladder. The one most likely to make a mess in the house is the one most likely to go out first.
Since Lil has a lot to learn about walking she takes her walk with a Gentle Leader head harness. She learned within her first walk with it, how I expected her to walk on it. In the dog world we call this “trainable”. Lilith is one of the most trainable members of our family.
Waiting in the wings is walker number two, Gracie. Grace knows she is number two to be walked, so when she sees Lil and I arriving on the front porch, she stops watching out the window and moves over to the door to sit and wait her turn to get hooked up.
Gracie walks on a Gentle Leader harness. Unlike Lil, Gracie does not rank so high on the trainability scale. Fortunately, I’m probably the most trainable member of the family after Lil. So when Gracie and I tried using a Gentle Leader harness with Gracie and that didn’t work – Gracie proved capable of walking on her back legs and ripping the head harness off her face all at the same time – I realized I needed to try a different dog walking technology with her. We have found this particular kind of harness works well for us.
Meanwhile, the patient, oldest dog waits in the wings, watching for her turn at walking. Jenny and I are both slowing up just a tad with age; it takes Jen a little longer to hop out of the window and get to the door.
But she makes it by the time Gracie and I are walking in.
Jenny walks on a collar and loose lead. Unlike the puppies, Jenny and I are interested in taking in the scenery as we walk. We don’t rush through our walk but enjoy. Sometimes we stop and smell the flowers. Sometimes we spend a little longer and go a little further because we are in sync and having a good time.
Lil is a snuffer and huffer, she likes to sniff everything with such intensity that she sucks things up her nose; walking Lil is kind of like walking a vacuum cleaner. Gracie is a charger, she likes to march through the neighborhood and see what everyone is doing and grumble if she doesn’t approve. Jenny is a quiet observer. She sniffs a little, watches a little, strolls a lot. If she sees someone she perks up and maybe wags her tail.
Three dogs, three walks, three different experiences.
What about the rest of you? What is walk time like at your home and how do your canine companions shape the walk experience you share?