Jimmydog’s Chief Canine Officers Freddie and Joey have been on a roll, writing a short series of blogs about the all-important topic of dog walks. In the third and final installment of the miniseries, they speak directly to their canine friends about some matters of etiquette.
We love the people who read our blogs, but right now we’d like to speak directly to the dogs in our audience about the very important topic of walking. Woof! Woof!
As best we can tell, people don’t recognize the fact that it’s really the dogs taking them for a walk. They like to think they are the ones in charge. That’s fine. Let them believe that. But just because you’re actually the one in control of the walk doesn’t give you the right to be a jerk. So, we wanted to give you a few tips for walking more happily with your pet parents.
But before we get into that: A key purpose of any walk is catching up with the other dogs in your neighborhood or the regulars at your park, and we’ve got some ideas for doing that more effectively, too.
To start with, make sure you get a big drink of water before you head out. You don’t know how long you might be walking. If you’re lucky, it will be a long, long time, maybe 42 days or—even better—27 minutes. (OK, so we’re not really good with time and clocks and calendars and stuff.) The point is, you want enough water in your system to be able to leave lots of messages for other dogs. We’ve all had the experience—usually near the end of the walk—of really wanting to add something to the conversation at the base of the crepe myrtle and discovering you don’t have anything to, uh, contribute. It’s the worst! Ask your person to carry extra water in case you need to fill up midway through your outing.
And now here are those ideas for walking more happily with your people:
Even worse, if you make a habit of pulling, your person might make you wear one of those ridiculous-looking halters or harnesses. Your person will tell you that you look cute in it. Trust us: You don’t. So, keep your cool. That juicy groundhog will still be there. We all know they don’t move that quickly anyway.
* Heel—to keep them happy. Not all pet parents care about things like making you stop and sit before you cross every street or are obsessed with heeling—you know, that thing where, because of some insecurity deep inside themselves, they want you to walk right next to them at all times. But if your people are into these things, we recommend just going along and doing it. Throw them a bone, so to speak. It will make your people happy and, for that reason alone, it’s worth it. They do so much for you. After all, these are the same people who pick up your poop and carry it around in a little bag. Sure, as dogs, we enjoy sampling poop but we’re not going to carry it around the neighborhood in a baggie. That’s either a sign of love or craziness and we love our people too much to think they are crazy. So, heel. Sit. Do whatever they ask.
Yours in dogness,
(Part of an occasional series of blogs by Jimmydog Design’s Chief Canine Officers. In this installment, Freddie and Joey delve into walking etiquette and explain the safe and polite way for people to introduce themselves to dogs who are out enjoying their daily stroll.)
In our last blog, we wrote about how important it is for dogs and their people to take a daily walk. If there were 10 Commandments for dogs, “Take a walk” would be the very first one. (Oh, 10 Commandments for dogs. That’s a good idea for a blog! But we digress.)
Not to brag, but we are dog walk experts. We have gone on at least one walk every day for nearly our entire lives. We asked our people to help us figure out how many walks that is and it’s a big number: something like 3,800, which is way more than 4—the number of paws we each have, the number of creatures in our family pack and really the biggest number we ever needed to use before today.
Most days, we have excellent walks. But some days, things go wrong and a lot of those times the things go wrong because of people—not because people are bad but because they don’t always understand dogs, even if they are pet parents of dogs themselves.
So, we thought we’d explain some things from a dog’s perspective—’cause that’s the only one we have—that will make walks safer and more fun for everyone.
The most important thing people should remember when they come across a dog out for a walk is that not all dogs are interested in meeting new people. We know this seems weird because of the whole “man’s best friend thing,” but some dogs are shy and some are just busy doing other things. As nice as you might be, if we are in mole-vole killing mode, we aren’t interested in making friends. We have exterminating to do!
If you want to make friends with a dog, the polite—and safe—thing to do is to ask the dog’s person if it’s OK. And then you should listen for the person’s answer before you do any more things!
We, for instance, often feel shy. We like people to say “hi” to us from a distance and then we all can go about our business. It can take a long, long time before we feel comfortable having new people pet us— like a couple of years. Seriously.
If a dog’s person says “yes,” you can walk slowly toward the dog. Be calm. Don’t move too quickly or talk too loudly. Remember, we really don’t know what all those words coming out of your mouth mean. You might think you’re being nice while we might think you are a crazed dog killer. (Really, sometimes it’s hard to tell the difference.)
Even if our person says it’s OK, watch us before you start petting our heads or offering us treats. If our ears are up, our heads are held high and our tails are wagging, we’re ready to mingle. If our ears are back, our fur is standing up, our tails are tucked under and our legs are stiff, we might be thinking about biting you. Hard.
This is all especially important if you are one of those younger, smaller people called children—or if you are an adult who is responsible for children.
Those younger, smaller people can be very cute and they are often covered in various crumbs and stains that are very, very tasty to dogs. But they also move erratically and sometimes screech in a way that really hurts our ears. One of our cousin dogs is terrified of all the younger, smaller people—and if those younger, smaller people happen to be playing with balls or riding on anything with wheels, he has a complete meltdown and his person has to take him home, where he has a nap to recover from the stress of it all.
So, the next time you see us at the park, give us a big wave and say “hi” and we’ll wag our tails back at you—from a distance.
Next up: The last part of our dog walking series—Dog walk etiquette—Lessons for dogs.
Yours in dogness,
Freddie & Joey
The third in a series of occasional blogs by Jimmydog’s Chief Canine Officers Freddie and Joey.
There’s almost nothing Jimmydog’s Chief Canine Officers Freddie and Joey love more than to go for a walk. In their latest blog or dlog as they call them, they explain the finer points of their daily habit (and they mean daily!) and encourage you and your dog to hit the trails, too!
At the risk of offending some of you very nice people reading this, there is no dumber question to ask a dog than: “Do you want to go for a walk?”
Never, in the history of dogs, has the answer to that question been no.
It doesn’t matter if it’s really cold out. Or if it’s really hot out. It doesn’t matter if it’s raining. In fact, if it’s snowing, we like an extra-long walk. It doesn’t matter if our arthritis is acting up or we just got home from a 5-mile hike and could use a little nap.
Do we want to go for a walk? Yes! Yes! Yes!
As senior dogs, there are days when we don’t feel well enough for a very long walk. But even then, we WANT to go!
Since we were mere pups, we have taken our person Todd Belcher for a walk every day—every single day—no matter what. (Have we mentioned that Todd is the best person ever?) When the weather is especially nice, we take a second walk. And if Stephanie—our other best person ever—has time, we take her along, too. Those are the best walks—when our whole pack goes together.
We have heard that not all dogs go for a walk every day. We can’t believe this is true. It’s too sad to even consider.
Our walks almost always start with our other favorite activity—riding in the car. We like to get out of the city and explore the walking and hiking trails of nice big parks in our county. Our favorites are Horizons Park and Triad Park. The car seems to decide which one we visit. (It’s bossy like that.) But that’s fine with us. We like the surprise. Oh, smell! We’re at Horizons today!
We realize not everyone can visit parks every day. That’s OK. Your walks can start right outside your front door: All you need is a dog and a leash. (The leash helps the dog make sure he doesn’t lose track of you. We have noticed that people are prone to wandering off.)
Dogs are meant to walk. Our ancestors traveled long distances every day looking for food. Thankfully, as modern dogs, we don’t have to search for our next meal–it just appears in the bowl. Magic!
So, our walks are a chance for us to stretch our muscles, get the blood pumping, breathe fresh air and clear our heads. (We might look like we’re just lying around much of the time, but we are thinking BIG THOUGHTS, like, Could we learn magic and make food appear in the bowl all day long?)
Todd uses our walks to clear his head too. And when Stephanie comes, we talk about all sorts of important dog and people things. It’s a big family bonding time for all of us.
As dogs, we’re actually quite chatty and leave a lot of messages for the other animals: “Stay away! This is my tree!” or “You smell cute. Leave me your address!” We don’t know why people waste time with all those Facetweets and Twitterbooks—pee is so much simpler.
When we have time, we do a bit of hunting, always on the lookout for one of the biggest menaces of all time: moles. Or maybe they’re voles. Really, it hardly matters. They are both creepy, creepy little things that have no place in a respectable park. A quick snap of the jaw and good riddance mole. (Vole?!)
We love walks so much that we’re going to write a couple more of these blogs about them. Next up: Dog walk etiquette—Lessons for people. (We’ve got some stuff we really need to teach you!)
Yours in dogness,
Freddie & Joey