Monday, November 16, 2009

Dog Walking

Now that winter is here, there are some things that have to happen before the dogs and I can go on a walk. First, I am down to just two dogs who will walk with me: Marley (who will go anywhere) and Rafferty (who will go anywhere Marley goes). Next, there are several preparations I undertake before snapping on the leashes and walking out the door.

It is COLD! That means warm shoes that have waterproofing. Walking along with two energetic dogs and having wet feet is NOT fun. My personal choice are Keens or Merles. I love them, they have good traction, and both brands have boots with good insulation! Perfect for when you are standing in snow at the dog park for 30 min.

Puppies! Since I usually have a puppy to deal with on my walks, I need gloves that have traction and warmth. Puppies pull, try to eat things off the ground, and will randomly spaz out doing labby loops. Without good gloves you either have no traction, and hence no control, or you have very cold fingers that can't feel anything (and then have no control).

Pants! For warmer days I wear insulated track pants. For cold days I bring out the Carharts with a base-layer underneath. For insane, why-am-I-out-in-this weather, bring on the ski pants!

Jacket! For really cold days I wear a down-jacket. Otherwise a soft-shell or fleece is sufficient. If it is a blizzard outside, then out comes the hard-shell with hood. Usually I don't need goggles as well (unless I have to blow the snow out of the driveway at 4 am.).

And of course...a hat. Really any hat will do. They keep all that hot air from escaping from your head. But then you have hat hair. And so I usually have two braids that make me look like I am twelve, but is anyone else even out in this crazy weather anyway?

Of course, I am not the only one who has things to wear for walks. Marley has an orange vest for visibility, and a flashing beacon for late night walks. Rafferty has a really sweet leash (read one I try to get him not to chew on).

Rafferty walks next to me and we practice not eating things, not pulling, no please-drop-that-right-now, don't pull, really-I-meant-it-last-time, don't walk under my feet, really-don't-eat-that, and not pulling. Marley runs along without a leash. We practice lots of recalls. I actually had someone say they were "impressed" by my dog's training. Well I would hope after 14 months of continuous training there would be some results!

We walk for as long as Rafferty can go, and then head home. I then take off Marley's vest, Rafferty's leash, my boots, gloves, coat, and hat. We relax and then repeat next time!

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