My dog, Puddin’, eats rocks. She has had two surgeries to remove the offending stones from her lower track. Why would she do something so stupid? There was probably something yummy on them. Puddin’ is a lucky Yorkie. She landed in a household where we happen to think she is the funniest dog, ever. Plus, Beasley, my Bijon, loves her.
I did some reading about helping overactive dogs mellow out. Aside from doggie downers, everything I read revolved around giving the dog regular exercise. Not just throw-the-ball kind of exercise, (she would probably eat that too) – the experts seem to agree that time on a leash, following their humans and behaving themselves during a long walk is a great antidote for negative doggie behavior. Fine. I feel happy to get my own workout accomplished each day. Now I have to go on long walks with my dogs as well? They’re no fun to walk. They pull on their leashes and try to drag me along. And yes, we’ve been to doggie obedience.
After Puddin’ developed a new annoying trick (taking the end square of the toilet tissue roll and running through the house until the roll is gone,) I decided to rethink the doggie walk concept. Maybe a little practice on the dog obedience basics would be in order.
What does this dog problem have to do with beauty or fitness, which is supposed to be the theme here? Well, as an experiment, I grudgingly decided to combine my workout with dog walking. I was not looking forward to this new plan because of the constant pulling by my dogs on their leashes. My friend told me that Cesar Millan, the famous “Dog Whisperer,” recommends giving dogs with this sort of problem a job to do. The dogs wear backpacks and carry light loads while walking out. This approach is supposed to keep the animal focused on a job instead of pulling on the leash.
It turns out that Puddin’ and Beasley have a work ethic. Who knew? I ordered two miniature backpacks online from a company called Outward Hound. Puddinn’ carries little rocks. Beasley, a little bit larger dog, carries cans of tomato paste. From the very first moment they donned their backpacks, all pulling stopped and the work ethic took over. If this success story is any indication, the same result will probably happen with larger dogs.
So now, I am not only walking several times a week for my fitness routine, I am able to give my pets the benefit of regular exercise as well. Although I have often discussed the benefits of a walking program as the main subject for this column, I have not covered the added pleasure that a walking program can lend to your relationship your pet. My dogs get really excited when I pull out their backpacks. They can’t wait to hit the bricks for another walk.
So, if your dog causes trouble from chewing, digging, barking, or other distressing behaviors, a little walking program might solve the problem. At the same time, it will get you off the treadmill or stationary exercise equipment and out of the gym for what some walking enthusiasts call “Outdoorphins.”