A Good Walk

We were away visiting family this weekend, leaving the dogs with my son’s friend house/dog sitting. This is infinitely preferable to boarding them. It’s vastly cheaper, by several orders of magnitude and it’s better for them as they don’t have to vary their routine all that much. It also helps that he’s been added to the small club of people that our dogs think causes the sun to rise and set. They love the guy as much as my son.

Bad thing is they get no walks, since you really have to know them and how they work to keep them under control. So they were more than ready. Jasper is usually at Defcon 2 before we get out the door.

The weather has broken here. So instead of 80 degrees and climbing in the morning, it’s now 50. No more flop-sweats during the walk. I’ve migrated away from shorts and can wear jeans now and have replaced my walking shoes.

I go through a pair a season, more or less. This summer, I bought a pair of Puma walking shoes. They started out super comfy, but the support blew out after awhile. And the soles were really kind of hard for this application. I’ve slipped more than once when the pavement was wet.

For the last few years, I’ve walked in a pair of Irish Setters. These have lasted three years or so before wearing out. Apparently, they can’t be resoled. I liked them because of the flat soles. This is key if you happen to step on dog land mines from time to time.

This year, I found a pair of Timberlands. Helps that they were cheaper than my preferred boots. They are super light and well built. We’ll see how many miles I get out of them. It’s super to be able to walk properly for a change. The worn out Pumas were causing me to pronate badly.

I’ve also re-kitted the leashes I use.

Since Aria is docile as a lamb while on a walk, I’ve ditched her pinch collar in favor of a martingale collar. She’s clearly calmed down and learned the signals I use while walking her. She responds to the gentlest tug on the leash. I could probably get away with the same for the big guy, Jethro, but in the past he’s realized he’s in a softer collar and would take advantage. I can control him with a martingale, Herself cannot. What’s funny is with the pinch collar, he walks with a slack leash. It’s rare I have to give him any sort of correction. Maybe he’s realized he has to behave.

The big change was with the crazy boy, Jasper. I switched him to Aria’s more stout pinch collar, and bought him a big-boy model like Jet’s. I also got him a big-dog leash. I’ve been through a lot of leashes, and leather is by far the best. Problem was, his old leash was sized for a dog half his size – maybe 1/2″ wide. His new one is 1″ like Jet’s and is vastly more comfortable.

So after the excitement of leashing up, off we went into the cool sunshine. It was a stunning morning, with dew on the grass, lots of interesting stuff for the pups to smell. Not walking all weekend, it was a wild few blocks before they settled in. My new boots made it super easy to walk. The dogs responded well to commands. Only ran into one other dog while walking, and Jasper had the misfortune of trying to go Defcon 1 with Jethro in-between him and the other dog. That earned him a growl and a nip on the neck, Jet’s way of telling him to knock it off. So he knocked it off. Whined about it mightily, but then fell back in line.

Got back, played a bunch as I went about my morning chores, and now they are all curled up, resting for round two, when Herself gets back from work.

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