Tuesday, April 24, 2012
Pooches: Small Girl Walking Big Dogs
Most of the time they think I'm joking.
And I've even had a couple confide in me, mid-year, that I look more likely to have a little poodle.
One that's pink and carried around in my purse (of course!).
I think a lot of people do find it hard to believe that small girls can walk bigger dogs, or people limit their options to only having smaller dogs because they think that's all that they can handle.
Despite the misconceptions I really do like big dogs, and here are some things I've learned along the way:
Miss M's first dog walker also taught me to tie knots in the middle of the leash which gives more of a grip.
The leash hold is especially important when I'm stopped to pick up their poo where I will be a bit preoccupied. I make sure the pooches are in a sit stay and that I do have a good hold on their leashes.
it's treated as a training walk. We keep things consistent and routine so the dogs understand our expectations. They need to sit each time we approach a corner. They need to keep checking back with us, and we keep treats to mark good behavior and focus. Since they understand how they're supposed to behave on the walks, it makes walking them that much easier...even though they outweigh me by double. We also keep referring to this really great guest post by Willie & Nabi's person about the steps she's taken to learn to walk 2 dogs at the same time.
Non-Judgmental Training Tools
Living in the city we are forced to take our dogs on daily walks on day one: encountering scary noises, lots of people, and even more dogs (we counted 30 dogs on our block alone!). So I do find it frustrating when people judge other people's training tools without understanding their situation. We believe that each owner knows their situation and dog best and can make the best choice after researching options. Even flat collars can cause severe neck and disk damage if it's not appropriate for that specific dog.
We have found that these tools can evolve throughout your time with your dog. For our own dogs we've used a variety of halters, prongs and martingales. We've also tried this plastic prong as an alternative to the large metal prongs (and we always make sure to doubleclip everything knowing that equipment can fail).
These are some things that have worked for me. Any other tips for handling large or strong pooches?