Wednesday, February 20, 2013

City Dog: Budgeting Time for the Before-Work Daily Walk

We know many people on the brink of dog-ownership--especially living in the city without a backyard--question if they can commit the time for daily walks.
Especially when these walks involve snow and ice and sub-zero temperatures.
We have been learning a lot about how to gear up to get us all through the winter. Here are some things we've learned to make our walks more time-efficient, especially for those before-work walks.

Dressing the Dogs Quickly:
Our dogs won't go out in the cold unless they're all bundled up. And seeing how we're often layering hoodies with coat and snoods and boots, it can take some extra time. 
Our pups definitely need the layers for our longer family walks and SociaBulls, but for our quick before-work walks they are fine just wearing a coat. (Though I will add a snood for subzero temperatures). We make things easy by having a really organized system we wrote about here. 
If it's just snow out, the pooches don't need their boots. But we need to put boots on them if it's icy outside. A lot of people don't shovel their walks and the ice and salt hurts the pooches' paws.
 It takes a bit more time to put the the boots on both of the pups (we wrote about teaching our pups to wear boots, here) but it makes things quicker when we get back since we do wipe our dogs paws each time they come in. We don't need to really wipe their feet if they've worn the boots.
We also think the boots are much quicker than using Musher's Paws which seems to get messy.

Preparing for the Elements:
One big thing that slows us down is navigating over the ice, especially since a lot of people still don't shovel their sidewalks. After a couple of slow walks, and falls, E and I both brought crampons which allow us to walk over ice as swiftly as water spiders. We like the Icetrekkers Shoe Diamond Grip Crampons which are a bit more, but we have never had a fall.
The other thing that slows us down is trying to get the poo bags out of the dispenser, even with my flip-top gloves. I've learned to pull out a few bags and open them when we're still inside, which definitely does save a lot of time and involves less exposed skin in cold weather.

Preparing the People:
I do miss our warmer weather walks where I can just slip on a pair of flip-flops and head out the door with the pups. So we also prepare to bundle ourselves.
For our before-work walks, we each have a specific pair of boots by the door that we can slip on easily and wear without searching for socks. 
We have a system of keeping our coats, flip-top gloves, and city dog bag right next to the door with the leashes.

With all of this preparation, our morning walks are only about 30 minutes.
Just curious, how much time do you spend getting your pups ready in the morning before work? And does anyone else have tips to make it quicker?

In case you missed it:


Amy Jo said...

I love that this is the topic of your post, because I just had this conversation this morning. Actually, my conversation was more like I HATE WINTER...I'M OVER IT!

It takes about 20 minutes for me in the morning. Granted, my doggie can't walk very far because she just had surgery on both of her hind legs, so that cuts a little bit of time off the norm.

I'm ready for spring and the joy of just having to throw on her leash, grab the treats and poo bags...and out the door!

Lar said...

I don't know how I would cope with walking our dogs in the winter in the city. Thankfully, we are organized by the door (thanks to your shared tips) with coats, gloves, bags, hats, etc. But we don't need to bundle the dogs or wrap their feet so it's mostly just the human-wrapping that's time consuming. Thanks for sharing your routine!

Anonymous said...

Love that you posted about this. It's about 30 min for us also. My theory is that the morning walk is the most stressful walk because there is ultimately a time limitation. You have to get up and go and like you said, leave time to gear up! But once you have the routine down, it's easy peasy!

Anonymous said...

I only walk 1 dog so I tie the poop bag to the leash. I think of you when I mend down to pick it up, being careful not to get my scarf and/or bag on the ground. But it's pretty easy. I don't know how you do it with 2!
I'm lucky that Petey doesn't mind standing around bundled up.

Mel said...

Though fashionably questionable, UGGs are our go to morning footwear. But as the boy says, "if they are good enough for Tom Brady, they're good enough for us."

Two French Bulldogs said...

Being organized is the key
Benny & Lily

K. said...

I just have one foster dog at the moment (5 y/o shepherd mix) and we only go for about 15 minutes in the morning. I have all my stuff by the door too and keep loose poo bags in my coat pockets so they're easy to get. I'm a student so I usually come home a few hours later and take her for a longer walk and/or dog park outing. So I'm not as worried about a long morning walk, just enough to have a bathroom break and get a little energy out to tide her over till lunch.

Kirsten (peacefuldog) said...

We don't spend much time, as we don't suit the dogs up in anything--what takes the most time is getting the harnesses on the pitties. We've been having a mild winter, but if we had a really harsh day I think I would give the pitties some jackets.

The nice thing about the winter is that there are fewer people out and about, so walks are easier...since my monsters are dog reactive and get excited when they see skateboards, kids, pretty much anything that moves ...:)

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