I often get asked ‘Laura, what should I have with me when I walk my dog?’
Honestly there is no right answer as it will vary from person to person and dog to dog.
For example, you could take:
- A water bowl
- A water bottle for you
- A water bottle for your dog
- A lead
- A spare lead
- Poo bags
- A first aid kit
- Medication/inhalers for you and/or the dog
- A mixture of treats for the dog
- Snacks for you
- Money (In case there’s a dairy or Mr Whippy drives past!)
- A towel for you
- A towel for the dog
- A toy to play with
- A spare toy
- A jumper for you when it gets cold
- A jumper for your dog when it gets cold
- A rain coat for when it rains (some dogs would also appreciate there own rain coat)\
If you tried to prepare for every eventuality; and lets be frank if you really took all that on a walk you would have to have a huge rucksack or pull a trailer behind you the whole way and to me that just sounds like seriously too much effort! Walking the pups should be fun!
Instead of trying to lug everything round just ensure you have your essentials. I say your essentials as they can vary depending on your dog.
For me I always have:
Poo bags – although it is a nasty, disgusting job…PICK IT UP! Or karma may get you like it once got me. I didn’t pick it up and 5 minutes later stood in a big dog turd…safe to say I have learnt my lesson.
A lead – even if we are going on an off leash walk I make sure I take the dogs leads. You never know what you might come across that you need to keep the dogs away from. For example if you go for a walk and find the council have kindly put down rat/possum bait traps. I know with Keira sometimes I have to clip her on her lead to keep her from rolling in poo or a dead animal (Yuck!)
Also a lead can be used to create an emergency muzzle: an essential technique in situations where a dog may have hurt themselves. Your own dog could need to wear one if they have been injured as even the softest and gentlest dogs can react negatively to pain and lash out at those around them.
A water bottle – firstly its important to keep both the pups and yourself hydrated. But also I have it there for those moments where I might come across a dog that doesn’t like my two pups or is loose and aggressive with no supervision…a squirt from the water bottle and they tend to back off. Thankfully it usually doesn’t get out of hand enough to require the water bottle as I can read the dogs body language and act accordingly. A skill that I feel many people should invest in, given that we spend so much time with dogs. Countless times I have seen people completely misreading their own dog or making a situation worse as they just aren’t listening to what the dog’s body language is telling them…I am going off on a tangent here and it is a big topic so we will talk about this at a later date.
A toy – with Keira & Kai I usually take an appropriate sized ball (something else we will discuss in another post). The ball is the perfect distraction for the two of them. They can be playing, paddling in the water or having a good sniff but when I get the ball out and say ‘You ready?!’ I can get there attention straight back on me. For some of you a treat or two might work better for your dog but for my two it’s all about that ball.
Me (the two-legger) – on a walk I am the pups’ safety spot. If they get scared of something whether it is another dog, someone flying a kite or even a noisy car/boat they know they can come to me and it will be okay.
I am the pups’ anchor. If they get carried away whilst playing and go a bit to far I can call them and they have somewhere to come back to. Always be happy when your dog comes back to you. Even if you have called them 10 times if you showthem coming back is a good thing full of happiness, treats and toys they are more likely to do it quicker next time than if they associate coming back with being scorned or shouted at. (Who wants to come back to a miserable bugger?!)
So those are my essentials that I take with me every time. I may take a few additional things occasionally if I know it is going to be a long walk I have a collapsible water bowl to take for the dogs or if I know there is a place where the dogs will swim but I don’t want them to be cold for the rest of the walk I may take them a quick-dry towel. Sometimes I like to plan walks that involve a sneaky ice cream and/or coffee on the way so will take some money with me so I can treat myself (sometimes I’m naughty and the pups get to share an ice cream too)
When your out adventuring with your dog it is important to remember that you do not always have to carry everything with you while you are walking just make sure you have them readily available in your car. A towel, spare lead, water bowl and jumper aren’t going to take up too much space in the boot.
I would also recommend having a first aid kit in your car for those emergency moments. But before using it you must make sure that everything in your first aid kit can actually be used on your dog.
We do sell PET First Aid Kits that are people & pet friendly, if you don’t have one I would definitely recommend one!…cheeky but I’m not going to miss out on a opportunity to mention our fabulous kits when I see it!
What do you take with you on a walk? Do you or your dog have any special essentials?
(With help from Keira & Kai)