We all have days when getting ourselves out the door is a challenge, and adding dogs to the mix certainly doesn’t make it any easier. A little prep goes a long way, though. Use these dog-walking hacks to spend less time getting ready to leave and more time watching your pups wiggle happily down the sidewalk.
Nothing is more frustrating than searching all over the house for a missing leash, especially if you’ve already said W-A-L-K in front of your (now very excited and impatient) dogs. Closets can swallow up leashes, and it can be super annoying to sort through the jungle of jackets to find a lost one. Hooks allow you to create a dedicated spot for your leashes (and harnesses) where they are easy to see and grab. Having one place to put the leashes is especially helpful if a few different family members walk your pups — you’ll always know where the last person left the leashes!
A harness is a great piece of gear for a puller or doggy Houdini, but if your pups aren’t used to wearing one, getting it on can be a challenge, as correctly stepping into a system of straps and buckles isn’t exactly intuitive. Train newbies by helping them into their harness and providing a tasty treat once done. Like any training, this will take time, but having dogs who know where their paws go is worth the effort and saves you time in the long run.
Speaking of harnesses, consider leaving them clipped to the leashes when you return home from your walk. Depending of the type, you may not have to separate the harness from the leash in order to separate it from your dog. While forgoing one little clip may not seem like a big time saver, it can save you a ton of time later if it means your harnesses don’t get separated from your leashes (saving you from having to search the house again the next time your dogs want a walk).
Your dogs are all leashed, patiently waiting by the front door while you run around the house grabbing poop bags, a water bottle, the collapsible bowl, dog treats, and other assorted pup paraphernalia. The mad dash is understandable — there’s a lot of stuff that responsible pet parents need to pack when heading out for an adventure, especially when the weather is extreme or when the walk will be a long one. Make packing easier on yourself by having a dedicated dog walking bag, keeping it stocked, and storing it near the leashes. It could be a purse, a backpack, a large satchel — whatever fits your style and stuff.
When the weather turns from nice to nasty, it may be better to take our canine companions for shorter, but more frequent strolls. If you’re just going around the block on a rainy day, you probably don’t need a whole backpack full of provisions — but a couple poop bags and a few treats are still necessary. If you pre-stuff your raincoat with treats and poop pickers, getting out the door will be as easy as slipping on the gear. You can refill pockets when you get back, instead of taking up precious pre-walk time (when your dogs may already be doing the gotta-go dance).
Okay, so you’ve managed to get the dogs leashed up and out of the house, and you’ve locked the door. You’re halfway to the sidewalk when you realize you must turn the excited pups around — because you’ve forgotten their poop bags. This can usually be avoided by following the steps above, but even the most prepared pet parents will forget something. So simply stash poop bags around your property. Keep a couple in the mailbox or under a rock at the end of your driveway. If you live in an apartment, under the doormat also works. This hack allows the walk to continue uninterrupted and ensures you remain a responsible dog walker.
About the Author: Heather Marcoux is a freelance writer in Alberta, Canada. Her beloved Ghost Cat was once her only animal, but the addition of a second cat, Specter, and the dog duo of GhostBuster and Marshmallow make her fur family complete. Sixteen paws is definitely enough. Heather is also a wife, a bad cook, and a former TV journalist. Some of her friends have hidden her feed because of an excess of cat pictures. If you don’t mind cat pictures, you can follow her on Twitter; she also posts pet GIFs on Google+.