At least once a week from now on and as long as she’s still with us, our golden retriever Sheba is going to share one thing she does to live life to the fullest. At times when I’m watching her doing something fun, I get this feeling that she knows that her days in this world are winding down, and she is determined to make the most of them. It never fails to bring a smile to my face!
Since this week is National Walk Your Dog Week, Sheba wanted to share this tip for today. Walking is good for the body, mind, and spirit. We’re not going to lie to you and tell you that we walk every day, because we don’t. The crew gets some of their exercise by playing in the yard as well. But since Cricket, our chief ball player, has been laid up with her arthritis, we’re trying to get more walks in.
Walking is an easy form of exercise that most dogs and humans can participate in (cats too! More about that in a bit). A brisk walk burns more calories, but if a slow easy walk is all you can manage, that is still beneficial. Our three dogs are too hard to manage walking together. I even tried two recently; when the Dadz had taken Luke for a ride I headed out with the two girls. I hate to say it, but Sheba was very difficult to walk when her sister was with us! So we do individual walks. Right now everyone has different needs anyway.
In spite of fighting cancer, Sheba still has a lot of energy for walking. But I’ve mentioned it before, she likes to get her treats on walks. Can you imagine walking three dogs and having to stop every two feet to dole out treats to all of them? Also, Sheba is not reactive in any way, so I can walk her anywhere unlike her siblings where we have to be choosier.
Walks can be about more than just walking too. When I walk Luke we also work on training. There was a time when Luke was very nervous about walking – he’d be tense and jump at any little noise. He would be too nervous to even stop and pee. I think now that we’ve added more training to his walks, he is more relaxed.
I’m happy to say that he now stops to mark his territory numerous times on every walk, just like all male dogs do, and he’ll even stop to poop as well (trust me, this is a breakthrough!). He has also learned to stop every so often to check in with me, and makes eye contact sometimes before I even tell him to “watch me”. We’ve also started something new. One of our big concerns with walking Luke (and Cricket also, who is leash reactive) is running into off leash dogs.
I read recently that the first step to dealing with that possibility is to train your dog to stop and sit behind you. Once you’ve got them doing that, you can deal with the oncoming dog. Since Luke is already great at sit, and pretty good at “stay”, I’ve started making him sit and then I’ll turn my back to him, telling him to stay. Then I’ll give him a treat. We’ll keep lengthening the time he waits.
Just a week ago, a 10-minute walk was too much for Cricket. So I decided to wait a week and then get her out for a shorter walk. Walking can be good for arthritic dogs, helping to keep their joints loose and lubricated. I actually suspect that Cricket might have a meniscus tear in her knee again and that has made things worse. So we’re resting her more. But yesterday I got her out for a 5-minute walk, just around our yard and she did better! Her legs were still a little shaky when we got back, but she was able to make it up the three stairs to the porch without stumbling. That is progress. I kept her on the soft grass, and to only gentle slopes in the yard. I still had to slow her down at times, but she really enjoyed just sniffing around the yard. So we’ll keep that up.
Walking three dogs separately can be challenging time-wise, which is why it doesn’t happen daily here. But there is something special about the one-on-one time with each dog and I think they appreciate that (even though the two left behind are not happy, even if they already had their walk!). Even an easy walk can be stimulating for dogs in many ways.
So walks can be that simple; which means yes, you can walk your cat as well! I haven’t done this with Samantha yet but it’s something I’ve been wanting to. Cats probably won’t go for a walk in the woods or along the road like a dog would (though our cat Don Juan used to follow us when we went on walks many years ago); but they can still get out and enjoy some fresh air and exercise!
Our friend Maggie, who has her own blog Oh My Dog!, gets her cat Newt outside walking on a harness and leash. Look at Newt even outside walking with her K9 sibling!
Another friend Carol from Fidose of Reality shared with us that her friend June in Florida has a rescue cat named Jack who goes for walks as well!
Seeing these two black cats having so much fun; I know I have to try this with Sam (plus look at the cute harnesses they have!). It has to be such great stimulation for indoor cats. I’d suggest to start out slowly, since they are probably used to the safety of always being indoors.
Sheba wants you to know that even if you don’t walk for miles, and whether you walk in the woods, on the road or street, or even just around your own yard, getting out for some fresh air and exercise is one wonderful way to live life to the fullest, as seen in all of the photos we shared here!
If you have a smart phone, you can do even more good by downloading one of the dog walking apps that give money to rescues and shelters every time you walk. We use WoofTrax, and raise money for the rescue that Luke came from.
That just goes to show that walking can be good for everyone, animal and human, in many different ways.
Have you seen Sheba’s other life tips? You can find each through the links below:
- Tip 1 – Don’t be afraid to get dirty!
- Tip 2 – FunTime video!
- Tip 3 – How to get a good night’s sleep!
- Tip 4 – Indulge Your Parents!
- Tip 5 – Do what you love!
- Tip 6 – Be just a little naughty!
- Tip 7 – Enjoy the simple things!
Sounds like you’ve put a lot of thought and effort into everyone’s walks. Exercise, training, fun…you have it all covered. The pups are so lucky to have such an engaged mom who is thinking of their needs.
As our Golden aged, our walks got shorter and slower, but he always enjoyed getting out for a sniff of the neighborhood and getting some attention from neighbors. Towards the end, our walks were only to the lamp post at the end of the neighbor’s yard, but there was a lot of doggy information on that pole, so he enjoyed it.
I used to walk my cat Felix on a harness. He loved being out and I had to limit how far from the house we went just in case I something “scary” came around and I had to get control of a freaked out cat and carry him back to the house. I’ve also taken the other cats out on a harness, but he was my most adventurous kitty.
Thank you, Raven! Thanks for confirming that just getting out there can make an older dog happy. I’ve been able to increase Cricket’s walks to 10 minutes now and she’s loving it!
I definitely want to get Samantha a harness then. I’m not sure how adventurous she’ll be, so I may borrow my sister’s harness before I buy one. We’ll stick close to the house! 🙂 I at least want to give her a chance to try. She used to escape the house when she was younger so I do know she enjoys the outdoors!
Callie, Shadow, and Ducky's Mom says
With the crazy drivers on our road, nearly 24/7, I won’t even walk on it alone never mind with either of the pups. So, Shadow, Ducky, and I get our exercise and fresh air in the back yard. Now that summer is waning, it’s time for Ducky to spend time at daycare again while I take Shadow for a walk at the park, at least one day a week anyway.
As for Cricket’s walks – the short walks are a great way to start rebuilding her mobility. When Callie had her CCL surgeries, the surgeon had me take her out just for potty times the first 2 weeks (before he removed the stitches), and very slow walks at that. Once the stitches came out, we started slightly longer and more frequent walks and each week extending the time of each walk until she was able to withstand a normal walk at the park.
I, too, love the “sit-stay behind me” idea. When Callie was still with us, I used to put myself between her and approaching dogs when we walked at the park. And, when necessary, I moved the 3 of us (Shadow was always with us) off and away from the trail. She was a bit leash reactive, but I could control her as long as there was enough distance between us and other dogs. Thankfully, Shadow is a much more mellow dog, like Sheba.
Our old street was getting busier all the time, but where we are now is soooo quiet, I just love it. Most people driving the streets up here live up here so they’re very polite and give us lots of space. Which is good because Sheba has a bad habit of wanting to park her butt in the road when a car goes by! She can be really stubborn when she wants to, and I sometimes have to physically push her out of the road (gently of course).
Thank you for confirming that I’m doing the right thing with the short slow walks with Cricket! We”re up to 8 minutes now, and she’s doing pretty well. 🙂
Groovy Goldendoodles says
I still enjoy walking with the Boys. We may not walk very fast, but we try to walk a few miles everyday – even in a hurricane!
You and your boys are motivated – and brave! 🙂 Speed definitely doesn’t matter; just getting out there moving is what does. Luke especially is a stop-and-sniffer, and I’ve had to learn to slow down and just let him enjoy that!
Since Sampson did his CCL tear, I’ve walked them separately twice a day. It is challenging and a lot more work for me, but I actually enjoy walking them one at a time.
You are SO right about the leash reactivity. When you have two dogs reacting and you are trying to treat and manage those dogs, it can easily get out of hand. (Remember the time I was sitting on the ground holding my dogs back, like I was a chariot driver?) ‘-)
I have actually gotten Sampson past 1) people and I can’t tell you how thrilled I was when I got him past a dog without him lunging and jumping.
I love the idea of having them sit behind you. This is something I need to work on with Delilah, because you know I live in the DADO capital of the world. 🙂
Gosh, Jodi, if I lived where you do and had been through some of things you have on walks, I’d probably never walk my dogs; I’d be so worried all the time! Well, except Sheba, because nothing phases her. She’s disappointed when anyone ignores her!
It’s so quiet up where we are that we rarely ever see anyone, person or dog, so far anyway! But I do avoid the time of day when those loose dogs tend to be out; and I still keep Luke and Cricket closer to home.
2 Brown Dawgs says
Hubby has been doing the walks in our house as part of his recovery. He takes all three two times around the block (it is not very big), one by one. They love it. They do not need a big exciting walk, around the block is OK with them.
I appreciate that you said they don’t need a big exciting walk. I think I get overwhelmed because sometimes I’m trying to do too much. But I think the dogs are also happy just to get out and about, even if it’s not far or long.
That’s me too – feeling guilty because I couldn’t or can’t do our daily 1.5. I used to be able to do so when my work day ended at 2:50, but now 4:30 with the same commute. There are are other issues, one being my 3 yrs old 5lb mixed girl often instigated a fight of sorts with my 7.5 yr old 13 lb female silky terrier usually as we get in front of our bldg. ugh they worry me but thank you for the encouragement here … relax and do what I can, but enjoy the time
You’re welcome, Andrea. I think as pet parents we probably spend a lot of time feeling guilty about what we do or don’t do. All we can really do is the best we can. I think many dogs are far more adaptable than we give them credit for; and are pretty happy just to spend time with us no matter what we’re doing.
If you have to take your girls for separate, shorter walks to keep the peace they might still be happy.
Dolly the Doxie says
Walks are the best, so glad that Sheba is enjoying hers! Almost think we are worried more about Cricket now though. Love Dolly
You and me both! It’s easy to get complacent about Sheba because she has been doing so well; though we know it can’t last. But Cricket has been tougher because she has slowed down so much; but she is doing better lately!
Sand Spring Chesapeakes says
You guys are enjoying your fall. Great pictures.
Carol Bryant says
Love seeing the fun walks! And yay for the cute kitties being included, too! Happy walking!
Lauren Miller (ZoePhee) says
I totally agree that walking is awesome! We try to walk every day but it’s even better if I can take them for off leash hikes.
I miss the days of off leash hikes! Once we started getting beagles, off leash hikes went off the table – can’t trust those hound dog noses.
The Island Cats says
The mom says the one time she really wishes she had a dog is when she goes walking. Walking is always more fun when you’re walking a dog, she says. And we’re not very accomodating when it comes to walking.
Enjoy your walks, Sheba!
I do a little jogging, but it is not as much fun because none of the dogs can go with me (they all have joint issues), so I can understand that!
M. K. Clinton says
We are finally getting out of the upper 90’s so walks will be fun again! BOL!
That makes me chuckle, because we are getting such cold mornings now, I have to wait until later to walk! I am glad you are getting nicer weather now though!
Two French Bulldogs says
That’s right Sheba keep going. Walking is good for the soul
Lily & Edward
easy rider says
I agree with you Sheba… the humans get a “free head” and can furget some problems and sorrows for a while… and we enjoy the time we are outside together :o)
Walking with multiple dogs can be challenging. Since Bailie runs several mornings a week, it means I get my own walk which works really well. At first all the separate walks with Katie and us we tough, but we adjusted and now it is normal to have some walks together, some separate and we are all happy with it. Any walk is a good walk.
Do you and Bailie do OK when you are the one left behind? I worry about what will happen when Sheba is gone. I am hoping Cricket gets enough better that I can walk her with Luke. I’m just not sure how either one would be if they were left behind alone. As it is, when two are left behind alone they howl for about 10 minutes (or longer, it may just be that I get out of earshot…LOL).
Sometimes we howl when we are left alone or if we are left home alone together, but only for a few minutes. We are used to being left alone so it isn’t a big deal. I know Bailie is going running, so I keep sleeping, Bailie knows when I walk she gets a treat, so she doesn’t mind. We also go on outings alone. I think the first few times it is hard, but if the one left at home gets a Kong, or treat ball to keep them busy and reward them, we learn quickly being home alone is actually alright.
It’s been so long since we used kongs and such, I hadn’t even thought of that….thank you! I think that could make a big difference, and also, hopefully they will get used to it with time, and if I can make it more of a routine too.
The Daily Pip says
My favorite time to walk Ruby is early in the morning. She also can occasionally be a little reactive to other dogs – not all dogs and not all the time so I’m choosy, too, about when and where we walk her. Our daily walks are usually just around our neighborhood, but then on the weekends we try to take her some place for a special walk – to the lake or the forest preserves.
I have my most energy in the mornings, so that’s the best time for me to walk anyway. Though now that the mornings are getting chillier, I’m going out just a little later! I prefer the sun to be up, just for the sake of warmth. 🙂
We love you, Sheba 🙂