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Thursday, February 3, 2011

Join me at the DogTread Game Day Walk Event

by Carrie Boyko, CEB
© A. Boyko
Easy Boy...Take it Slow Today
Those of you that know me well will not be surprised to find me jumping into a "walk your dog" event. Jt Clough is sponsoring this Super Bowl Game Day event and blog hop at her site, and it's just my cup of tea. 

If you get involved in Jt's event, she's even offering a free book on 5K Training and Running with Dogs. Check out her 4 step plan and get your blog hop post up on her site before February 5. After you get into this hop, might as well try another one--a photo post. All Things Dog Blog is hosting the Super Dog Sunday Blog Hop. All you need is a football-themed photo post to link up and get tons of traffic. Need help? Here's my Help Page for this event. Better get hopping!

What about me?'s the thing. I'm recuperating from a little injury while on vacation. I'm still taking it a bit slow though, so as not to injure my already weakened leg. So here's my program.

© A. Boyko
Tanner, my big guy, is a 70-lb. Golden Retriever. He's a live wire, for sure, eager to meet and greet anyone and everyone we pass. I've found that using a backpack on him has been a useful technique during this time. While walking with a backpack on, a dog must concentrate more carefully on his job. If he gets too boisterous, or even walks with a sway, the backpack will also swing, causing a bit of annoyance for the pup. The backpack is exactly the approach I needed to 'give him a chill pill' while we walk during my rehab.

If you've never used a backpack with your high-energy dog, I'd love to share a few tips from my years of experience:

  • Start by adjusting the fit snugly to your dog, for the least amount of sway.
  • Select a small package of beans, rice or other lightweight, conforming bags of 'payload' for your Fido to carry. Start very light--just a pound or two--to allow your Fido to get used to this new appendage.
  • Place these in the pockets of the backpack, weighting each side evenly, to keep the backpack from sliding to one side.
  • When you strap it on the first time, be sure to first prepare yourself mentally. Tackle this job with a strong sense of leadership. No coddling allowed! Take off on your walk with a 'no-nonsense, everything is fine' attitude that will convey the message that all is well. If you act like nothing is different, Fido will tag along happily, adapting to the change without much ado.
  • Don't allow any 'stop and smell the roses' stuff on this walk. Choose one spot where you'll allow Fido to take care of the business at hand, and then move on consistently for the rest of the outing. You're on a mission to get some much needed mental and physical exercise, that will find Fido ready for a nap when you arrive home in a half hour or so. 
  • Too much time? Okay, so you could make the first walk with the backpack a bit shorter; give him a chance to get used to it. Gradually add on 5 or 10 minutes to each walk and you'll soon have him in great physical shape, while you're enjoying a peaceful, bonding time with your pup.
  • I like to end each backpacking session with a nice, rewarding rubdown. Dogs love massage, and your Fido will enjoy a special one if you take a few tips from All Things Dog Blog's Dr. Pat. Check out her post on Dog Massage (It's the next post as you scroll down) for some tips on getting started. There's no better way to have your dog eager to take his backpacking walks, than if he knows he'll be getting his just reward when he arrives home. Happy tails!
Thinking about picking up a backpack for your Fido? Here's a place to get started, with all sizes and styles:

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