[caption id=”” align=”alignnone” width=”1280”] Saturn, a GSD mix[/caption]
Since I’ve been walking the dogs at the shelter I’ve had a goal that had eluded me: walk every large dog that was housebroken.
There are a lot of dogs, and they all want to be walked. I start with the housebroken dogs first because they will hold it until they can’t anymore. Walking these guys first gets them out of their discomfort, and hopefully keeps housetraining ingrained so they are more adoptable.
Walking normal dogs is fun and relaxing. Walking shelter dogs takes more time and energy:
it can take time to get in/out of their pen without flight risk
they are usually overexcited to be with a person and to go on a walk
some are very strong
some do not walk well on a leash yet
Saturn, the dog above, was attentive, easy to get out of the pen, and easy to walk. If he got too far ahead he’d look back for guidance. This sweet dog is ready for a home.
Next up was Mulligan:
[caption id=”” align=”alignnone” width=”480”] Mulligan, shelter pic[/caption]
This dog is built like and behaves like Saturn, only more human-focused. Ready to be adopted.
Because things had been so easy it was time for a challenge:
Snowball is a heavy/strong pit with a head like a volleyball. During the first 5 minutes he was trying to eat the lead (mine, not the shelter’s) and do the pit head shake tug-of-war with it. I wasn’t sure how this was going to turn out.
After I tried a few techniques to keep the lead away from him he got a double-mouthful and wouldn’t drop it. The walk was (literally) going nowhere. My “hail Mary” was to leverage the human contact pits seem to want so much. I sat down on the curb and he jammed up between my legs and stuck his head on me. I stroked, scratched, and rubbed him and he lost interest in the lead, dropping it from his mouth.
When he seemed relaxed we restarted the walk and he did great; didn’t bite or show interest in the lead at all. This is a reminder to me that dogs have their own personalities and need different kinds of attention. I might start sitting with the dogs for a few minutes before going out for the walk.
I kept going until I got all the large, housetrained dogs walked. Sometimes there are too many to get to, sometimes they wear me out, sometimes my ankle puts a stop to things. But I got it done at least once.