As part of the foster hound experience, there are times (every morning) when I take the two hounds out for walks together. I’m slowly getting there, but it is fair to say that I am yet to master the art of walking two dogs at once, nicely on-lead.
Tommy is a good little walker. He doesn’t pull and his preferred position is being tucked right in close to my side. By comparison, Mila is all over the show – sniffing bushes, craning her neck to see what is going on across the road, and generally wanting to be the leader of the pack. She also has a very funny habit of deciding that she needs to go to the toilet and then spending the next 15 minutes looking for the perfect spot. Add to this the fact that we are 2x 30kg hounds and me, competing with parked cars, overgrown bushes, other pedestrians, and sometimes even other dogs for space on the footpath and it can make 6 am an interesting time of the day to be out and about! Thankfully, they are both pretty good listeners - so our 'waits' and 'leave its' usually happen on command.
I’ve tried a number of different walking techniques – from having one dog on either side of me with a lead in each hand, to walking both dogs on one side, with the leads in one hand and the other free to hold poos bags and avert a crisis should one eventuate. We can walk along nicely for a while, sometimes even for most of the walk and the dogs enjoy having little races amongst themselves. They LOVE it when we get to the bottom of the hill and turn the corner, pretending it is just like the turn in a race track, taking the corner wide and picking up pace just a little bit as they come out of it. There is much jostling for position and wanting to be in front and I’m sure the dogs think that I am part of the race. Usually Mila will win the battle of the corner (I think Tommy is just being polite), but just lately our newbie that has started to show his skills and edge in front. It seems that Mila doesn’t appreciate that she is racing alongside a doggie who actually won some races in his day. It’s okay though, I never win – so at least she won’t be last.
|Out for a walk to the shops, checking out all the people walking past - Mila at the front, and Tommy in his GAP vest at the top.|
No matter which walking technique I use, I always seem to end up in a tangled mess. One dog decides to stop and sniff something interesting and the other has seen something on the other side of the road that it would like to know more about. Or both dogs have seen the same thing (cat) but want to see it from different angles. Usually I am not paying enough attention (it’s early!!) to put myself in a position to avoid getting caught up in the middle of it all. Either way, I end up with one in front of me and one behind me with my legs tangled up in the leads. It’s like one of those problem solving puzzles that I was never very good at as a kid. I have to stop and physically think (you can hear the cogs turning) about which arm and/or leg needs to move in which direction to release me from the trap. One wrong move and I am winding myself more tightly, about to knock myself off balance, much to the amusement of the hounds. Of course, the thing they were interested in has gone and they are now staring up at me, wondering why we aren’t moving and how I have managed to get myself all tied up. It’s that incredulous look of ‘I turn around for ONE minute, and you manage to do THAT!’ followed by the impatient sigh that says ‘Pull yourself together woman! There is walking to be done.’
Funnily enough, Mike doesn’t fancy the idea of a 6am start so we can enjoy a brisk morning walk together with one hound each - are you crazy!?!? There is more sleeping to be done at time of the morning and besides, the stories of partial paralysis at the hands of an errant dog lead are far too funny to do anything about!