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of Dog Walking
Why and how to walk your dog.
CLICK & GO! (On this page.) For your pet's good health. A sanitary necessity. A world of couch potatoes. Dog obedience. Walking with a lead. Who leads? Taming the wild ox (dog). George invites you visit his pet-friendly vacation resort! Meet our doggy guests! (Take your pet with you on a Fourpeaks vacation!) More pages in A Personal Potpourri. (On the next page). Adirondack Letters, #13: A Dog Story. How to Sit (Meditation tips). Taming the Wild Ox. 10 Oxherding Pictures, by Zen Master Kakuan, China, 12th C. (On the next page.) See All 10 Fourpeaks Pet-friendly Vacation Pages. Fun and informative!.
For your pet's good health. Dogs don't engage in sports, jog, work out, do yoga, or (except for a very few) have jobs that involve physical excercise, or even (again except for a very few) do any of the many chores around the house that would keep them active and physically fit. Faithful homebodies for the most part, their food and shelter needs well provided for, pet dogs today are entirely reliant on their masters or other human family members for the predominantly popular, low cost, always available (even in crowded urban centers), health-giving excercise outlet--dog walking.
A sanitary necessity. Unlike cats and humans themselves, dogs will not relieve themselves of accumulated liquid and solid body wastes in a convenient receptacle withing the human living space. Also, except for marking (the term for the way in which animals establish territorial control by prominently depositing their body wastes) or neurotic behavor (the last ditch effort for extreme emotional states--anger, upset over abandonment, pleas for love and attention) dogs will not choose to relieve themselves at home, withing the human living space. They need to be taken outside and walked.
A world of couch potatoes. Gainful employment today emphasizes repetitive clerical and technical tasks performed at a desk or other stationary work position. Not only teachers, business tycoons and medicine men spend little energy moving their bodies around but also farmers, road builders and softgoods salesmen do more work at consoles and keypads. An uncle of mine years ago traveled specialty shops and department stores all the way from New York to LA with a 200-pound rack of the latest ladie's fashions. He'd lug it in and out of hotel showrooms sometimes twice a day. I helped him one summer with this work--as much brawn as brains required. Today out-of-the-way shops without a big-city buyer find what they're looking for at up-to-date fashion websites where entire design collections can be viewed at one sitting, with attractive professional models on hand via interactive video clips. The salesman is a computer programmer. We humans also benefit from the exercise that dog walking provides!
Dog obedience. Heel, come, sit, lie down, jump, beg, bring in the newspaper, bring in the sheep! There must be considerable pride in successfully training your dog to respond to a variety of verbal or hand commands. So many owners yearn for such control. They bring their dogs to obedience school, read through mountains of selfhelp books and worry a lot about what they are doing wrong. The fact is the vast majority can't get their dogs to do what they want when they want any more than they can get their human children to do so. Luckily dogs (even more so than kids) are extremely anxious to please. They learn by themselves to do their owner's bidding without formal obediece training. Further, the kind of conditioning that's required to reliably get response to a complex series of commands probably spoils the dog-human relationship. What's the fun of walking a robot? Control freaks miss all the fun of dog walking.
Walking with a lead. There are serious risks of injury or loss walking your dog off lead. Vehicular traffic in the city and near roads. Animal predators especially coyote in the country. Even other dogs if your dog is small or frail. It's against the law in many places. Your dog could bite someone. This could be very costly expecially if the victim is a child. And while many owners say their dog will stay with them, not roam and respond always to call, their confidence is not well placed when their dog gets lost following a particularly alluring scent.
Walking your dog on a lead of some sort is both safe and fun. Choke collar or harness? These are choices to take up with your vet or other personal advisor. Long or short? A retractable lead solves the problem and forever eliminates the frustration of a tangled lead. A popular brand is 16 feet fully extended, retracts quickly and smoothly as your dog moves toward you, and can be locked at a fixed length. Costly, at about $30, the retractable lead provides a pleasant feeling of freedom for both you and your dog without the risks of being off lead.
Who leads? At the outset this is the most important decision, and you, the master, must make it. If it's time for your dog to relieve himself--hasn't been out for a while or just after a solid meal--you must definitely let your dog lead. Urination comes first. That is in most cases almost immediate. Defecation, on the other hand, will take longer, maybe a lot longer. Be patient! Oberve. Maybe your dog has a favorite spot for this. How long it takes may depend on the digestive process or it may just be a matter of the dog's mood at the moment. And it's good to remember that in a dog's mind defecation is always related to territorial marking. Sniffing out just the right spot will take some exploring and may involve a more or less lengthy decision-making process. In any case, if you have a puppy or a new dog, giving some small treat as a reward is a good idea. This gets accross the message, "Wee-wee (or poo-poo) is for outside!" Note: Some dog owners pay attention to the quality and quantity of the feces as an indicator of doggy health. Speak to your vet if interested in this issue.
If you decide to lead your dog (aside from when you're taking him out to relieve himself), this will be no fun for your dog. He will be following you around as a sort of tethered slave while his mind will be on other things. This is also not a good arrangement for you, the master, either. You will be unable to share any of the lovely sights and impressions you are experiencing along the way. It's not possible to convey to your dog the beauty of a sunset, or any nice view, or (especially) a particularly rare wildflower or anything else. The dog's olfactory and hearing senses are very sharp, but visually (where humans excel) he is very poor.
It's much better if you let your dog lead on all your walks. This gives you a broad opportunity to learn more about your dog, and, by extension (if you accept the Zen premise), all living things including your own mind.
For the most part your dog will have his head to the ground following a scent. You may enjoy speculating what that may be. Make a game of it. At other times your dog will put his head up, directionally adjust his head, ears erect (if possbible with your breed), and listen. You may like to figure out what is the source of the sound. It will almost always be too low in volume or too highly pitched for you to hear, but that should not stop you from speculating. You will learn that your dog's attention will shift easily and spontaneously from one set of stimuli to another, sometimes in rapid succession and without any pattern that you can discern. Your dog may appear to be running around in circles, often covering and recovering the same path, mostly without ever looking up or seeing where he's going. This will be particularly in evidence if you take great care to keep slack in the lead at all times and there is no other suggestion of your presence.
Taming the Wild Ox. In Buddhist scripture from ancient times sages have compared the human mind with a wild ox. The ox, the most useful beast of burden in those days, had to be captured, tethered and broken to a harness of sorts, a long slow process which eventually made available to man the great power of the beast. Following the example in the story, the Zen initiate is encouraged to directly experience his own mind through zazen (sitting meditation), subdue anxieties and desires, experience oneness with all, and find ultimately great peacefulness (satori). CLICK HERE for Taming the Wild Ox or Bull, Ten Zen Oxherding Pictures, by Zen Master Kakuan, China, 12th C.
For the purpose of this article on The Zen of Dog Walking, as we have no oxen handy and no real use for them if we did, we say the mind is like a dog, not an ox. Also we don't suggest the dog or the mind, for that matter, should or needs to be controlled exactly. Only that we can get more power and usefulness from our mind if we develop an understanding of how it works by closely observing our dog in our dog walks, when the dog is preeminently exposed to a variety of new and challenging stimuli. With concentration we may see the mind is, like the dog, very curious, clever more or less, naturally faithful, but really quite self-absorbed, oblivious often of much of what is going on around it, benefitting, it would appear, from its attachment to another (dare we say higher?) order of being. The opportunities for musings of this kind are endless and the key is the familiar dog lead.
Vacation With Your Dog! Walk, Run and Swim in Mountain Air. Fourpeaks 7 Backcountry camps on 700 acres with 4 mountains make a perfect Pet-friendly vacation in the great outdoors. 20 miles of hiking/skiing trails in meadows and woods with gorgeous views. Dog swimming at Brook Trail and the nearby AuSable--upstate New York's prime scenic river. Kitchens. Fireplaces. Comfort and style in a wilderness setting. CLICK HERE for George, our resident canine, who's excited to tell you all about it and CLICK HERE for an index to all 10 Fourpeaks pet-friendly vacation pages.
Meet Our Doggy Guests! The Fourpeaks Photo Guest Book. is a fun way to learn about our Adirondack backcountry vacations. Who came. Where they're from. Where they stayed. The Season. What they did here. Photos, Letters and Guest Book entries. CLICK HERE for our Photo Guest Book (100+ Pages.) or CLICK HERE to Meet Our Doggy Guests! (Selected pet-friendly vacation pages.)
A Personal Potpourri.
Old photos, letters, clippings, greeting cards and other stuff too precious to discard. A Personal Potpourri is your Adirondack Guide's eclectic photo and writing place for stuff that just doesn't fit elsewhere in Fourpeaks Adirondack Backcountry Camps webpages. CLICK HERE for more Personal Potpourri. CLICK HERE to meet Your Adirondack Guide.
Are you in this picture? Fourpeaks hosts now welcome paying guests to a 700-acre rest and playground for vacations in the Adirondack Great Camp tradition. Couples appreciate Fourpeaks secluded settings. Outdoor loving families have fun exploring our accessible wilderness. Folks with dogs enjoy the open spaces to run their pets. A private nature rereat. For a vacation away from it all. Are you in this picture? CLICK HERE to find out! [More about this at Frequently Asked Questions.]
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