Learning to Love Leah

Dog Walking 101

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Hey guys! This weeks blog is all about dog walking etiquette! As many of you know, I have a year and a half old chiweenie pup that is super energetic and goes with me practically everywhere! I was prompted to write this blog after I was urged by Rover.com (more about this company below!)  to give my input on how I walk my little Rudy! Since I am doggy obsessed I agreed to contribute and below are the tips I use everyday 🙂 I truly hope they help you all!!

Walking on trails with your dog

Rudy LOVES to run after bikes. Not only can this be dangerous but it also can appear as aggressive behavior. The best way I have found to combat Rudy’s urge to run is to ask him to sit when I see a bike approaching. I squat down with him while we wait for the bike to go by and pet him to encourage him to sit still. After the bike goes by I will either give him a treat (if I have any on hand) or tell him “good boy!” and we will keep walking. This usually does the trick and can be a nice break if you are going on a long walk!

I have very mixed feeling about seeing an owner walking with their dog off leash. For a good rule of thumb, I would not recommend having your dog off leash on trails. In most parks this is not even allowed but inevitably someone will break the rules. Some dogs are very well trained and listen to their owners to stay close and not run at other dogs and people but even the best trained dogs can be unpredictable. It is not safe to assume that everyone you pass on your walk will be a dog lover and they may be frightened by the sight of your dog off it’s leash. There may also be other dogs walking the trail that are not dog friendly which could start a fight. To keep yourself and your pup safe, I would recommend always keeping your dog on their leash!

Feel free to encourage playing and running when it is just you and your dog. Rudy and I both enjoy running when no one else is in sight on the trails by my apartment. Sometimes we even go off trail and into the streams and follow deer tracks. On days when it is just Rudy and I, I tend to let Rudy lead, which is makes every walk different and enjoyable for you and  your pup!

Walking in the city or on busy streets

It is imperative to keep your dog on a short leash when walking by busy streets. Dogs sometimes have a tendency to run sporadically into the road and cars/bikes/buses are not expecting to slam on their brakes for a rouge dog in their path. To keep both your dog and others safe make sure that your dog only has enough slack to walk by your side comfortably. 

As mentioned earlier, most dogs don’t understand the dangers of walking near a busy road. I try to always make sure that I am walking closest to the street and that Rudy is on the other side of me, away from the road. This means that if he does decide to bolt into the road that he will have to cross me and will not be able to make it into the street easily.

Sometimes sidewalks can become very clustered with pedestrians and other dogs. For the most part I continue to keep Rudy’s leash short and have him walking on the side of me that is farthest away from the road. However, if sidewalk traffic starts becoming too overwhelming I will pick up Rudy and hold him until things calm down. I know not everyone can pick up their dogs but since Rudy is so short to the ground I do worry about him getting caught up under someone’s unsuspecting feet. Bigger dogs are more easily seen and can navigate crowds easier but if you start to feel too overwhelmed you can always pull your dog over to the side of the road and wait it out!

Dog Park Etiquette

Do not assume that all dogs at the dog park are friendly. A common misconception about the dog park is that all dogs there are going to be nice and receptive to both humans and other dogs. While most people do bring dogs that get along great with others, some people do bring their more aggressive pets. Always ask before petting or letting your dog play with another dog. It is important to keep your dogs on a leash if the owner is not sure of how the interaction will go to make sure that you will be able to easily pull your dog away in case of an emergency. 

Ease your dog into the dog park. Because Rudy is so small (about 7 pounds) I always try to go to dog parks that have an area for small dogs to play. However, sometimes there are no dogs in the small dog designated area and Rudy will cry the entire time wanting to be with the dogs on the other side of the fence. If this is the case, I make sure to ask the owners of the larger dogs how their dogs do with smaller dogs. If they say they do well with all dogs, I will take Rudy over to their side and let them play. Sometimes an owner will even be willing to bring their dog over to the smaller dog area so that Rudy will have a companion. I know it is tempting, but even if one owner says their dog does not do well with smaller dogs, please never put your dog in a potentially dangerous situation. Instead opt for playing fetch or chase or even going for a walk around the park. There are many ways to tire your dog out and it is always good to get in your exercise as well! 

Thank you for reading up on my dog walking tips! I would love to hear yours in the comments below!  And lastly, if you are looking for a trusty dog walker in your area check out Rover’s dog walking services where they have thousands of trusty locals that can help you out in a pinch!

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Visiting The Badlands National Park!

Originally when Ian and I mapped out our road trip we planned on stopping at Mount Rushmore and The Badlands on the same day since they are about an hour apart. However, we underestimated how much time we would take at the parks and arrived at The Badlands at dusk. The roads are very curvy through the park and we would have missed all of the scenery so we turned around and drove back to Rapid City, South Dakota (about 45 miles – yes, that was the closest city) to stop for the night. The view the next morning was definitely worth the backtracking! South Dakota is mostly rolling hills and flat plains so the huge rock formations were quite amazing. We saw so much wildlife (mountain goats, deer, prairie dogs – we even heard coyote howling!) that were all so acclimated to humans that you could get pretty close before they would run off. Unfortunately we didn’t see any buffalo this time which just means we will have to visit again! The Badlands hold a lot of history including many fossils which are still being found to this day. Ian and I stopped at the museum and at different points along the drive to learn about these prehistoric animals. They have fossils of a three-toed horse and a small animal that is a relative of the modern dog that looks just like Rudy. Before we left we made sure to pick up another mug and magnet! The Badlands is such an accessible park since you can literally drive right through it without getting out of your car and see most of everything. It is a must see in my opinion! Please leave a comment if you have ever been; I would love to hear about your trip!

Check out The Badlands National Park here

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A sign before entering the park informed us that these Prairie Dogs have the plague!! It is a different variation than the Bubonic Plague but it is still spread by fleas and can be spread to humans! We took this picture on zoom and stayed in our car!! If you look closely you can see tufts of their hair missing.

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This mountain goat was the one out of the herd that the park is tracking – you can see the collar around his neck!
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Beware of the mud! It caked on our shoes and was a pain to get off

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We took the highway through the park which is over 20 miles long – this is the view for the majority of the drive
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The different layers can be seen easily here by the different colors on the rocks

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Can you see the mountain goat?

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Our rental car that we were so lucky to rent from Hertz – great customer service!!
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Up in a cloud! We drove through many clouds in South Dakota. It is a very odd experience!

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Ian thought this spire looked like the Egyptian Sphinx – what do you think?

Visiting Mount Rushmore!

Before we left the Dakota’s Ian and I decided that we had to stop at Mount Rushmore. I was driving and Ian kept joking that he saw it and every time I would look it wouldn’t be there. However, when we could finally see George Washington peaking his head through the trees I was got so excited that I screamed and even cried. To believe that so many people sculpted and built this massive rock statue is beyond comprehension. It is truly a wonder of this world. By the time we actually made it to the park it was about dusk (5:30ish) and we pretty much had the place to ourselves.  One of the Park Rangers was kind enough to lend us binoculars so we could see all the fine details of the statue, including sensors placed to track the pressure being placed on the rocks (the most obvious one is on Abraham Lincoln’s hairline). Before we left, we picked up a mug and a magnet and decided that will be our tradition from now on when we visit new places. We both hope to go back someday to spend more time in the area as there is quite a lot to do! I have attached picture from our trip below, I hope you enjoy them! 

P.S. My blog on the Badlands National Park is coming soon!!

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Mount Rushmore website here

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From far away the statue looks quite small (like this) but up close it is definitely much larger!

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The statue took many years and needed many workers to be built that they actually made their own baseball team!
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Phone quality picture
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Picture from my Canon camera! Much more clear and detailed!

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Right as we were leaving the park we saw this sweet mother and baby duo right next to the road! Ian got this great picture!

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