The Essentials Of Walking

by Houndstooth on

At our house, we love taking walks, and as the seasons change, so does our walking gear.  There are some things that definitely stay the same, but since it starts getting dark so early, we start pulling out some special things to make life a little easier when walking in the dark.  Since this is National Dog Walking Week, I thought we would start it off by sharing some of our favorite walking gear for dogs and humans.

Are You Coming? -- Tales and Tails

Are You Coming

For humans…

This summer, I started walking a lot more, but I found that I have to take care of myself or it’s not a lot of fun.  I have been battling plantar fasciitis.  I was born with high arches and narrow feet, thanks to dear old dad, and that made me highly likely to have this problem.  Basically, it means that the ligaments in my foot are tearing a little bit every time I walk.  However, there was no way I was giving up walking.  I did a lot of research and for now two things that are really helping me are Superfeet inserts and a good pair of walking shoes.  My current shoes are made by Asics, but New Balance are also good.  I was a little sad to give up those summer jaunts in my flip flops, but the pain wasn’t worth looking cute.  So, I say that getting a good pair of walking shoes is one of the best things you can do for yourself, and your dog will be glad that you can take walks, have fun, be pain free and go longer distances.  I was reluctant to spend the money on myself at first, but the dogs are happy that I can go long distances with them, I have more fun when I’m not walking in pain and that makes for a better experience for all of us.  My shoes have reflective parts on them, too, which helps us with safety.

Walking Gear -- Tales and Tails

Walking Gear

I also try to make sure I am wearing reflective clothing when we go out.  This time of year, even if we leave when it’s daylight out, it quickly gets dark.  We live in a little town, and it never seems to fail that each year a new young person gets their drivers’ license and becomes the terror of the road.  Being visible is something that’s really important.

I also carry a Poop Happens bag.  I’d give you the link for it, but the company went out of business, which I think is a darned shame.  It looks like a small messenger bag or purse and it has several divided sections inside.  I carry poop bags, a small flashlight, a spare house key, a bottle of hand sanitizer and sometimes my phone in it.  If one of the dogs decides to do number two when were far away from a garbage can, I can put it in one section of the bag until we get to a place where I can get rid of it.  I don’t have to walk through town looking like a nasty bag lady and the smell is kept contained, too, because, let’s face it, those bags stink no matter what.

For Shepherds…

I know the Greyhounds get a lot of attention here on the blog, but the Shepherds have their special walking gear, too.  Morgan and Küster almost always have a walk early in the morning before the sun is up and usually walk again in the evening.  They don’t have to worry about the temperature changes, but they do need to be visible and sometimes have other factors we have to take into consideration.

Morgan and Küster both have glow in the dark collars.  I will say that usually, they just wear these collars in addition to the collar my husband attaches the leash to for a couple of reasons.  First, if the collar were actually fit tight enough on them to keep it from falling off, it would be mostly hidden in all that glorious Shepherd fur.  Second, both of them can pull a bit at times when they get excited, and I don’t want to risk them breaking the light up collars or pulling the led lights inside loose.  Morgan wears one made by Night Ize and we’ve been happy with it for several years.  We got it to use for a review, but it quickly became a regular part of our walking routine.

Nite Beams -- Tales and Tails

Nite Beams

Kuster’s is one we just got at the Backer Trade Expo and is made by Nite Beams.  We are really impressed with this collar and the company also makes leashes that light up.  I wanted to come home with one of those leashes in the worst way, but hopefully we’ll be able to get one in the near future.  They also make light up shoelaces for humans, which is also on my dream list.

They also have PAWZ boots that we put on once in a rare while, usually if we’re going to be somewhere extremely muddy or somewhere really icy.  Pulling muddy boots off at the back door is a thousand times easier than wrestling a wet, squirming dog.  It’s a matter of convenience for us, and they don’t last forever, but they do make life easier during really rainy, wet falls for us.

Morgan's PAWZ Boots -- Tales and Tails

Morgan’s PAWZ Boots

For Greyounds…

The Greyhounds have some gear that’s a little different from what the Shepherds wear.  For one thing, the unique shape of a Greyhound makes them harder to fit than other dogs.  Their bodies are made differently and we’ve found gear for them that adapts to that.

The Greyhounds wear martingale collars and so far, I’ve never found a light up martingale.  Honestly, based on how a martingale is made, making one light up would be a bit tricky.  Bunny has a nice reflective collar that we got at 2 Hounds Design and it’s held up really nicely over the last several years.  It’s not something she wears on an everyday basis most of the time, although she certainly could.

A couple of years ago, a friend brought us some Pup Crawl leashes, though, and Bunny and Flattery both walk with those at night.  You can turn it on so that it’s just on constantly or so that it blinks.  It is one of the best things I’ve ever used for the Greyhounds.  I will say that it’s a small, narrow leash, so if your dog is a big puller, it’s not for you.  However, that’s not an issue with Bunny or Flattery, so this leash is perfect for them.

Another thing we do to increase visibility for the Greyhounds is to have them wear their Julius K9 harnesses.  These harnesses serve a lot of purposes, but I like having the girls wear them at night because they have both reflective and glow in the dark parts to them.  It makes us  a lot more visible and during autumn evenings, that’s a definite bonus.  They also have handles on the backs, so if I need to grab one of them quickly for some reason, say oncoming traffic or a loose dog runs up, it’s added insurance for me.  The handles come in handy on them for lots of reasons.  On hikes, it allows me to help navigate them through tough terrain or if they’d fall into deep water in a creek, I can easily haul them up.  I’m not saying that would happen, but if it did, it’s nice to know I can pull them out easily.

There Used To Be A Waterfall Here -- Tales and Tails

There Used To Be A Waterfall Here

This time of year, we also start pulling out the Voyagers K9 Apparel tummy warmers.  They’re made of fleece and perfect for cool autumn evenings.  They’re easy to get on and off and don’t require picking the dog’s feet up to put them into holes, which is something I’ve grown to appreciate with senior dogs.  If it’s cool in the house, they can comfortably curl up with them there, too.  With less than ten percent body fat and no undercoat, it’s important to help them to keep warm.

Autumn Greyhounds -- Tales and Tails

Autumn Greyhounds

Finally, we also have to mention Flattery’s new Therapaw boot.  It has really been wonderful for her.  She’s not exactly thrilled to wear it, but she needs it at times and she doesn’t fuss about me putting it on.  It’s very easy to get on and off and since corns are a part of her life, it’s just something we need to deal with.  This keeps her enjoying her walks and that makes her happy.

Hating The Boot -- Tales and Tails

The Boot

So, there you have it.  This is our list of things that help us during our walks, whether we’re human or canine.  Nobody paid me to endorse them in this post, these are just things that we really use in our everyday life that make things easier.  I included links to them to make it easier for anybody who’s looking for some of the same things.  The dogs are extremely excited that we are celebrating National Walk Your Dog Week by going somewhere different to walk every day.  Hopefully, all of you will be celebrating, too, by getting out there and enjoying some nice walks with your canine companions as well.

Twists And Turns -- Tales and Tails

Twists and Turns


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42 Responses to "The Essentials Of Walking"
  1. Cover up those naked bums, I thought this was a family blog!! 😉

  2. Sue Dyer says:

    I am loving those bright walking shoes. I have several little lights that can clip to various collars, leads and harnesses. Some blink, others just stay on. Also have one on my bag that carries all the essentials when out for a walk.

    The pups looks good in their gear.

    You keep safe.

    • houndstooth says:

      I had several of those little lights, too, and I really liked them! But I have a suspicion that my husband tossed them when the batteries died after he got busted for tossing the battery stash. He will never ever admit to this, though! lol

  3. Sally says:

    Wonderful insight – its kind of crazy all the gear we end up with for our hounds. And toes crossed that your feet heal – I had the same thing in one foot, and no sooner had it healed than the other one went. Like you, good shoes and inserts have been the answer.

  4. Patty says:

    I bet some people just put a leash on their dog and go. LOL I never really thought about what I do. Joey is more complicated because he wears a harness and a Therapaw. It takes him longer to get ready than Scout. Scout just puts on her collar and leash and she is ready. She is really low maintenance.

    • houndstooth says:

      Ours really are pretty low maintenance, too. A lot of the things we use are just part of our daily routine. I mean, you have to have a leash and collar, right?

  5. Amy Boyer says:

    What a great post! Thank you for sharing all of the links. We rarely walk after dark but the light up stuff is really cool. Shamefully Toby just needs a leash and a poop bag – oh and the phone for WoofTrax which I forget half the time of course. Love your colorful walking shoes! Some of the ladies at Jazzercise have similar ones so basically they go with just about everything. Did you try WoofTrax yet?

    • houndstooth says:

      I have WoofTrax, but it rarely works for me. It shuts down partway through our walk. Sometimes I can restart it four or five times during a mile and a half walk.

      • Amy Boyer says:

        Oh that’s a shame! I don’t have any problem with it so I’m sorry it doesn’t work for you.

  6. you are all so well prepared for your walks – but just a note Flattery should be wearing two boots – one of each back foot. Wearing one boot can cause spine and hip problems (have you ever walked around with just one shoe on – it feels funny and upsets your balance) the same is true for dogs. Our orthopedic vet said to always make sure Reilly wears two boots so he doesn’t put pressure on his back over time.

    • houndstooth says:

      She only wears it intermittently when her corn is acting up. We’re looking to having a spare boot one of these days when we get a little extra money.

  7. Emma says:

    Great post! Never thought about the difficulty of finding collars like yours with glow or lights, but you are right they are not around, we checked. You need to join out #dogwalkingweek hop and giveaway!

  8. I posted about #DogWalkingWeek gear today too! My guys all have the same gear though so we are kind of boring. Are you going to add this post to the hop (I know Emma already asked but…)

  9. Mary says:

    Great products you listed. I never walk in the dark, but if I did, the light up stuff would be awesome. And your shoes are too cute. I have walked in Saucony brand shoes for years. You have to find what fits your feet the best.

    • houndstooth says:

      I’d prefer not to walk in the dark, but around here, it becomes a necessity. It gets dark so early and often in summer it’s too hot to walk in the daytime, although this year we were really lucky!

  10. I’ve never seen shoes that were as bright and imaginative as the ones you showed us! Reading about the rest of your equipment/fashion stuff for the dogs, makes me understand why you have a special dresser for the hounds and GSD’s!

    • houndstooth says:

      When I saw those shoes, I had to have them! I’ve never been a big athletic shoe fan, so finding something that I liked the looks of really helped take the sting out of having to make that change for me.

  11. Jodi says:

    Great post, I’ve been looking for things to help make our walking easier as well. One thing I picked up for myself was a reflective vest. I bought this for less than $20 at WalMart. It zips up, fits nicely over a coat or jacket and has adequate pockets as well. We just won a reflective collar from Emma, so I’ll be working towards purchasing one for the other dog. 😀 The cooler weather sure is nice for walking.

    • houndstooth says:

      You have to tell me what part of Wal-Mart you found that in. I’ve been looking for a good reflective vest, but so far no luck! Reflective collars really help, even at night when you let them out in the back yard.

  12. Maryruth Ginn says:

    We just ordered a tummy warmer from the company you named. It was a special order for Saluki measurements. I told the phone person about your blog. He said they would check it out.

    • houndstooth says:

      You know, I would love to meet her! Would you be interested in meeting us for a walk? The girls would love to sniff her!

      • Maryruth Ginn says:

        Right now, Lala and Safera exercise in the fenced yard. My schedule is so taken up with a new shop, we don’t walk. The shop is The Sheared Edge at The Studios on Sheridan. My partner, Dana Baldwin has two IGs.
        From your blog, I have shopped at Meggie Moo and today at Voyagers Apparel. You have so much experience with sight hound needs.

  13. M. K. Clinton says:

    I am certain that your gang is the most impressive sight in your town when they are all out walking. We can sympathize with the young drivers! EEKKK!!

  14. ShineJake says:

    Those are some ringing endorsements if I ever heard’em!

    I’m glad your feet are a bit more comfortable now thanks to the ‘upgrades’!

  15. Sara, oreo & chewy says:

    I was just noticing the otehr day how much longer it takes me to get ready to walk the dogs! So much more gear needed in the cooler/darker weather.

    I, too, have traded my flip flops for ‘real shoes’. This getting older thing sure can be tough 🙂

  16. Kari Neumeyer says:

    Your hounds look so sporty in their coats! I need some new shoes…

  17. Kate Obrien says:

    Great equipment tips – I’ll need to bookmark this.

  18. BZ Dogs says:

    Morgan’s Purple Paws are quite stylish!

  19. Jan K, Wag N Woof Pets says:

    I used to work on my feet, so definitely know the value of the right shoes. I love Asics too. I also have a bag on the same idea as yours, and mine is still available at Live Love and Bark. com. I prefer harnesses for dog walking, but I have to tell you that I’m still struggling to find ones that will do everything I want them to. Or maybe it’s the dogs that aren’t doing what I want them to? LOL

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