Jul
31st

Choosing a Dog – Are You A Fair Weather Walker?

We’ve had some rain in the last few days.  Well over the last 2-3 weeks actually.

Even though I walk the dogs twice a day in all weathers, I can’t admit to enjoying getting soaked.  When the weather’s good here, it’s beautiful.  When it’s wet, its dismal.

I was in Ravenglass this morning doing a shorter version of one of our favourite walks around Muncaster Castle.  (That’s because of Kylah’s sprain, which is getting better very quickly). This time it was lovely.  The last time we were there we got severely rained on for about an hour.  It was distinctly unpleasant.  And that’s what triggered this thought.

A book I used to have called The Good Guide To The Lakes said:

There’s no such thing as bad weather, only bad equipment.

I disagree.  I defy anyone to remain robustly cheerful after being deluged, even if they are still dry underneath.

Getting on to the point – I do my best to take my dogs out twice a day, every day.  However, sometimes the boys look at me as if to say “Can we not stay indoors where it’s dry, please?”

I’m not a fair weather walker.  I’ll go out in anything if the dogs need their exercise.   But if the idea of going out in the rain isn’t your thing, you need to choose a dog that’s happy to stay indoors when it’s horrible.

Depending on your climate, that might mean choosing a dog which needs less exercise.  If it rains a lot, and you’re going to miss lots of walks, you need a lower energy dog anyway.

Working and gundogs are poor choices for people who don’t like to get wet.  They’re also poor choices for people who don’t have the time for long walks and ‘thinking’ activities.  Your average labrador, springer spaniel, border collie, weimeraner, Hungarian Vizla, border terrier, Irish water spaniel and Irish Setter are just a few of the dogs which fall into that category.

Dogs that don’t enjoy the rain that much include many of the toy and companion breeds, the greyhound, and dogs from hot climates such as the saluki, azawakh and hairless breeds.  Some of these are very active, others not so.

If you’re a fair weather walker, choose a dog which will be happy to stay in if it’s pelting down with rain.   But you should always try to offer an alternative to make up for lost exercise and bonding time.

If you have the indoor space to make up for a missed walk by doing some training, or playing in your home, so the dog is actually being stimulated, that’s great. Or you might be able to find a dog obedience class, agility, heelwork to music, flyball or other dog activity in a covered venue to occupy some of your wet times.

But coming back to the main point – are you likely to be a fair weather walker?  Be honest!  Because this is something you must consider when choosing a dog.  There’s no point choosing an all-weather dog, even if it fits all the other criteria,  if you’re not going to be ‘all weather’ with it.

Personally I’d rather be in front of the TV as well!

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