Unload your loaded dog, before you go… “Go where?” you ask. Anywhere, walking or hiking in public parks, the city sidewalks, an outdoor cafe in the South End, the list is endless. If you give your dog a moment to go to the bathroom in advance, you can save yourself the hassle of carrying around a bag of poop or an awkward moment on a busy sidewalk. If you think I am joking, think about this:
Have you ever watched a dog show? Have you ever noticed that the dogs almost never seem to go to the bathroom in the ring? If they do, I can guarantee the other handlers are muttering “amateur” towards the offending handler. After all it’s not rocket science, dogs have needs and with a little planning you can make both your lives easier. “Unload the loaded dog” may be some of the best advice I can offer dog owners living in a city like Boston.
I learned to make sure a dog was thoroughly exercised before entering a public place as a child apprenticing for my father at the dog shows. Exercised, simply means, allowing your dog to go to the bathroom. Once your dog’s needs are met, he or she is usually good for the next couple of hours. If you train your dog to go to the bathroom where there is a place to dispose of the dog poop, you have less dog poop to carry and fewer awkward moments.
As I have been taking the time to write about places around Boston to take your dog, I have noticed that the garbage cans are only at the entrance of many parks. If you were to race into the park as most of us do, you end up with the tough decision of carrying a bag of poop or leaving it behind. If you take an extra moment at the park entrance for your dog go to the bathroom, you can resolve the would-be-dilemma by simply unloading the loaded dog.
Dogs, quickly adapt to rituals. Our dog understands that as soon as he goes to the bathroom, he is rewarded by joining the other dogs in the park, going mountain biking or whatever event we have planned for that part of the day. Through associative training he has learned the “go to bathroom” command which helps speed things along.
In my book, having to carry one less bag of dog poop is a good thing. In Boston, like anywhere else, it is important to not just leave it behind. Dog owners who choose leave it over bagging and disposing of it responsibly, contribute to property owners hanging signs that read, “No Dogs Allowed” in place that would otherwise be very dog friendly. So consider “Unloading the Loaded Dog” before you go. Remember, it is one easy ritual you can add that will leave you carrying one less bag of poop.