For a start, unlike a walk, a senior snooter is definitely optional. If the weather is poor or you just don't feel like it, refuse point blank to go. There's not really much they can do about this. They could carry you, but as exercise is one of the reasons for going, it seems a bit counter-productive although it might save them a trip to the gym. Equally, it's up to you to determine the direction, pace and duration of the walk. I wear a harness for attaching my lead so I can throw my whole weight into influencing these things. I also suggest you master the brace position if they try to make you go faster or further than you want to, combined with a balefull stare, that should sort it.
Once you are out on your senior pootle, you need to stop and sniff every scent in great detail. Don't be hurried by an impatient walker and whatever you do, don't miss one. Amble along, lingering at particularly interesting scents and retracting your steps if you want another go.
If you meet another dog, your greeting will depend on their disposition and age. If they are fellow seniors like my pals Chubby, Trigger and Milo, stop and exchange senior stiff-legged sniffing. If they are a youngster, make it clear that you don't want to play rowdy games of rough and tumble and chasing around. I do a good line in dodging young dogs, but if they persisit, give them a verbal rebuke. You need to put the young upstarts in their place.
If anything new has appeared overnight, investigate it thoroughly and make sure you wee on it. And talking of wees, for us dogs, cocking your leg is all well and good, but if it's windy or your arthiritis is playing up, feel free to keep all four paws safely on the ground. You don't want to risk the indignity of falling over.
There are some places that are particularly good for sniffing and weeing; the corner of the village hall is one of them. All of the local dogs leave a message there and I need to find out what the gossip is. Us village dogs are partiuclarly blessed in having twenty four little posts that seperate the car park from the playing field, to stop youngsters who, for some strange reason, think it's good fun to drive on the playing field and churn it up. Anyway, they make ideal sniffing and weeing posts, although 'Her Indoors' patience doesn't stretch to all twenty-four and I have to limit myself to a chosen few each time. I also like to see if I can get my retractable lead wrapped around a post or railing. I'm the only dog 'Her Indoors' has met who can unwind himself, but I sometimes just stand their looking miserable, waiting for 'Her Indoors' to do the job for me. It is important, as your owner ages, to keep them mentally stimulated so don't be too keen to rush and help them out every time.
And finally, you need to make sure that when you pooh, you do it at the furthest most point from the pooh bin and that you ideally do it in installments. Pooh, wait for them to pick it up and knot the bag, then walk a few steps and pooh again. It gives them plenty of practise in the clearing up department.
As some of you will know, I've been working on my new book, 'Sit, Stay, Roll Over' which is out on 9th September. It's a training manual for dogs to help them train their humans, so if you want some more help of this nature, pre-order it now, from 'Her Indoors', website www.helenstockton.co.uk/store, and we'll sign and paw-print it for you. A life time of experience for only £7.99. What can I tell you I'm a generour fur!
|Don't miss a sniff, whatever you do!|
|Try and get yourself wrapped around a post|
|If something appears overnight, give it a good sniff then wee on it!|
|The only correct way to deal with a post!|
|Lots more good advice in my new book|