By now we have heard it many times: A tired dog is a good dog; you must walk your dog to enhance your relationship with your dog and/or show yourself as “pack leader”; walking your dog is therapeutic for both human and dog, etc.
Any other mantras I am missing?
I get tired of walking the same old walks and, to be honest, it is not like I walk the same walk every day. I vary my loops around my community, I take various directions at Quiet Waters Park (I’m the one with up to four dogs… watch out!) and my almost nightly walks around the Naval Academy should be enough.
Still, even I get bored. After all, it is 365 days a year and two walks a day! OK, so sometimes my husband helps me, too… but still!
So, my goal over the next couple of weeks is to revisit some old trails when I lived in a different part of town and also try some new ones. Here are the ones I am recommending we try:
1. Greenbury Point is by the Naval Academy golf course. I remember it as a nice 3-mile hike if you take it from the parking lot by the golf course. According to the website however: “Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday there may be an active rifle range in the area. Look for the posted signs at the trail entrance.”
I am thinking Saturday may be a better day to go back. Also, I haven’t been there in a while because I remember that in the cold season it can be really muddy and in the warm season the ticks are outrageous. But I am used to mud these days, so off we trot!
Take Defense Highway and right onto Crownsville Road; the park is half a mile on the left.
This one is kind of short, but I used to enjoy it with the kids when they were little. Also, I recall paved roads… or am I wrong?
3. Then of course, there is the Baltimore and Annapolis Trail. I rarely, if ever, walk the trail because my four dogs and I definitely can ruin the fast pace of some of the bikers attempting to get to get to the airport.
Also, it isn’t a loop, so I have to go back the same way I came, which I find tedious. But that’s just me. It does go on seemingly forever, which is great.
4. OK. Here is a new one: The Kent Island South Trial in Stevensville. Never been on it, but apparently it is quite long. Any tips on this one welcome.
5. Another hike in Stevensville is the Cross Island Trail. According to the website: “The Cross Island Trail is one of 1,600 rail-trails supported by Rails-to-Trails Conservancy, a nonprofit organization that is working to create a nationwide network of trails from former rail lines and connecting corridors. Previously an unused railroad corridor, this 'rail-trail' is now a great place to walk Fido in Stevensville!”
All of these trails are on the web, but I thought I’d let you know what I am up to this weekend and thought you might join me.
As I hike, I am going to work on some commands rarely taught in obedience classes and one that is always taught, and essential:
1. I am going to practice “stop.” What I mean by that is, as I am walking and my dog is a bit ahead, I will suddenly call out, “Stop!” and expect all my dogs to stop in their tracks and wait for me to catch up (yes, on leash, of course), pet them on the head (they are not allowed to move unless I ask them to sit) and then say, “OK, let’s go,” as we move on.
2. I may just take a few treats with me and place them somewhere on the trail and as we go by the treats I’ll say, “Leave it.” A great command to keep dogs from eating what they shouldn’t.
Of course, right after they leave it, I will have something in my pocket to offer them as a reward for leaving the other thing.
3. Finally, I will definitely work on “come” by suddenly stopping in my tracks and reeling them in to sit in front of me as I call their names and, “Come!”
I love surprising them with these commands and they always feel so proud afterward. Really!
Of course, remember to tell them how awesome they are and bring water.