Thanks to my two dogs, Kitsune the papillon and Fenrir the Alaskan Klee Kai, I spend quite a bit of time walking! We walk at least 5 times a day! Twice a day each with Kit and Fen independently, and once a day with both of them together. With all that time spent walking, you’d think I’d be able to multitask. Maybe get some necessary phone calls out of the way? Alas, that isn’t the case. Quite a while ago now I decided to make it a rule not to use my phone while I’m walking my dogs unless I need it in an emergency.
This post originally appeared on this site on August 8th, 2016. It has been updated and reposted to better fit our newer post layout!
I normally have my cell phone on me while I walk my dogs, but I make a point not to use it. The only exception I allow myself, other than in the case of an emergency, is using the camera on my phone. Hey, nobody is perfect. My dogs are really cute, sometimes I just can’t resist taking photos of them!
I don’t have anything against people who use their phones while walking their dogs, but there are a few reasons why it doesn’t work for me.
The world is full of distractions!
- We used to live in the city. No matter what time we walked, the city is full of distractions. We’ve since moved into a much more rural area, but that doesn’t mean I get to let my guard down. Remaining vigilant is still important, I’m just looking out for different things now. Instead of watching for traffic or lose pets, now I’m keeping my eyes out for skunks and bears!
Speaking of vigilance…
- Kit is notorious for trying to eat things he finds on the ground. Both my dogs know the ‘drop it’ command, but Kit is a bit (okay, very) obsessed with food. His definition of what, exactly, counts as food can be a bit lax. I was super thankful that I was paying close attention to him the other week when he tried to eat a mushroom he came across in our yard!
I train my dogs while we walk.
- Walking is fun, but our multiple daily walks are an excellent opportunity to brush up on training too. Training means treats and, in Fen’s case, toys. I’m apparently not an amazing multitasker. Holding the leash in one hand frees up my other to grab a treat/toy out of my treat bag as needed, but I think I’d need to grow an extra hand to be on my phone at the same time.
I just want to spend quality time with my dogs.
- I love my dogs. Admittedly I’m actually pretty obsessed with them (can anyone tell?). With Kitsune turning 14 soon, plus dealing with his recent health issues, I’ve been more aware than ever that my dogs won’t be around forever. In 10 years time I’m pretty sure I’ll still be able to mess around on a phone. But I, sadly, most likely won’t be able to spend quality time with Kit. Our daily walks are something my dogs really enjoy. Rather than being distracted by my phone, I like to share in that enjoyment. I’ve found that when I put my phone away, walks become more relaxing for me. They are an opportunity to get away from the screens and to just enjoy spending time with my dogs.
Those are my main reasons for forcing myself to put my phone away when I’m walking with my dogs.
Again, I have nothing against anyone who feels differently. I’m personally not great at focusing on multiple things at once, the area where we walk a lot of the time requires me to remain vigilant in order to keep my dogs safe and work on their training, and I get a lot of enjoyment out of spending distraction free time with my pups. Other people might live in an area with less distractions, be better at multitasking, or enjoy that extra bit of entertainment to encourage them to walk more.
At the end of the day the most important thing is that dogs are getting walked! Walking your dogs, even if you have a yard for them to play in, can be beneficial in so many ways. Not the least of which being that, for many dogs, walking with the people they love is the highlight of their day.
Comment below! Do you like to use your phone while you walk your dog(s) or do you try to keep it in your pocket like I do?