Look at these two cute little guys and that idillic backdrop. Walking with them both must be an absolute delight, right? Wrong. It’s a gigantic pain in the arse!
I’ve had a dog for over 10 years and a son for just over 18 months, and I always thought one of the great pleasures in life would involve the three of us strolling along a riverside in hazy late-afternoon sun, watching the world drift by and smugly musing to myself about how content and in touch with nature we are as a family. Of course the reality is very different. Here are 6 reasons why walking with a dog and toddler is a pain in the arse!
You’ve never got a free hand
If I’m just walking Mario (my awesome jack russell) on his own, then I either have one or both hands free depending on whether he’s on or off the lead. So when he craps on the floor it’s no problem to pick it up and chuck it in the bin. Or if we get to a locked gate and I need to lift him over it’s easy. But chuck Sonny (my awesome toddler) into the mix – either in his pram, carrier, or (worst of the lot) walking on his own two feet – and I’ve got a problem. Whether I’m trying to keep control of a pram with the dog dragging me in the opposite direction, or bending down to scoop up some dog poo while trying to balance the carrier on my back, or restraining Sonny while he tries eat poisonous berries while Mario chases down another dog – it’s a living nightmare!
They could both kick off at any minute
I love my dog, but he’s odd. We can be having the most relaxed walk in the world, but if he sees a squirrel he’s going to chase it across a park. If he sees a hot air balloon he’s going to get spooked and try to run home. And if he sees a black labrador he’s going to bark and growl until everyone within half a mile feels uncomfortable. And Sonny’s even worse! If he sees a bus he won’t stop shouting until I find him another one. If he decides he’s hungry we have to get home before all hell breaks loose. And if I’m ever crazy enough to let him out of his pram or carrier for a few minutes, he turns into a thrashing blur of arms, legs and wailing tonsils when I try to shoehorn him back in.
One of them’s bloody heavy
I always prefer to use a child carrier rather than a pram because it means you can get off the footpaths and have a proper walk, but my god Sonny’s heavy. He’s tipping the scales at around 2 stone at the moment so even when he’s in the brilliant Osprey Poco rucksack carrier, he gives my shoulders, knees and hips a proper pounding. It’s fine when we’re on level ground but as soon as we set foot on a hill I’m absolutely wasted!
The other one doesn’t bloody listen
Mario’s either going deaf or getting very selective with his hearing, because he basically never listens to a word I say. If he wants to do what I’m asking we’ve got no problem at all, but when it’s purely on my terms I’ve got no chance. His latest trick is walking 6 feet ahead of me off the lead while I chase him like a lunatic, weighed down by a pram or toddler-laden backpack, shouting so loud that everyone within earshot can hear what a useless dog owner I am!
You’re screwed if you forget treats
Dog treats, toddler treats, adults treats to keep your own spirits up – they’re all essential. When everything’s going to hell and the only option you’ve got left is old-fashioned bribery, you’d better hope you remembered to load your pockets with meaty treats, chocolate buttons and headache tablets. However you choose to split them between the three of you depends on the situation!
If you thought picking up dog poo was gross…
You know what I’m saying here. Don’t make me spell it out…