I’ve introduced my dog, Siegfried, before. He’s the uncharismatic chihuahua/pug I share with an ex-boyfriend.
This little old mutt of mine is an oddball and I love him; he’s family, after all.
Here’s a little bit more information about my dear Siegfried: he doesn’t exactly fit the active, outdoorsy lifestyle we enjoy in the House of Hodgins. He’s more interested in siestas, tater tots, and scaring away the neighbours with his personality.
Though Sieg’s a square peg in a round hole when it comes to our lifestyle, I still want to include him in everything I can. Just because he doesn’t share our interests, doesn’t mean he should be left out.
…I should have seen the signs earlier that he was not one who liked to expend energy.
- Siegfried likes to cut me off during our walks and try to direct me instead of the other way around. He’s smart enough to know the quickest routes home, so he attempts to lead me back home so he can nap on the couch surrounded by his favourite chew toys.
If leading me back home doesn’t work, Sieg employs the use of his vocal cords to illustrate his displeasure. Once he’s reached his fitness limit, the barking and whimpering commence.
When this happens, I imagine he’s saying, “This is hard. My feet hurt. I’m tired. Let’s go home and make nachos.”
…I do love nachos.
- When Sieg was about five, he discovered a new method of emotional manipulation. He started walking with a limp while we strolled the ‘hood. My heart would break for this poor, busted dog since walking clearly caused him pain.
I kid you not, at the words, “let’s go home,” Sieg’s limp miraculously disappears and he happily trots back to the apartment. He still likes to use this technique, which I hate because I never want to assume he’s faking and make him walk further on an aching paw to cause further damage (he has enough health issues!).
- Once, while hiking in Kelowna with my parents, I let Siegfried off-leash. Since he’s a bit of a mama’s boy, I don’t worry about him going too far—he’s usually right by my ankles. We wandered a few kilometres and at some point, I noticed that my little mutt wasn’t barking at me to turn around. He was missing in the woods.
After backtracking about a kilometre, we found him napping in the sunshine on the side of the trail. My little buffoon. Little did he know what a delightful snack he would have been to a coyote or a bear.
So, you see, he’s never been one for exercise or the great outdoors.
Here’s what I’ve learned about adventures with Siegfried:
Sieg loves to take part in activities when he doesn’t have to expend any of his own energy.
If we’re hiking, we force him to walk at least part of the way, but inevitably, he’ll end up being carried with the happiest dog face you ever did see.
When snowshoeing, we make sure that our little bundle of fur doesn’t get cold. We generally wrap him in a blanket or, if it’s especially chilly, we throw a heating pad or hot water bottle in the backpack with him because he’s old and needs a warm hug.
When it comes to paddleboard adventures, Sieg loves the sunshine and the easygoing nature of it—likely because the peaceful sway of the water lulls him into a comfortable nap while I do all the paddling. He hates when the wind picks up. Heaven forbid there are waves to disturb his snooze.
Things you’ll need for your adventure dog—even a lazy one:
A water bottle:
If you’re expending energy and your pup is doing the same, make sure you both stay hydrated. Sieg isn’t great at sharing, so I bring along a water bottle that’s meant just for him. These Messy Mutts Stainless Steel Travel Water Bottles are awesome; your dog can lap up the water right from the tray and the bottle fits comfortably in the sleeve of your hiking pack.
I don’t have the greatest confidence in Siegfried’s ability to swim. I know I’ve seen him doggy-paddle when absolutely required, but for my own peace of mind, I put him in his Outward Hound Granby Dog Life Jacket so that if he falls off the paddleboard while we’re out on the water he’ll at least be able to float.
Dogs get hungry during a day of adventure too. Remember to pack your pup a good lunch to keep their energy up. If you have a dog like Siegfried, he’ll pester you until you sacrifice part of your meal, so it’s best to give him one of his own.
AKA bribery or incentive for the lazy adventure dog. I use VitaLife Duck Tenders single protein treats to get Sieg to sit and stay on my paddleboard so he doesn’t throw off our balance. When he starts moving around, standing on the board becomes a bit more difficult for both of us. These treats are also great to reward your dog for being a terrific adventure buddy.
Sieg’s personal nature isn’t to enjoy the outdoors, but he’s still family and it’s important to make these memories together.
Over the years, Dan’s been great at taking turns schlepping Sieg around in a backpack to make sure our reluctant adventurer gets to experience all kinds of vistas and moments…even if he hates it.