As I discuss the purchase of the Ultra Paws Rugged Boots with this proud dog dad, he says, “She has climbed Miller’s Peak, hiked Antelope Island, and she has been on every hike my wife and I have been on in the past 8 years.” While I was expecting him to tell me that his dog was a Labrador or an Australian Shepherd or a Border Collie or maybe even a Blue Heeler, he told me his dog was a Pomeranian. Pomeranian would have been close to my guess, if I was guessing. When I think of Poms, I think of cute little dog sunny on the couch, not the adventurous type, up on the mountain or out in the sandy hills of Antelope Island. Another reminder that any dog will be a companion to their human’s great adventures given the opportunity.
Often, we forget that the sweet feet of our dogs will need the same protection that we need for our feet. Not too many of us would climb over rigged rocks or traverse over hot sand bare feet. During the summer, while wandering around a Farmers’ Market, I noticed dogs dancing when they had to stop and stand, waiting for their human. The temperature outside was 82 degrees making the black tar at least close to 100 degrees. The assumption that our best friend can endure this type of treatment to their padded little paws, is a painful assumption for the dog.
The argument that is most often presented is, “My dog will never wear those.” The argument better stated would be, “My dog has never worn them.” No worries, they can be taught. Teaching a dog how to wear any type of gear that will provide them comfort and protection requires a few things:
1) Some type of equipment for videotaping them. It will be funny!
2) Patience. Don’t give up. They will get accustomed to it. When introducing the boots, put them on their paws, and let them do the “What the hell is on my feet” dance. If they try to bite them, tell them “No” or “Leave it” whatever command you use. Take them for a walk with the boots on, so they can get used to them and be distracted from the weirdness on their feet.
3) Repeat number two frequently until they become accustomed to the new shoes.
A conversation with avid hikers provided me with an additional need for boot covered paws. They explained to me that they frequently hike with their dog in bears’ country. Blood is a bear attractor. Once after a hike, they noticed their dog’s feet were cracked and bloody from the rugged terrain. It was now crucial that their hiking partner learn how to walk with protection on his feet, as not to attract the big Teddy.
If our dogs are to join us in our adventures on sand, rocks, tar, snow or any of the many places we like to take them with us, it is important to protect them from the elements that are dangerous to our own feet. Even our little Poms.