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Walking Your Dog

Since adding Big Dog, a Golden Retriever rescue, to our household, I have been tasked with taking him on several daily walks. This is new for me because my wife, a pet sitter/walker, walks our two other dogs. She doesn’t care to walk Big Dog because he is powerful and pulls when on a leash. I can control him better, so I walk him instead of her.

I have walked my other dogs before, but honestly, she took care of the daily walks for the most part. I have figured out Big Dog’s behavior when it comes to walks. He pulls at first because he is very excited to go for a walk, but as he begins to smell the grass, trees, bushes, etc., he calms down. Once he has located that perfect spot, he will poop. Once he poops, he is very well-behaved and no longer pulls.
Not to get gross, but picking up his poop and bagging it is not an easy task. My wife uses poop bags that you can purchase online or at a local pet supplies store, but I find these bags too small, especially for Big Dog. I find it easier to use a grocery or Walmart plastic bag. These are larger for my hand and easier for me to grab the deposits.

Unfortunately, Big Dog is not always providing me with rock-solid poop to pick up. It’s not bad most of the time, but there are times when it is difficult to pick up. I asked my wife, the dog-walking expert, and she said that she would usually need two or even three bags to get it all. She also agreed that it can be pretty messy at times.

Being who I am, I thought there had to be a better method. We use a pooper scooper and rake to pick up our backyard, but carrying these large tools on a walk would be inconvenient. I found an old handheld garden shovel in our garage and tried it, and it worked great. The downside of using this tool is that it will get messy, and I must walk back home to clean it. I wipe it off on the grass, but there is still residual traces of poop on the shovel. Once I return home, I get Big Dog back in the house, wash the shovel in our utility tub in our garage, and then dispose of the poop bag in our poop bucket.

This method works well, but I thought, what if someone made a plastic, disposable shovel that you would place inside the bag when finished? No mess and very convenient. Come on, you entrepreneurs out that, develop an affordable disposable shovel. Maybe pack it with a poop bag. I’m just thinking out loud.

Some of my friends have offered other solutions, such as not walking the dog and letting him go in the backyard instead and also getting rid of the dog. Big Dog must have been raised in an apartment or condo because he loves going for walks. He doesn’t care for the backyard all that much. So, I will continue to walk him. As to getting rid of him, that’s not going to happen, so for now, I will carry the metal shovel with me when I take him for his daily walks until someone markets a disposable solution.
Some people often refer to our pet dogs and cats as dumb animals, yet we humans are the ones who pick up after them. The difference is that dogs don’t usually go on protest if we miss a day of picking up the backyard. Miss cleaning the cat’s litter box, and they will display their disdain for the situation.

It’s important to pick up after your pets. Don’t leave your dog’s deposits on a neighbor’s lawn. That is very disrespectful. I often see piles of poop on lawns when walking my dog. I usually pick it up as a courtesy, but this should not be my responsibility or the homeowners. It is the pet owner’s responsibility to pick up after their pet. One of my neighbors lets their dog out to use a common area maintained by the city. They never go pick up after their dog. This is not right since other neighbor’s children use this same area as a make-shift playground.

Be courteous to your neighbors and pick up after your dog. Also, please remember to adopt, don’t shop, and support your local animal shelters.

Barry KuKes is the former Community Outreach Director of Halifax Humane Society. E-mail him at bkukes View more of his work at