Walking the family dog is a task that is often delegated to ones children. Tommy gets home from school and both he and Sparky need to wear off some pent up energy. It’s awesome when parents allow their children the responsibility of walking the dog, the important take away…it is a responsibility! Here is just a few things the seasoned dog walker sees while out strolling…retractable leashes can be dangerous and a disaster in the wrong hands! Children have a habit of allowing their pets to drag them into situations and with too much lead, they can get pulled towards situations that are often ones they can not handle. Kids have a tendency to be trusting of all dogs, they paint every canine with the same brush and don’t consider that the Jack Russel that is standing at the edge of someone’s yard should be approached with caution or better yet, look both ways and cross over to the other side of the street. Kids need to be allowed the opportunity to take a leadership role with their pet, but going out with them and helping them navigate potential problems is something all parents should do. Assisting your child to read situations and to be wary is important. A few months back a family in the area got a new dog and the thirteen year old son would take their good sized pooch around the block after school. I had my two boys with me, which is about 130 pounds of dog and when I saw him, as he struggled to reign in his enthusiastic pup, I decided that hugging the opposite side of the street was prudent. Next thing I knew he and his lovely charge were sprinting in my direction, he had no control and things became rather frenetic. The three dogs got all tangled and by the end of it my heart was racing. The dogs were fine, my back wasn’t as fortunate, but we all managed to stay upright and get on with our day. It is interesting, our children can’t drive a car without lessons and a permit and yet we allow them out with a 100 pound four legged friend at the end of a leash with a massive set of chompers. As the woman who walks all sizes and breeds of dog, I can attest to the fact that the small wired haired terrier can pull like an ox and has a personality of a bull in a china shop, just because your pooch is small doesn’t mean it isn’t mighty….or incredibly apt at getting your child into a dicey situation. I find that when I am out with my clients I have time to contemplate things I see, and one that often has me concerned is noticing a young person walking a dog and realizing that they don’t have a complete handle on their charge. It’s a learning curve for us all, and unfortunately our pets, like everything else in life, don’t come with an instruction manual. Wouldn’t it be nice if we knew that Sparky doesn’t like Poodles, is afraid of men in hoodies and panics at the sound of fire trucks. Helping our children to be present in a situation is key when walking the dog!