I never expected my cat, Trixie, to buddy up to my dogs. To be honest, I was more focused on teaching her to love my husband. But somewhere over the last few years, she’s adopted my two dogs — Rudi, a Lab mix, and Hollie, a hound mix — as her BFFs. And it is adorable.
Don’t get me wrong — it’s not all purrs and snuggles all the time, although she does bathe Rudi’s face on a semi-regular basis. Trixie and Hollie, my more excitable (and much louder) dog, are still working on exactly how to play together, but they seem to have figured out that some gentle batting (on Trixie’s part) with some play bows (by Hollie) can be a lot of fun.
It’s clear that Trixie truly enjoys the company of her canine siblings — possibly more than she enjoys my company. She follows them out onto our lanai, strolling around the enclosed pool cage as the dogs make their rounds in the backyard. And once the dogs come back in, she’s hot on their heels as they head into the kitchen for treats. Whenever I leash up the dogs for a walk, she trots over, seemingly hopeful that she could join us. And she’s always waiting right at the door to greet us when we return. All she seems to want is to go on a walk with her family.
So I started thinking about how I could make that happen.
Working Toward a Walk
The problem was that I knew from previous training sessions that Trixie was a bit fearful of anything above her. She loves a good petting session, but only if she’s up on one of her perches or a table. The ground — even if I’m down there with her — doesn’t feel as safe or secure to her. Because of this, I had a feeling that walking her on a leash outside the house would be a no-go.
However, that didn’t mean an outdoor adventure with her pack wasn’t an option. I decided to try a front carrier, which is kind of like a backwards backpack. I was hopeful that a front carrier would let me keep an eye on her and make sure she remained comfortable and calm during our outing. I knew I wanted an open carrier so that she could really look around, but it was important that it otherwise be enclosed (i.e., no feet dangling out) and that it offered a way to secure her by clipping onto a collar or harness. I opted for the Outward Hound PoochPouch.
Then, all I had to do was train Trixie to hop in and enjoy the ride.
I’ll be honest: It remains a work in progress. We’re not exactly going on long walks around the neighborhood as a big, happy family (at least, not yet). But with patience, we have reached a point where I can settle Trixie into the carrier and walk around the yard with her and the dogs for a few minutes. Here’s how we got there.