Guide to Choosing a Dog Walker

I'm young, I'm energetic and I am athletic.  I want dogs that compliment my disposition.  I want dogs that will chase after a ball, show tenacity tearing a stick from my white-knuckle grip, and enthusiasm for trekking in sideways rain.  I'm also a stickler for discipline and want a dog that will understand obedience and working together as a team.

That leads me to a quick briefing on the dogs that best fit with Barking Buddhas:

  • Athletic dogs
    • Weight over 30 pounds
    • Motivated by tennis ball, pine cone or tennis ball
    • We set a fast pace & cover long distances
  • Age Range
    • Young dogs from 12 months to 8 years old
  • Breeds
    • Large majority of our dogs happen to be retrievers - Goldens or Labradors
    • Second most-common breed is a shepard - Australian, Bordie Collie, Heeler
  • Discipline
    • Strong command of cues
      • Come
      • Sit
      • Stay
  • Motivation
    • Treats
    • Ball

Choose a dog walker based on your desired results.  Match your dog to your dog walker.  If you have a high-energy dog, plan to find a dog walker that is also high-energy.  If your dog happens to love chasing a tennis ball, make sure the group your dogs goes out with is also ball motivated.

My goal is to comprise an A-team of dogs that have youth, energy and a need for fast-paced play and socialization with a pack of like-minded dogs.  

Please contact me if your dog fits with our description and needs to get out of the house more often.  We offer daily hikes, serving Oakland and parts of Berkeley.  Call (510) 543-1980 or email nick@barkingbuddhas.org to set up a free trial hike.

Oakland's #1 Dog DJ

It's Tuesday morning and I'm sitting in the driver seat of my black Honda Element.  I just cleaned my car - two and a half hours of deep cleaning at Gold Coin Car Wash in Oakland.  Two dudes in an old Isuzu are blasting house music and I can't help myself from nodding my head.  The music stops, and I'm like "Hey, where'd the music go?!".   Anyways, Tuesday morning and I'm in the cockpit like a captain pre-flight.  Checking my gauges, the "instruments".  Yesterday, 55 miles, according to the trip odometer.  Same as everyday and I don't have to keep track of it in my mileage book because it's a new year.  I pull from my back pocket the route for the day.  Each morning, I pull up Google Maps and route my AM and PM pickup list.  It reads, Maya, Ellis, Taj, River, August, Frankie, Zeus/Thor.  I obey the list and try not to second-guess it when I'm out on the road.  I feel like Ron Burgundy - I am loyal to my roster like he is to the teleprompter.  "Dammit, who put a question mark in the telepromoter?!".

Anyways, it's Tuesday morning.  Why am I excited?  Tuesdays are new releases for Bandcamp's weekly radio show,  The Bandcamp Weekly (aptly named).  It's a "phenomenal", as the host - UK's Andrew Jervis - might say.  But he's living in the Berkeley hills now, so as I'm picking up my dogs and driving up the hill towards Berkeley, I can't think he's somewhere up where I happen to be driving past.  

Bandcamp happens to offer up some of their site's best new tracks, as curated by Andrew Jervis.  For me, it's a great way to uncover some great new music.  For the dogs, I only hope they get a chance to enjoy it all as much as I do.  I catch myself turning to the back seat to see six dogs captivated by my own signing, clapping and fistbumps of enthusiasm.  

As I see it, my dogs get the best music when they're cruising around in the dogmobile.  But, since they can't tell me outright, I'd like to hear from you.  Have you listened to a Bandcamp Weekly?  What do you think?  Good source of new music?  Do you approve of this music for your beloved fur baby?

A Day In The Life Of

We're winding up Snake Road in Oakland with the windows down and the music cranked up.  It's Friday morning, which means "funk" - Friday Funk Day.  I look in the rear view mirror and see six wide-eyed dogs with tongues out in anticipation of the road ahead.  They know this smell - the eucalyptus & pine trees and the crisp fall air.  They must have a sense for each curve and bend in the road, as some stand to balance, as if surfing the car floor.  We're headed to Sibley Volcanic Regional Preserve and the energy in the car is like a shaken up soda can about ready to pop!  As soon as we pull up to our shaded parking spot, I kill the engine.  

The dogs laying down jump up as like a firefighter called to duty.  I check my backpack...water bottle, check.  Poop bags, check.  Tennis ball, check.  I fill my treat bag full of Zuke's salmon flavored treats.  I walk around the car and open the back hatch of my black Element.  When I do, the dogs are all at attention, ready for leash-ups.  I repeat each dogs name aloud as I attach the leash, knowing they'll need a primer.  When we're on the trail and I holler their name, it has to be available in their recent memory.  "On the menu today doggies...salmon!", as I dole out a treat to each dog.  After all, that's my currency and I want each dog to know what we're paying.  They all happily receive their treat & I gather their leashes before letting the back gate down.  As the dogs bound to the pavement I drop my weight to anchor as they all split in every direction.  Once I have a handle of them all and untangle the leashes, we're off, marching in unison towards our trail head.

We pass the sign that reads "Off-Leash Area Ahead", and the dogs pull harder.  We've arrived and, as each day, I ask for 'sits' all around.  The dogs know the routine and each sit is rewarded with the freedom of off-leash privilege.  The dogs turn and sprint, some running in circles - whatever they can do to release the excitement of the adventure we are about to embark on.  "Here we go!", I announce and the dogs understand, all running straight ahead.  One of the dogs turns to look, asking for a confirmation of the right direction.  I nod and repeat, "Yup, here we go!".  I glance down at my watch to mark our start time...11:00.  Right on schedule.  I pull my phone out of my pocket and engage Airplane mode.   We take flight and are off on our adventure, reaching our cruising altitude in no time.  Touchdown in one hour...