Why don’t you offer a dog walking service?
I was alerted to a post by Pet Sitters Ireland through a fellow doggie daycare owner. You can see the post here https://petsittersireland.com/doggy-day-care-pros-cons-benefits-cost/ Its obviously written to sway you towards going with dog walking a service they provide. It’s similar information to the topic I covered in a blog post last September http://thedoggielodge.ie/is-daycare-right-for-my-dog/
But in response I’d like to add a little something. When we set up The Doggie Lodge initially it was for home boarding with a view to opening a doggie daycare facility. We expanded our aim to include a shop and grooming studio. We are often asked why we don’t do dog walking? Pet Sitters Ireland offer a pet sitting and dog walking service so why isn’t The Doggie Lodge getting in on that action?
The answer is FEAR! Now let me explain…..
At The Doggie Lodge we can guarantee your dog is in a safe secure environment. The walls are 10ft high and its like Forth Knox with all the doors, gates, alarms and security systems (while still welcoming and homely to the naked eye) All the dogs that come are vaccinated. If a dog is sick they don’t come, this limits other dogs coming in contact with sick dogs (although not totally controllable). All dog are assessed therefore we know the temperament of every dog your dog will meet. The dogs have a routine throughout the day. We have options to go outside when its sunny or snuggle up inside when its cold. In general we all have a great laugh. Happy in our little bubble.
With dog walking comes the fear…. how many lost dog posters/ Facebook pages/ Tv appeals do you see on a daily basis – What if your dog got away on us?? Most dog owners who loose their dogs are on routes they take every day. But oops dog got a scent and is GONE!
Dog fights can happen at any moment and a lot or irresponsible dog owners leave their dogs loose, free to attack the dog you are walking on lead.
Dogs are unpredictable might love every dog you meet and just take a dislike to one dog or fight over a toy, smell, piece of rubbish thrown on the ground.
If a dog bites someone in a public place. Even if they’re not the one walking said dog its the owners responsibility. You and your dog could be at risk if this happens.
Leads can break or dogs can slip collars. Once a dog bolts it can become a game or a fear reaction to keep on running.
Some dogs have no road sense which puts them at risk around busy roads or train tracks.
Dogs are fascinated by water. They can easily swim out of their depth and get into trouble.
We often see reports of rat poison put in pieces of meat to poison dogs and careless people dumping waste that could be harmful to dogs.
Walking constantly on hard surfaces or hot tarmac in the summer can take its toll on your dogs feet, there’s the added hazard of standing on glass from broken bottles.
Dog owners and dog walkers need to be particularly carful around livestock and farmland particularly around lambing season.
Rutting season is another thing to be wary of. A client of our was attacked by a stag and was very lucky to live to tell the tale!
Diseases are rampant on dog walking trails and certain strains of bacteria like the pavro virus can survive for months or even years after initial contact from a sick dog.
Energy levels vary from dog to dog. Walking just isn’t enough most dogs need to use their brains to tire them out completely.
Taking a dog from his/her own home can spell disaster. We offer a collection service for dogs we know and it works out great. But we also know that certain dogs will not let you into their home at all, let alone take them away from the home and into your car/van even if it is for a super fun walk!
Cost! A dog walker is much more expensive €19.50 for 45 mins or €23 for an hour! €17 buys you up to 10 hours at The Doggie Lodge (and peace of mind – you cant put a price on that)
Don’t get me wrong I’m not saying don’t walk your dog or get a dog walker. There’s plenty of fun to be had exploring the great outdoors with your best pal.
For me its just not worth the risk!
Tips for employing a dog walker:
Check their credentials, go through a reputable company or at the very least get someone who’s been Garda vetted. They’ll be coming into your home when your not there and in charge of your precious pooch.
Have they got insurance? A lot of people dog minding, walking, grooming are doing so “on the side”. It’s a risky business that needs a professional not someone earning extra pocket money.
Are they strong enough? Not just for your dog but if god forbid a rogue dog tried to attack yours or if the walker is in charge of multiple dogs.
How are their handling skills, are they too rough, are they going to cause you problems if using conflicting training methods then what you and your dog are used to?
After meeting with them. Don’t sign up straight away. Take a step back and consider your options. Remember you want your dog to be in the best hands.