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A day in the life of a dog walker

Recently I agreed to sit in for a lady who has a dog walking business (or should I say “walk in”)

She helped me with my dog when I was away and I was very impressed with her and her attitude toward dogs and the art of dog walking. When she said she wanted to go on a vacation but she had no one to walk her client dogs for her, I agreed to do it, as I could, being mostly flexible with my time during her three week vacation.

I agreed to walk her small group of dogs, from Tuesday to Friday.

 

I have done a lot of research before and have written before about dog walking and dog walkers. I am still surprised that there are so many, and at so many different prices and levels of service.

You can get a dog walker who will

·         Come and take your dogs on a field trip, with lots of other dogs

·         A walker who will walk your dog in a group of other dogs

·         Ones who will just drop in and give your dogs a bathroom break

·         And others that will walk the dog, one at a time, for a set period of time each day.

The lady whose business I was filling in for was the latter kind. To me, that is the only kind of dog walker I would want for my dog. She cares about every dog, and takes her time to get to know them. she is at

Fur their comfort pet care

Yet I do understand all the other dog walker needs and why they offer their services as they do. I know business too and making a living as a solo dog walker is not so easy. It can be perfect for some, perhaps someone  who really loves dogs and wants just to subsidize their existing income, or does not want to make a lot, just enough, it can be very good.

I love dogs, I have my own, and I have had dogs for over 25 years. A former cat person I am.

I have fostered dogs, and also looked after many other dogs for weeks at a time in their homes and in mine- all for the love of the dog. I had of course walked every one of those dogs. I had not up to then just walked someone’s dog, without caring for it for a time period as well. This was the first time for me that I had just come in, walked the dog, and then left the house and the dog.

The first dog was a little one, cute little spaniel. I had not even been in this home; I just had the OK from the owner, and a key, and had met the dog. The dog was happy to see me. He was in a secure area in part of the apartment. The walk went well and I put him back in his place and said good bye. He was so cute, it was hard to go. When I left I heard him, so I stayed around a bit until he stopped. I am such a softy, I felt bad for him, being on his own again. Also, while I knew I had not done anything other than put him in his section of the apartment, and left it exactly as it was, I could not help worrying about him. What if he got out of his secure area? I think he probably could have jumped out. The patio door had been left open, it was a warm day and I am sure that was why. Then I could not stop thinking, what if he got out and got on the patio. Stop this nonsense I told myself, the owner knows his dog, and knows he will not jump out. So, on I went to the next one.

This walk involved two small dogs, one very nervous and the other happy to meet anyone. I had met them before and had been to the apartment. I was told that one may not want to come out, while the other would be happy to, and to not force it for the other. Lucky for me though, they both came out that day. We walked the neigbourhood for twice as long as we were supposed to, as I just kept walking and enjoying the company of the dogs. The owners were at work and they wanted the dogs to have a nice walk, and that they did.

The next dog was a beautiful large cross breed, part exotic Kuvasz and part Labrador perhaps. She was a very big and bouncy girl. I had met her and as well had been in the house once before. The owner had told me that the dog plays a game if she sees you get the leash and it is best to hold on to her and then get the leash. Well, that did not go well. We had a game of chase me around the house for a few minutes. I know a bit about dogs so I was able to slow her down and get the harness and leash on her. The owners had also warned me that she liked to pull, and to be careful, and if I thought she would pull me over, to just let her out in the garden. Well, I thought, I know dogs; I can handle her I said to myself. As soon as we were out the door the post man arrived. He said he was new to the route. The lovely dog pulled but fortunately I was able to get her back inside and we waited until the mail man went. We went on our walk, and yes she did pull, yet we did OK and we walked way longer that planned. I also got a bit turned around in the neigbourhood, I would not say lost, but temporarily misplaced. I was sad when I left her as I really enjoyed her company. She was very good when I left; no crying or barking was heard.

Off I went to the last dog. This one, I had also met once in her townhouse. She was secured in a kennel in the upper floors. Not a sound from her. I opened the kennel and she came out and bounced down the stairs and around the house. I put on the leash right away as I did not know how well controlled she was. She also pulled a bit; OK a lot, as she was a part coon hound or bloodhound. I have a sight hound and walking a bloodhound/coon hound is a different experience. Nose to the ground a lot of the time- hers, not mine. At the end of the walk, I had been given instruction to put peanut butter in her Kong and put in the kennel, after giving her a treat. I did not want to leave her either. I stayed a bit more to visit with her and then I followed the routine and she just easily went in the kennel. When I left there was not a sound from her. I do think she liked her secure kennel and would have gone in without the Kong anyway. She was lovely.

Well, this was day one of my dog walking stint.

Day 2 did not go as smoothly as the little dog that I had been told might not come out, did not. So I had to leave him, as instructed, un-walked. I called the owner to let her know just in case there was more I could do.

Then the lovely Kuvasz put me to the test. We were doing very well on our walk, and again I went much further than I had planned and, and along a pathway at the side of a small urban park in the area as well. Then I saw a lady and what appeared from the distance to be a large black poodle. Off leash- the dog that is.  I could not have exited the park fast enough to get away, so I called for the woman to put the dog on a leash, as I was walking a strong dog. Instead of doing that she allowed her dog to come right to us. It was very friendly and the big girl I was walking looked like she would love to romp and play with it. Did I mention that the owner told me the dog has no recall yet and I should absolutely under no circumstances let her go? And this was one. She pulled me to a 45 degree angle, I don’t know how I did not manage to fall flat on my face, but I did not, and I was sure I was not going to let her go.

All this time I was flashing back to an experience when I was walking 2 foster dogs, one caught me by surprise and as a result I was pulled flat on my face. I lay there for some time moaning in pain, but I did not drop the dogs. Sometime later I was able to get up, and gingerly walk the dogs back to my home.

 This was not going to happen again. I could not lose her dog, and I did not want to damage myself like I had before.  I asked the women to take her dog away, yet she continued to tell me about how the harness the dog was wearing was not good enough and how her dog as well behaved. I listened to her and agreed that the harness gave no control. Yet I told her this was a dog I was walking for its owner, and I asked for her cooperation.

In the end all was well, and we walked, well me being pulled, all the way home. Then after a game of chase around the house I left the lovely dog.  I did leave a note for the owner about it, also mentioning the harness and how her walking might be easier for someone with a harness that gave some control.

The rest of the day went well, as did the rest of the three weeks. (I recruited my own neighbour and dog walker to help me with the lovely Kuvasz. We gave her great walks together. He is bigger and stronger than me.)

 

We love our dogs, each one has its own personality and we are the ones who know the best what it is capable of. Yet often people will entrust someone who is almost a stranger to walk them.

Dog walking is serious business, not for the weak, and not for the dog lover who just can’t seem to say goodbye to each dog at the end of the walk.

So how does one who has to work all day, or be out longer than the dogs should be left alone, find a good dog sitter. Well, as I said, there are lots of services you can find by asking a local veterinarian, checking local bulletin boards, and course the on line search.

Some dog walkers have lots of experience with dogs, yet not with yours. Some even have a first aid certificate, yet, you hope that they would not ever have to use that training with your dog.

 

This is one of the reasons I started this web site. At that time I had 3 dogs, and all seniors, so the walking was not so much as issue, but the caring for them and giving them a bathroom break was. Now I have a dog that needs a good walk and a bathroom break if I am gone all day.

I put up ads, I had students and people I knew help me, yet my best dog walkers were and still are my wonderful neighbours. In my search for help I was able to find two or three neighbours that would help me. Yet who wants to go door to door and beg for help like I did.

And so I thought if people will join my site, and put out their need for dog walker/sitter, people in their area who join too, could find them.

People would find each other.  

Since I started my site now over a year ago, there is one called Part time dog. This is for a fee, as I understand and its focus is more on those that want to enjoy the company of a dog, part time.

Why not join my site!

Membership is free for a limited time.

Help me build the network of caring dog people, in your neigbourhood, and in mine.

Not only that, you can post stories, and information useful to pet owners, once you become a member. You can post a listing or advertise your business- if it is anything to do with pets or their people,

 And as we grow you will also be able to shop for select product.

And a special feature of our site is the

PetArtisan. Visit here to see pet related art, and some of it will be for sale on this site, some for display only, as well for sale as on the sites of the artists. This is a unique feature for the site.

The web sites were inspired by my dog -and me

I am the artist, the feature on the site. As we grow I will have bead artists, glass artists, potters, carvers, writers and so much more.

 

Join today at 

Bowwowwowmeow membership

 

 

Also, for services, products and further information on topics such as pet harnesses, dog breeds, dog behavior, dog  safety, keep checking the site for new stories and information and services and products we recommend.