We are grateful for this post which was shared on a facebook page we follow. It came from Dundee based “Bounce n Bound” who are dog walkers and dog daycare providers (not the one mentioned below). We have removed the names and abbreviated the post but the key points remain.
It relates to a 10-year-old female dog with a sensitive nature. The dog (named withheld) was previously with another “dog walker” but then her owners changed to a new one. Thereafter her owners started to notice major changes in her personality and behavior! She stopped greeting them at the door, she’d run and hide in a corner, shivering and wet herself. These changes in dog behavior are serious and they don’t happen without reason!! She showed signs of shutting down and this is extremely worrying. Her owner mentioned this to the new dog walker and told him about her wetting on the carpet and his response was “a good backhander will sort that out’!
This is a clear indication of how he treats dogs and has a total lack of respect for both dog and owner! This is obviously a walker who has no idea of dogs or how to read dog body language, especially signs of stress. It simply comes down to bad handling and lack of love, respect, and consideration. Scarily there are a few like him about.
It is crucial that if you are going to trust someone to look after your dog you ask them the right questions.
- Have they any experience of dogs and ask them for examples
- What is their approach to training? If it’s dominance training and they mention pack leaders, Ceasar Millian, or wolves avoid them like the plague, they have no clue about how dogs think or science-based training methods.
- Have they had any training?
- Are they insured? Many are not, ask to see a copy of their policy.
- Is their van crated? If the answer is no, read our post on transporting dogs here
- Ask to go on a walk with them, a good walker will always say yes, if they say no avoid them, there is clearly something to hide.
- Are the first aid trained and what is their policy on major incidents?
- Where do they walk?
- How many dogs do the walk together?
- How do they manage a walk where older dogs, mixed personality types and/or very young dogs/pups are involved? Read our post on pups with dog walkers here
- What do they do to continue to develop their learning and professional approach to dog walking or dog daycare?
- Are they members of any professional association.?
They key thing is to assess whether you think greed is the main driving force over that of safety. Just because a dog walker may have been dog walking for many years it doesn’t make them a good dog walker! They may have been doing it badly for all those years.
Commercialized businesses, small dog walking companies or solo dog walkers can be excellent, but they can also be poor if the infrastructure and training are not in place. Obviously, in this dogs case, she was being ill-treated and her age and personality not taken into consideration. She was being forced into a situation she hated every day without her owner’s knowledge, the dog walker was claiming she was fine when she clearly wasn’t. The result was she started to shut down. Luckily the owners listened to her and she is safe with a dog walker who cares.
Please feel free to ask any of the dog bus staff any of the questions above.