The Dog Bus hooman’s have said we can answer your questions for you…
Questions you should ASK!!
We have put together a list of FAQs we believe you should ask if you are considering ‘The Dog Bus’ or any other person who you may entrust with your dog!
Although there are many good walkers or day care centres around, there are equally some not so good ones. 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!
Do you have any dog experience?
Apart from being dog owners ourselves, we have years of experience of providing dog care services and have undertaken thousands of dog walks between the team.
Each team member/walker who starts with us is trained to ‘think dog’. We require all our walkers to either undertake a dog walkers certificate, the two-day iMDT dog training course, have an Animal and Welfare college diploma/degree or proven experience as a dog walker before we let them loose with your dog. We have a qualified dog trainer onboard, so yes, we set our standards high.
Add to that we are constantly on a learning curve we feel you can trust your dog is safe with us.
Why you and not another dog walker/daycare?
Who you choose really depends on your needs and what is best for your dog. Obviously price is also a key factor if using a pet service regularly.
There are many good dog walkers and daycare centres in the local area but also the odd bad one.
As dog lovers, the team at the dog bus have a real passion and drive to give the dogs a great day out at an affordable price.
Apart from covering all the basics like insurance, transport, etc, we understand dogs and have invested time to learn how they think and how they communicate their feelings.
We use proven science-based learning and apply it to the way we look after and walk the dogs. We understand our duty of care to other people, dogs, and the environment whilst out walking.
Anyone can claim to be a professional dog walker but are they really?
Ultimately the choice lies in who you feel will best look after your dog and the services they provide.
What is your approach to training?
We are fully-fledged believers in science based training and learning. We fully support and follow the iMDT (Insitute of Modern Dog Trainers) Code of Ethics:
- To train dogs professionally with honesty, integrity and in the best interest of the dog, owner, the public and The IMDT.
- Actively provide and promote force-free training methods and actively reject any methods or equipment that may cause physical or mental discomfort.
- Continue Professional development through books, workshops, courses & seminars.
- Respect the privacy and confidentiality of clients.
- Carry suitable professional insurance including public liability.
- Members agree to work within their professional limits and agree to refer owners with needs beyond those limits to a suitable professional.
- Provide and promote science based, proven dog training principles to a high, professional standard.
- Avoid positive punishment as a tool for training dogs.
- Proactively benefit dogs and dog owners.
Have you had any training?
John who is a shareholder and director of the business is an accredited iMDT dog trainer. Since forming the business he has gone out of his way to fully learn and understand why dogs think and act as they do. We call it thinking dog!
He passes down his knowledge to the team to ensure they not only love dogs but understand then as well. Apart from being a trainer, John can also teach Dog Parkour and Hoopers
John also holds a OCN (Open College Network) level 3 certificate and an Animal Wealthfare daycare and boarding qualification. He is presently studying for a behaviorist accreditation, diet qualification and doing an online Sarah Whitehead ‘Think Dog” Qualification.
Are you insured to operate a pet business?
We are insured for:
Injury to Animals
Loss of Keys
Plus other business-related operations
We are also insured to transport dogs on our commercial fleet policy
Are you first aid trained?
We are indeed! We try and update every year to stay current with training and every new member of the team goes on the first available first aid course we can get them on.
Are you members of any professional association?
John is a member of the iMDT. We stay up to date with all current legislation and training methods.
What is your policy for off lead walking?
Dogs should be free to run around and enjoy themselves and we much prefer to walk the dogs without leads. However, unless a dog has excellent recall and we can trust them, then we keep them on lead whilst on a walk. There is a difference between training and chancing. We don’t chance!
The great thing about our secure 7-acre field is that the guys can be off the lead to zoom and loon around so if they need to be on a lead for a walk, they don’t in the field.
Do you meet and greet first?
Yes, we do! We would never take a dog on without first meeting it and ideally assessing it in your home. This way the dog gets to meet us on safe ground and knows us when we pick up. It also gives us an opportunity to see how your dog reacts to us while in a controlled environment. Our meet and greets give you the opportunity to ask us questions and get a general gut feeling of whether we are the best fit for you and your dog. Our consultations are free and we can arrange them early evening or Saturday mornings if you are not available during the week.
Are you insured to transport dogs?
Our insurance company is fully aware of our operation and the fact we transport dogs.
Please check with your present or future (if not us) provider that they are not only insured for driving but also insured for the purpose of using the vehicle for work i.e. transporting dogs.
If they are not insured, you could be looking at a hefty vet bill or legal wrangle if the worse happens.
Is your van crated?
For safety, we have crated all our vans. We have a variety of sizes to suit all dogs and each comes with comfy bedding. Each vehicle is fitted with, Flettner ventilators, air-con and we have removed the bulkheads in most to provide additional light.
Although we fully understand the costs of putting vehicles that are fit for purpose on the road, (especially if a smaller business) it still drives us nuts when we see dogs transported loose in the back of vans or cars.
What do you do in the case of a breakdown?
We have in place full breakdown cover with a leading rescue provider. However, with having 5 vehicles at our disposal it also means we can quickly get to a stranded van to offload the dogs if need be.
We are strong believers in preventative measures so all the vans are regularly serviced and maintained.
Do I need to be at home for when you pickup or drop my dog?
No, most of our clients provide us with a key that allows us to pick up and drop off your dog whilst you’re not home. We are fully insured for key loss and damage. All keys are kept in a secure location and will never be marked with anything other than the name of your dog.
Are you CRB/Database checked?
If you are entrusting people not only with your dog, but access to your home then you need to ensure they are CRB – Database checked. We insist that all our staff who are likely to ever enter a client’s home is one of the good guys.
How long is my dog likely to be in a van?
We operate locally to our walking spots and adventure field, so aim to minimise the time the guys spend in the vehicles. Each vehicle is fitted with comfortable bedding, Flettner ventilators, air-con and we have removed the bulkheads in most to provide additional light. From our first pickup to arriving at the field we aim for the dogs not to be in the vehicles for more than one hour.
We may need to pick up and drop during peak traffic times – 9 am and 5 pm. Sometimes when traffic is likely to be heavy, your dog may be on the van for longer than in off-peak times.
How big is the area you cover?
We cover Altrincham, Hale, Bowdon, Hale Barns, Timperley, Sale, Lymm, and surrounding areas. We also have 5 vans on the road so we break down routes into small chunks.
Many solo dog walkers tend to cover large areas to ensure they have enough dogs to make their business profitable, we fully understand this and have been through that pain barrier ourselves in the past. However, if a dog walker needs to cover a large distance to pick up enough dogs for a walk, then your pooch may end up in the van for a longer period.
What is your entry criteria?
The Dog Bus is one of the fastest-growing pet service providers in the area with a great reputation for providing excellent care and services. Part of our success is down to the staff we employ, our training and the never-ending goal to offer the best dog care facilities in the area.
Not all dogs suit daycare and it may not be the best environment for some dogs. Therefore, we must ensure that we meet and assess your dog to determine, as far as possible, that he or she is going to be happy and suitable for the services we offer.
The safety and welfare of dogs in our care is paramount to us. To ensure we operate safely we have strict entry requirements to keep our staff, dogs and the public safe.
We only accept dogs that are sociable and friendly towards other dogs and humans. Unfortunately, we will not accept dogs that have a history of aggression.
Although we reserve the right to take unneutered dogs we need to be convinced they will fit in with the gang. It is not always about how the unneutered dog will act with others but also how the other dogs will act around them.
We cannot accept bitches while they are in season.
We have restrictions on some breeds e.g. size, temperament or that have a more physical approach to play.
All dogs visiting us for the day or for walking must be fully up to date with their vaccinations, be wormed and treated for fleas.
Although we are flexible on bookings we insist that your dog is booked with us at least twice a month so that human/dog relationships are maintained and so that they continually get to meet existing and new members of the gang.
How do I book a service?
We know what life is like so have implemented a simple online booking system that can be accessed from a PC, Laptop, tablet or phone. It’s easy, no need to call, text or pass messages along. Log into your private portal and book away. We can set up standing orders for you or you can book months in advance.
Learn more about our booking system by Clicking here
Do you only accept trained dogs?
Not at all, some basic training always helps, but don’t worry if your dog is not well trained. In fact, The Dog Bus frequently helps improve training and behaviour. Dogs are learning all the time from both humans and other dogs.
We write a care plan for each dog and help on the areas you may have pointed out to us or those we think may help the dog, you and in turn, us. Many owners have stated that they have seen an improvement in their dog’s behaviour after being with us for a while.
Do you charge for cancellations?
No, we don’t. Unlike solo walkers or smaller businesses we have the convenience of being large enough to be able to build into our business enough flexibility to allow for last-minute bookings or cancellations. We fully appreciate what life is like and that last-minute things crop up.
We man our services to allow for additions or cancellations which simply even themselves out over time.
We fully understand that a solo walker or smaller business’s income is massively affected by the cancellation of a dog, so understand the need to charge a cancellation fee. It’s just a policy decision we made not to charge.
It is important you understand your potential dog walkers cancellation policy so that you are aware of any charges should you need to cancel with them.
How flexible are you last minute bookings?
Massively….. you can book up to 9pm the night before using our booking system.
How much do I have to pay to get started?
Nothing! We do not charge for consultations, registration or bookings in advance.
We invoice at the end of the month. All we ask is that you pay us promptly once we send out the invoice so we can keep providing the gang with treats.
Do you offer discounts?
Unfortunately not, we believe our service offers great value for money at the prices on our price page.
We also reinvest heavily into the business via infrastructure, training and to meet legislative requirements.
We will discount for a second dog from the same household and we are happy to look at a subscription-based price if that better suits your budget.
Please read our blog post on whether a dog walker or daycare centre is worth the money they charge by clicking here
What do your services include?
A half or full-day dog adventure park service which includes an off-site dog walk. We are also partnering with a number of other dog-related services. Please see our menu above for information about us.
All our times are as stated, half-day is 3 hours and full-day is 6. Walks are for a minimum of 1 hour or 1.5 hours. Please note this does not include pick up and drop off time.
Where do you take the dogs?
No warehouses for us, we are the first dog adventure park in the area and first dog adventure park that mixes walking with our daycare operations.
We will not walk in local parks, on the road or around the block, we like riversides, canals, woods, out of town trails and country parks.
How many dogs do you walk together?
We will never walk more than 5 dogs per walker, however most of the time due to regulations and safety we walk 4.
We will never put profit over safety by walking too many dogs per person.
On occasion, we may double up a walk so we have 10 dogs with two experienced walkers. The dogs love walking in a bigger gang and it gives more opportunity for play.
What is your ratio of dogs to humans?
In relation to “The Animal Welfare (Licensing of Activities Involving Animals) (England) Regulations 2018” our human to dog ratio is 1:10 in the field.
When walking it is 1:5
Will my dog be supervised?
Whether walking or in our dog adventure field your dog will be under supervision at all times. We never leave dogs unattended. We never use our mobiles while walking or in the dog adventure field unless taking photographs. We have eyes and ears everywhere at all times.
Do you crate dogs while with you?
We have an open crate policy; if the dogs want to go and chill out, there are crates available for them to do so.
We crate rest pups to give them time to chill and so we manage the amount of exercise they get, but this is done in a controlled way with positive associations. We crate the guys in the vehicles for safety whilst transporting them and every now and again if a dog is being overly boisterous we may chill them out.
What we don’t do is crate dogs unnecessarily because of limited space, staff shortages, or because it is easier to do so.
Have you any daycare qualifications?
John holds an Ofqual, IMDT Level 3 Professional Daycare and Boarding Certificate.
How often do dogs get injured and what happens?
Dog daycare centres or dog parks/fields are like children’s playgrounds or school break times and every now and again an incident may happen. Best friends take it a step too far, a dog will get over-excited and pull a muscle or bash into another dog while zooming around. Or dogs being dogs and having an attitude of “see it eat it” may eat something that maybe they shouldn’t.
Prevention is better than the cure so they say. We prevent by assessing dogs first (friendly guys only), maintaining a good staff to dog ratio, having eyes and ears everywhere, understanding canine body language and keeping a safe and controlled environment.
In the first instance, our first aid training kicks in and if we can deal with it we will. In any case, we will inform you. If in any doubt it is off to the vets with them.
Do you take full males or un-spayed bitches?
Our ethos is that all dogs that come to our adventure field or go for a walk are kept safe and are happy.
We are open to discuss and explore the possibility of taking unneutered dogs if we believe their behaviour will be acceptable, and non-disruptive in our adventure dog daycare field or whilst out on a walk. However, we reserve the right to refuse a dog that is not neutered.
We cannot accept dogs in season because of the disruption it can cause for the other dogs.
We have a blog post on neutering that can be found by clicking here
How do you manage a walk with mixed ages, health, energy?
The great thing with having a dog adventure field is the ability to sort the dogs into walking groups based on age, size, health, playfulness and friendships.
We have a sniffy gang who really never stray too far due to sniffing everything on the walk, we have our loon and zoom gangs who loon and zoom around, we have our potterers, ball chasers and swimmers.
The walks are based on the dynamics of the dogs we have with us on the day.
What age will you take puppies from?
We are happy to take puppy’s from the age of 12 weeks if they are fully vaccinated and the vet has given them the ok. We have a specific area for socialising pups (see our adventure field page).
Will we dog walk pups for an hour in a group?
No, No and No. Anyone who is willing to take a puppy out for a 1-hour walk is doing so purely for profit and not the welfare of the puppy.
As a rule of thumb, a puppy should only be walked for 5 mins for every month of age. Quite simply a one hour walk is too much for growing bones, tissue, and muscles.
Socialisation in pups is critical from an early age, but use a daycare centre first (where they can be monitored and rested) or puppy home visit services until they are old enough to start a full-blown walk.
Can I visit your location?
You are more than welcome to come and visit our adventure field or come for a walk with us. See us in action, ask questions and see how your dog will be treated during their stay with us.
The only requirement we ask is that you visit the dog adventure field when we have finished for the day. This is because we have lots of excitable dogs running loose in the field and we need to control our noise/bark levels in consideration of the neighbours.
Do you post pictures for us to see?
Check out our Facebook page – search thedogbus
What type of dogs do you take?
What type of services do you provide?
Do you have facilities to wash dog in bad weather?
We have a shower in our barn to wash the dogs down. We do not provide a full wash/bathing facility nor guarantee to send your dog home spotless, but we will try our best to get rid of most of the dirt or smelly stuff they roll in.
Do you have cover in the case of bad or cold weather?
Learn more on our adventure page
Still need help?
For any other questions, please message us or call us on 07525 812187