We’d love to spend all our time with our dogs, but sometimes life gets in the way – whether it’s work, holidays, hospital visits or urgent appointments we simply can’t miss. Sometimes we need to leave our canine companions for longer than we would like. What are the options?
- Leave Fido on his own? This can be ok for up to four hours, but what if they have separation anxiety? (we’ll cover that in another post!)
- Get a family member or friend to ‘pop in’ to check on him? That’s ok if they are checking water/food and giving a cuddle, but it will still leave Fido with lots of energy to burn off and boredom may still set in.
- Pop Fido in Day Care? Brilliant fun! A good solution, as it will help Fido with socialisation BUT it also gives Fido looser boundaries, resulting in a step back on commands, recall, general manners, loose lead walking and more. They are great, but in moderation and certainly not to be recommended every day!
So, what is the alternative?
A DOG WALKER!!
You might be thinking that cost is an issue. Dog walkers usually charge for a one hour walk. This should be for ONE WHOLE HOUR of walking, and doesn’t include pick up, clean up and drop off time so Fido can be out of the house for two hours or more. The question isn’t ‘can you afford to’, but rather ‘can you afford not to‘?!
There are many benefits to dog walkers – here are our Top Five.
Fido may be used to sleeping at home alone while you are at work, but it’s oh-so-boring for him. Dogs need regular exercise not only for a healthy body (Kennel Club statistics show that between 30-60% of dogs are overweight) but also a healthy mind. They need new smells, excitement and mental stimulation. Toys can give this but nothing beats the great outdoors and interaction with other dogs and humans.
You have worked so hard to get Fido used to other dogs, people and noise, but then you go off to work and the training takes a step back. Socialising your pooch is not a one-time deal, it needs constant positive reinforcement so that bad behaviours don’t creep in. Going to different places, with different canine companions, is an ideal way to keep up the good work!
You’ve worked on training. You’ve got commands, recall and good manners sorted. Or have you? Fido needs to practice, practice, practice. Even a good recall can be spoiled without regular reinforcement. Without boundaries and positive reinforcement, all the hard work you’ve put in on loose lead walking can come undone. With a dog walker, you have consistency of training in a fun environment Fido will love!
You’re working over lunch. It’s ok, it’s a one-off, you tell yourself. You get home, exhausted, and just want to snuggle up with yourFido in front of Netflix. No energy for a fun filled walk today. Then tomorrow is the same. Your dog walker gives you the opportunity for guilt free snuggles, safe in the knowledge that Fido has had oodles of exercise and fun that day!
Peace of mind
Your dog walker should be fully insured, CRB checked and ideally hold a Pet First Aid certificate. Do you know what Fido gets up to when you are away? With a dog walker you should get a report of every visit, possibly with photos or video so you can see just what Fido has been up to!
With time, your dog walker and Fido will form a bond and become a friend not just to Fido but to you too – someone you can rely on, someone to give Fido one to one attention, security, treats and belly rubs when you can’t.