Many more people have welcomed a dog into their heart and home in the last two years. With dog ownership there is often an increased need for care and training providers. As it is an unregulated profession and anyone can set a business like this up, below is some information on things to consider.
Things to ask dog walkers and day cares:
What do you do if my dog is offering undesirable behaviour?
If the person mentions anything to do with adding aversive behaviour such as shouting, using spray collars, using water, or yanking on a lead to make the behaviour stop then it’s highly advised not to work with this person. Adding punishment can lead to a dog that is unpredictable, aggressive and scared. They should instead be asking about certain situations that can trigger this behaviour and what steps they can suggest to minimise this and also how to redirect behaviour. For example, for a dog who becomes over excited and overstimulated at home, running round with dogs for one hour is likely to intensify this behaviour because they are over aroused. It will also increase their stamina meaning they will need the same level of exercise. A lot of people would like a dog that is calm and can switch off and not busy and looking for attention all of the time.
Here is a ‘to ask’ checklist:
- Ask about insurance.
- If they’re first aid trained.
- What knowledge they have on dog body language.
- How they travel in the car and if they’re appropriately secured (if using a seat belt this always needs to be attached to the dog’s harness not collar in the event they had to break).
- How many dogs are there per handler. It takes a very skilled person to handle 10 dogs at once!
- Where can the dog go to get away from it all and simply just sleep when they are at day care.
- What questions have they asked you? Do they have your pet’s vet details for example.
Things to be mindful of if you use a day care/group dog walker:
Puppy play should be balanced and puppies should take it in turns to chase and spar with each other. Free for all, unregulated puppy play can be detrimental to a puppies emotional development as puppies have different temperaments and physically can be different sizes. Not all puppies wish to play with other dogs and this should be recognised and respected. As mentioned above,puppies need to sleep (as do all dogs) and they need a quiet space to do this.
Considering using a company who walks 3 dogs at a time or a solo dog walking company may be a better idea for your dog.