The Wrong Dog Walker
When looking for care for their dog, most owners assume that a group dog walk is the most fun and economical option. They envision their dog having a wonderful time with his canine companions, under the care and supervision of an experienced dog walker.
Sadly, this is often not the case. Lack of regulation means anyone can set themselves up as a dog walker. Some, who have never even owned or walked a dog before, feel that they are experts simply because they have watched a few television shows on dog training and behaviour. Others charge low fees to attract clients, walking huge groups and paying no attention to the compatibility of the dogs in the group, or whether they are coping or happy. This can lead to:
- Lack of care and individual attention for each dog.
- Dogs being dangerously out of control, causing injury to themselves or others.
- Introvert dogs being bullied by assertive, larger or more playful dogs.
- Extrovert or aggressive dogs practicing bullying behaviours on others.
- Constant squabbles, stand-offs and stressful walks for all of the dogs and the walker.
This in turn, can lead to dogs refusing to recall to their walker and eventually their owner; learning to use more aggressive behaviours to get what they want; or becoming increasingly fearful of other dogs or people, leading to depression, mood changes and aggression.
Also, despite not having the qualifications in the complicated science of canine behaviour, many dog walkers feel they have the experience to address these new behaviour issues, using tactics such as the ‘alpha roll’, lead jerks, shouting and smacking the dog, often worsening the problem, as well as creating new ones. They do not realise that the very reason for the behaviour issue is the poor execution of the walk itself. Owners are often clueless that these things are happening to their poor dog, only noticing as their beloved pet begins to act out of character and seemingly without reason.
Many of our dog owners have specifically engaged our walking services because they have tried other, cheaper and more inexperienced dog walkers before, and have unfortunately experienced the consequences - you can read more about their experiences with us here.
At ForPaws we make it our mission to ensure that our dog walkers are fully trained in the relevant aspects of dog training and behaviour. They are not behaviourists and they do not claim to fix behaviour problems on walks, because this cannot be done safely, whilst also paying due care and attention to other dogs also on the walk. But our walkers do know how to safely and calmly handle dogs in a force-free, loving and kind way and to manage and pro-actively prevent issues they encounter on walks.
Dogs are allocated into our walks based on their temperament, age and the types of dogs they get on with. In accordance with our Purpose Statement and Guiding Principles we always act in the best interests of the pets in our care. Our dog walkers have all agreed to abide by our strict code of ethics which governs their handling of the dogs in their care, their interactions with clients and anyone else they encounter on their walks!
Don't just take our word for it though! If you'd like to see what our walks are like before you sign up, please get in touch! We will be happy for you to join us on a walk and see how we manage and run our walks with our doggy companions!