Thursday, December 18, 2008

Training Rant - Dog Walkers?

I have read many things about dog walkers, and I often see many advertisements for them. I view them with mixed emotions.

On the one hand, they can be a valuable resource for the busy person. They will take your dogs and walk them daily for a fee. This may offer an outlet for extra energy as well as bathroom breaks to your dog. They will also likely have other dogs with them which may offer your dog some socialization on leash that it may otherwise be lacking.

On the other hand (I feel like Tevye from Fiddler On the Roof!), most dog walkers aren't trained in any formal program, they may not have the ability or resources to work with behavioural problems, and may not be bondable. There is no guarantee that your dog will be safe in the hands of a Dog Walker, and if your dog has a bad experience you may be in for more than you bargained for. What is your Dog Walker training your dog?

What do you think? Are dog walkers worth the gamble? Would you take the risk not knowing the other dogs that person is walking at the same time?

Personally, I wouldn't use one for fear that something may happen. (I'm a control freak, have you figured that out yet?) I find that long hikes on weekends (4+ hours or more - less in winter) will sufficiently tire most dogs out and regular walks/play time through the week uses energy and prevents boredom. I like to spend time with my dogs as I find it calming. Even taking your dog outside for some good one on one ball/retrieve time.

(Not to mention the question of, why would you have a dog if you don't want to spend time with it? Why not get a cat??)


GoLightly said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
GoLightly said...

A dear friend of mine is a dog-walker. She is sane-ish:)
Loves dogs, they love her. She isn't a trainer, but she has a way with animals.
My sister has used several since she got her dog. But, she's had to try out a few, to get to a good one. And she was very lucky, in a few situations. I thought about doggy-day-care for my puppy, when I first got her. But, I'm tooo much of a control freak too. I'm very lucky that I own my own business, and can take my dog to work. Early in puppy's days, I thought it might help with socialization to do the day-care thing. But, I just couldn't let her out of my sight. I found out later from a colleague, that she'd stopped using this very nice facility that I'd been considering. Her dog came home sick, every time.
It's way easier to work full time with a full-grown trained dog around. Puppy presented some unique challenges:) I continue to use RONA (big box hardware store:) as my socialization training room. I love my RONA. So does puppy!
I think there are a lot of animals that do benefit. I agree, how many could really own dogs, without walkers? Countless dogs are left alone for 10 hours a day sometimes. A walker is a sad necessity of our times. We can't all take our dogs to work with us. Cats are soooo much simpler. My friend does cat-visits too.
But some people just need a dog in their lives.
So do I.

Scritches to ears.
oops sorry, screwed up the first post:(

DogsDeserveFreedom said...

GoLightly - I think walkers are important in this day as people are simply so busy. You put it well when stating that not everyone can bring their dog to work with them. I know a few people who work in the city and crate their dogs in their cars through the day - taking them out multiple times at each break for a walk. That, however, does NOT work for most people. I am still on the fence on this though. There are points on both sides of this topic that are very good