Walks n All - Dog walking and home boarding

Recent Posts

Is there any harm in trying to do good?
When boring is good
Yellow Dog - will it work?
A Day in the Life...
Some people just don't learn


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Is there any harm in trying to do good?

A very famous scientist once wrote that "for every action there is an opposite reaction" - apoogies to Sir Isaac Newton for paraphrasing! Now it might seem odd that I choose to open my latest blog with such a statement but from my observations recently this applies equally to people and their treatment of or actions towards dogs.

I never seem to get used to the fear that some children have towards dogs and I wonder where it comes from. Unless some unfortunate child has been either harrassed or bitten by a dog then I fail to see why their mere presence can generate such fear.

When boring is good

I have been walking two reactive dogs - German Shepherds - for some weeks now and although progress has been slow and steady there is definite improvement in both of them. The first time I walked them together was the silliest I have ever felt trying to exercise animals - all hope of dignity is lost when all yo can do is hold on tight and hope they get tired before you do!

We now enjoy walks in far more calm and casual way - albeit they are for now exercised separately. However, as I have been pounding the streets and fields of their neighbourhood a thought has occurred to me which might help other who are battling with similarly reactive dogs.

Yellow Dog - will it work?

For some time now there has been a website that has been championing the use of highly visible Yellow materials (Yellow Dog UK) for dogs that are nervous, ill or difficult with other dogs. There is definitely a burning need for some sort of universally recognised symbol so that other dog owners, children and adults know whether it is safe and/or acceptable to approach another dog.  I feel so strongly about this cause that I recently sponsored the site for a year together with plenty of other like-minded businesses and dog organisations.

A Day in the Life...

It could have been any day really but I wanted to share my experiences today (03 April 2013) as the day in the life of a dog walker/sitter.

The day starts relatively early, the first dog arrives at 7.50 - it's an 11 week old pup and today is his first day with us. We have been out and bought new toys to try and break him in gently - he was not picked up until 5.30 pm so it's a very long day to be in strange surroundings for one so young.

Take out our dog, Morgan and one of the overnight boarders - it's freezing and I forgot to put on that extra layer - make the walk a fast one!

Some people just don't learn

It is perhaps a bug-bear of mine that dogs should be properly exercise - both physically and mentally - to ensure they stay in the best possible health. and while I know that it can be difficult in people's busy lives to find the time to commit to exercising our dogs it is my firm conviction that if you cannot make the time then perhaps you shouldn't have the dog at all! 
Of course not all dogs need vast amounts of walking some, and surprisingly I include Greyhounds and Whippets in this category, can get by with 20 minutes twice a day - barely the amount of time it takes to make a drink a cup of coffee.

Flattered or embarrassed?

When owners come to collect their beloved dogs there is generally an air of unconstrained excitement on behalf of both parties - and this is the natural order of things because no matter how much we love them while they are with us the dogs must be bonded more strongly to  their family. However, there have been several occasions when this reunion has not played out the way we all expected...

We have had a young dog (no name or breed to protect the family) visiting us almost since we started business and his behaviour has been the subject of previous posts.

Once bitten...

I suppose the greatest challenge to all dog owners and carers is how best to integrate your dog with others while keeping them all happy and safe. Usually when out walking it is pretty easy to spot the body language of approaching dogs and therefore the decision on whether to call your dog(s) back is straightforward. However, as a licenced home boarder I have learned that one of the essential qualities is having eyes in the back, front and side of my head!

Two recent examples prove the point. I recognise that older, more mature dogs generally lose patience with puppies or adolescent dogs relatively quickly and so we tend to limit direct exposure to ensure there is no upset. But sometimes the speed at which incidents happen can catch out even the most hawkish of observers. Sitting at my desk working through invoices etc I quickly acquire company of several dogs - I never did understand why they appear to like to congregate by my feet! My daughter enters the room with 14 week puppy in tow. When still some distance away one of the Springers "sprung" directly at the puppy and bit him on the muzzle. To this day I have no clue what prompted him to attack - there was no immediate threat; the puppy was feet away at the time. Is there such a thing in the canine world as "getting one in first"?The second example - same protagonist - happened days later. A smaller springer was walking through the lounge when the larger Springer lunged and bit her under the eye. Again, no threat display and for the life of me I am at a loss to explain the incident. What is perhaps even stranger though was that there was never a repeat of the attack, nor growling at the other dog's approach. So maybe that is it -on bad days some dogs bite without warning, without provocation or justification -it just happens...  

Indifference or Neglect?

The amount of dog walking I (and Greer) am doing daily has grown exponentially since Xmas. That means of course that not only are we interacting with an increasing number of dogs but we also are seeing a great deal more of the countryside and hence coming into contact with more strange incidents. Take yesterday for example. I was walking with Lily, a most boisterous but lovely Labradoodle. We had reached the limit of our walk and had turned to return home. On the way back we passed two farms (one of which has fantastic dogs who run around the yard but never come further than the gate even though it is fully open) and one where I heard a dog barking in the distance.

Where's the "off" switch

Since starting this business it has been my immense pleasure to meet and care for a large range of dogs. But undoubtedly those that come from families where there are young children at home almost always come with real issues.  One of my very first "charges" was a very young puppy when he first came to stay and while he was a little frisky this was nothing unusual for his age. However, as he has returned to me on several occasions since it is clear that his behaviour is getting more and more frantic.

Cornucopia of breeds

As the business grows and more and more people are hearing about and using the services I am increasingly fascinated by the number of classic and new breeds of dogs that we are catering for. In my youth, admittedly a distant memory now, people had Labradors and Spaniels and Alsatians and the occasional Jack Russell and Poodle; today it's as though every conceivable (?!) mixture of dog is available for ownership. My first charge was a Labradoodle (Labrador x Poodle), I also have the delight in caring for 2 Cockerpoos, a Cavapoo and a Whipoo (Whippet x Poodle) - although I am not sure that the match was as a result a some mad designer.
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