Yesterday there was a story in the news that really caught my attention.
New guidelines have been released for Professional Dog Walkers.
You may not realise, but absolutely anyone can call themselves a dog walker or a dog trainer at the moment.
My husband who works for British Gas could start advertising as a dog trainer and could set up classes if he wanted to.
Thomas (aged 9) could start offering his services as a dog walker and start walking people’s dogs for them.
With no previous experience, no insurance, nothing.
And absolutely anyone DOES advertise their services as dog walkers and dog trainers.
I think when I set up 10 years ago there were 3 other dog walkers in Glossop and no other dog trainers. Now there are at least 3 dog trainers in the area that I know of and there must be at least dozen dog walkers in the area too.
Anyone can do this. Anyone can take your dog for a walk or train it.
They might not do a very good job, but anyone at all can do this.
This terrifies me.
When we picked training classes I watched several classes before I picked one I was happy with.
When we got a dog walker for Joey I remember worrying sick over who I could trust to take care of my precious boy. And luckily I found someone experienced, knowledgeable and just generally lovely.
But some dog walkers aren’t like this.
Some will lie about how long they have walked your dog for or where they have been and what they were doing.
Some will put your dogs into dangerous situations with traffic or unsuitable other dogs.
Some will use cruel and punishing training techniques.
Some will actually cause training and behaviour problems that would never have occurred otherwise and will cost you a fortune in expensive training to fix.
The bottom line is when you take on a dog walker or trainer, they need to be trustworthy, they need to really KNOW and UNDERSTAND dogs, and put what is best for your dog at the top of the list of their priorities.
And make sure you check for First Aid Training, Police Checks, references from other clients and ask them what training methods they use too and if they have had any training.
Don’t just trust your precious pooch with anyone! I certainly wouldn’t!