Commercial Dog Walking Services – What’s Missing?
So you’re using a commercial dog walking service. That’s great, right? One thing that dog walking services get right is giving the owner the ability to schedule a walk for their dog at any time. This alleviates misery in those inevitable times when the dog would otherwise be neglected (Dad’s in a meeting), sad (no one home all day today), and generally waiting for someone to come by and give it love and attention. And that'sthe very thing that's missing.
With a dog walking service, random people (given, background-checked random people) are coming by your house to give your dog a walk. But here is how that goes: the dog is at one end of the leash; the walker is at the other end of the leash. There's nothing going on in between.
Besides food, to stay happy and well-adjusted, dogs need three things: rest, romp, relationship. The rest part comes easy! Every dog I have ever met is an excellent napper. The romp factor comes easy as well if you have small children who play with the dog, if you’re a runner, or if someone in the family likes to walk. A lot. The piece that is missing with a dog walking service is relationship. Because your dog meets a different person every time, no connection, appreciation, or affection occurs between the dog and the walker. For the dog, the walker is a commodity. There is no one known and beloved by the dog at the other end of that leash. To the walker, the dog is also a commodity. No dog I know at the other end of this leash.
This is why using a single pet sitter or dog walker consistently is important. Your designated walker comes to know and love your dog. He or she can onboard certain trainings that you’ve been working on into the dog’s exercise routine. In short, a relationship forms between the dog, the family, and the walker. Given that dog walkers and pet sitters work around dogs because they love them, the chances of a good relationship forming are very high—but any relationship needs consistency, repeated contact, and time.
In summary, give your dog what he really needs: food, rest, romp, and relationship. Use the same dog walker every time.