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What it means to be a dog walker.......

Updated: May 5, 2023

Anyone can walk a dog, but to be a good dog walker it’s about building a bond with another soul, building trust, and understanding with an animal that you are there to protect, guide and have fun with. It’s completely different to any other relationship. Finding that level of communication and understanding can be difficult to obtain and different for each dog. I would say that some people do have a natural talent for it but mostly it’s down to patience and time. Having experiences with different breads and situations helps a lot, but every dog has its own unique personality and being able to understand them is down to spending time together and focusing your attention on them.

Once you have spent time and engaging with them enough to know their likes, dislikes and reactions, it makes your walks easier and more enjoyable for both the dog and you. They have more fun, and they learn to trust you to keep them safe and secure in any situation. It’s important to always take charge in a calm and relaxed manner and never fear any situation. This way they will always look to you as the alpha and follow your commands. It also allows them to completely relax knowing you are there as their protector.

Good communication with the dog’s owners will help your walks so much. Using the same commands and signals will help you all with the progress of the dog. It's important to practice various commands on a regular basis, not only to stimulate the dog, but also to maintain that strong bond that you have built up.

Keep walks interesting and fun by trying new parks and new toys/treats. Some walks are just for exploring and sniffing, others are for playing fetch, or practicing commands and learning new words/tricks. Some are about swimming and other forms of exercise; some walks are for socialising with people and animals or playing with new toys. Some days you may want to do more on the lead if they need help with lead training. There are so many different types of walks you can take them on, and I find it’s best to mix them up. This keeps it interesting and fun and gets them to engage with you on all sorts of levels.

Advice from the owners is important. As much as you might think you’re an expert, the owners have spent the most time with the dog and they’re in their family pack. Don’t dismiss anything they’ve advised, if there has been any issues in the past it’s likely it will happen at some point with you. How you handle the situation is down to their advice and how well you’ve got to know the dog. It’s ok if things haven’t always gone smoothly but it’s important that if something hasn’t worked you communicate to the owners explain what’s happened and ask how they would have dealt with it. Sometimes it’s just down to not using the correct command.

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