How long is a walk/how much off leash time does my dog get?
We have two walks a day, each one tailored to the needs of different dogs. The afternoon walk is 1.5 hours of leash-free time in a safe place – either mountain forest or river dykelands. Once removed from the vehicle, they are off leash for the entire 1.5 hours (unless someone needs a reminder about their recall!) until put back in the van for the ride home. The morning walk is between 1 hour and 1.5 hours, depending on the dogs in the group that day. This walk is less strenuous and an easier-to navigate terrain, but is still full of lots of fun places to explore. If the group is largely dominated by older or less active dogs, an hour may be sufficient, but if they all seem to be keeping up and having fun, it’s more likely to stretch out to 1.5 hours 🙂
We switch up the locations and routes frequently to ensure new adventures mean your dog doesn’t become complacent or bored. New environments are always more mentally stimulating for a dog! But our routes are also fully mapped out and explored in advance to ensure they are suitable for your dog and safe for everyone.
How do I know which walk is the best one for my dog?
If your dog gets a walk in the morning before you leave for work etc., he might be happiest having an afternoon walk once he’s napped off his morning outing and his breakfast. Conversely, if your schedule doesn’t allow for a morning walk but you enjoy an evening stroll after work as a stress-reliever, he might benefit most from the morning walk, so he can rest quietly until you return home. You know your dog best, but we are happy to help you come to a decision about the best choice for both of you.
My dog isn’t good with other dogs, or with strangers – can he still come for a walk with you?
Unfortunately no – our group outings are designed for sociable canines who enjoy spending time with other dogs. It is important that the group get along and not create conflict, so we are unable to accommodate unsociable or aggressive dogs. We do sometimes have free mornings or afternoons where an individual walk could be accommodated (depending on the schedule) though individual walks are more expensive than group outings. Please feel free to contact us for more information or to see if we can fit you in.
It is important that you are honest about your dog’s sociability before sending him out on a walk with us. While we know that sometimes conflicts happen among dogs, just like they do with people, if your dog injures another client’s dog because it has a known history of or a tendency toward aggression, you may be liable for all costs associated with those injuries.
My dog’s recall isn’t very good or he likes to play keep away. Is that a problem?
In most cases, the short answer is – yes. Since we are walking a group of dogs off leash in wilderness environments, it is important for your dog’s safety – and the safety of all the other dogs – that your dog has a decent recall and knows to come back when called. In some instances, a dog on a long line (a 50 foot long neoprene leash) could join us. This way he still gets a lot of freedom, but if he has a poor or non-existent recall, he can’t be totally leash-free. It’s important that you are honest about your dog’s obedience so that everyone can play safely.
My schedule is very unpredictable, so my dog might need a walk last minute. Can you help?
Our walks and pick-up/drop-off routes are designed to minimize travel time and maximize fun time! That’s why we prefer bookings in advance. However, we will do our best to accommodate your specific needs, though you should keep in mind that sometimes it will simply not be possible to fit your dog in; we allow a maximum of 6 client dogs on any walk to ensure the walker can provide everyone individual attention, so if the outing is fully booked, we may not be able to fit you in. But please do contact us to see if we can make arrangements (unscheduled / drop in walks are more expensive than pre-bookings).
What sort of training do you offer?
The short answer is … NONE! The Walking Dog is a leash-free adventure service, not a training service. However, we believe in force-free / positive reinforcement training whenever possible. That means your dog will NEVER be subjected to harsh training methods, training collars or verbal or physical punishment. They will however receive lots of food rewards and praise!
My dog has special dietary considerations. Can you accommodate those?
Absolutely. The Walking Dog offers grain-free home made treats, but if your dog has allergies or a specific nutritional concern, we will be sure to reward them with appropriate treats.
Are you insured?
We are absolutely insured. We carry liability insurance in the amount of $2M for your peace of mind, and ours!
What about the keys to my home?
Keys are kept in a secure lockbox in a private residence, not in the vehicle, unless you are scheduled for a walk that day, and those keys are kept on the walker’s person at all times. The keys are coded to a list that is password protected and encrypted and never online, so nobody will ever be able to identify your address by the key itself.
What vaccines do you require?
We know everyone has different views on the efficacy and duration/safety of particular vaccines, so we do not require that your dog have specific vaccinations. However, if your dog is new to you – especially if it is a rescue from out of area – we will want see proof that the dog is up to date on basic vaccinations, for the safety of everyone in the group.