Thursday, 28 May 2009

The Shocking Truth about Exercise

Here is it, are you ready for it?

I don't exercise the dogs I walk.

There. I've said it. I've confessed. This dog walker does not exercise the dogs in her care.

So what do I do with them?

The dogs and I go on expeditions around Brentwood instead. I don't even 'lead' the expeditions. I guide the dogs around interesting places, and let them find out things for themselves, by sight, scent, sound and skin (ie touch, I do like my alliterations).

I don't cycle, I don't jog, and I don't force the dogs to keep moving. We walk briskly, but there is always time to stop if there's a particularly interesting smell somewhere.

We'll also stop for a few minutes if we see another regular walker with dogs. The scary truth is that dogs will meet other dogs through their lives, and although there are times when it's best not to let the dogs greet, seeing regular dogs on our travels is a good thing. The more dogs interact appropriately, the more they practise their communication skills. And practise makes perfect! Plus they get to learn that sometimes they just have to hang around for a few minutes while the grown-ups talk and they learn to do so politely, quietly and calmly, as they know the fun will start again very soon.

I'll also randomly drop treats, and send the dogs to find them where possible. Or ask for a sit or two. To begin with at the end of a walk, slowly moving towards being able to get calm behaviour as they leave the van ready for their walk, and eventually, to sit and focus on me in the presence of other dogs, humans, or other distractions.

Or we might do a bit of 'wild' agility, climbing over logs, ducking under low hanging branches, jumping over puddles, dragging the biggest branch in the world along with us for a few feet (the smaller the dog, the bigger the branch they want to bring on the expedition), or just zooooming around as fast as they can for a mad few minutes. I prefer that as a spectator sport...

The dogs really appreciate being taken outside to explore the world, especially when they have members of their own species to explore it with. Another dog might pick up the scent or sight of something not to be missed! Two sets of eyes, ears or noses are better than one!

The dogs are always keen to come with me, happy to be taken home at the end of the walk, and, according to the owners who are home, content to spend all afternoon sleeping off the energy burned!

'Exercise' happens while we're doing other things.

Tuesday, 26 May 2009

(Ab)Using the Local Media

When I got my domestic dog boarding licence in February, I was very proud to be the first dog walker in Brentwood to gain such a licence. Finally, a complete service for local dogs, a home from home with someone they know.

So excited was I that I sent a press release to a few local papers. Today a little piece, and a photo of myself, Fred, Scarlet and Max appeared.

If you want to read the article, click the image, it's large enough to read. I'm very pleased with it, although vanity says it would have been nice to look awake in the photo!

I have since found out there are plenty of dog walkers in the local area who take in boarders. They're just doing it unlicenced, and therefore illegally and potentially uninsured.

I'm still proud of my licence.

Saturday, 23 May 2009

Brentwood Dog Walker's Van

No question it's mine, or who I am or what I do. I have seen people noting down my number from the posters in the window, hopefully this will attract people from further away! Fred really stands out from a distance. Looks a bit mad close up now he's blown up. Think he's larger than life on the van!

Signs going on - first fitter, nice chap.

Last minute touches - different fitter, mmmm.. lovely. The signs that is...

And the back, my name, what I do, and where to get hold of me. Ideal for people sitting behind me in traffic to memorise my very easy URL - I'm in Brentwood, and I'm a dog walker - - what could be simpler than?

Many thanks to Morgan Signs for their attention to detail, and for fitting, removing, resizing and refitting the signs on the front, at no extra cost. Highly recommended!

Wednesday, 20 May 2009

Dog Walking - Choosing Compatible Groups

As more dogs come onto my service they get to enjoy the company of their own species. As a dog walker, it's a big responsibility to make sure I get the group dynamics right.

I have to very carefully match up the exercise requirements of each dog, decide what sort of stimulation and challenges they need and if I can meet those needs when they are together and make sure the dogs get on. This can lead to some very odd looking walking partners.

Who does this little pipsqueak think he is? I'll see him off!

Go on! Be off with you!

Oh oooh...

Help! Aunty Linda! Tell him!

When the dogs are having this much fun, size is irrelevant. The Great Dane is Scarlet, the Miniature Dachshund is Max. I think both look forward to their walks together as they are both really playful.

Linda provides a fantastic mix of love, discipline and training for our beloved dogs. We have noticed an improvement in their behaviour since she has been working with them, and can't recommend her highly enough if you are looking for a professional, caring and dedicated dog walker.
Lisa B, Great Danes,

Sunday, 17 May 2009

Dog Walking Video - Max Scarlet Fred

I've been so busy with paperwork because of the year end I haven't had time to update the blog.

I am working on this and hope to publish again soon, but in the meantime, here's a nice, pleasant video of a small group walk. Scarlet is the Great Dane, Max is the Miniature Daschshund and Fred is my small terrier. It may look rather dull if you don't know the dogs, but keep watching. It's not very long and the best bit is 11 seconds before the end...

I've had to link to it, because I can't make it upload to the blog. *bigsigh*

Sunday, 3 May 2009


If you have a puppy and are looking for a Puppy Package, I have NO weekly spaces available. I do have space on a Thursday and a Friday. These do go quickly, so if you need a puppy walker or sitter and are in Brentwood, Shenfield or Hutton please do let me know. My next weekly space is estimated to start between the middle and end of July 09.

For older dogs, I have one or possibly two weekly dog walking spaces open in the Brentwood station or High Street area within a group walk. I may be able to squeeze in a walk from another area depending on your requirements. I do not have any solo spaces available. Any earlier vacancies will be published via this blog.

If you are at home and need your dog walked for you, I have one space on a Monday and one on a Friday, if they can be walked in a group, at around 8am. I have group spaces every day from 4.30pm, solo spaces from 5.45pm. I do walk after dark where necessary, a reflective jacket is provided for your dog, but walks are limited to well-lit areas.

Cat sitting, rabbits, reptiles, rodents, places are available.

Home dog boarding - As I can only take in dogs from one family at a time, please contact me sooner rather than later to avoid disappointment.

I now have contacts with other dog walkers, so if you need something you don't see here, please contact me as I may be able to pass your details on to another walker in the area.

Home Dog Boarding in Brentwood - Inky

Inky is boarding here a short while this weekend. He's the lovely Beagle I walk three mornings a week with my two. I really look forward to walking with Inky because he's never any trouble and he's such a cutie!

He seems to really enjoy the garden. If he's not in it, he's watching it. If he's not doing either of those things - he's asleep!

Spot the Inky!

I have no idea why that keeps uploading sideways. It's perfectly the right way up on my computer. Er....

Crashed out last night - while still daylight!

Enjoying the early morning sunshine.