This has been an idyllic year to start a dog-walking business.
Winter was mild (albeit rainy) but now… Oh my goodness! I am grateful everyday. Watching the trees turn green has always been one of my favorite activities. I have also had the pleasure of meeting several new clients! Their exuberance and enthusiasm for the season is catching 🙂
Some changes: Rover Ramble is no longer doing Pet Sitting except for dog-walking clients. Sitting is still home-visit style.
I have started working with a wonderful young man named Joe Stone. He is taking on some of the in-town clientele and we are expanding the business!
Our rate structure is changing. The rates page will be back up ASAP, but until then, please contact us directly to ask for quotes, references, and availability in your area.
Thanks for all your support! Go out and enjoy the sunshine with your favorite puppy!
Never having had the privilege of owning a short-haired or small and easily frozen dog, I have not really experienced the glory of canine winter gear. The terrible weather today gave me the chance to suit up several local pups in their fine regalia…
Josie poppin’ the collar
Elle in profile
And pause at the end of the catwalk
The fun collars make me think of French models and Vampire countesses (perhaps they are the same thing?). Other amazing couture included a neoprene suit for a dachshund-chihuahua mix, and his buddy had the latest fleece lined thing from Columbia sportswear.
Just remember, whatever indignity you are subjecting your pet to this winter, stay warm and dry and wash the salt off those feet whenever you get back in from a walk!
Stay classy Cincinnati!
I gave some advice to one of my clientele yesterday, and I thought I’d put it up here for y’all too. Walking more than one dog at a time can be a challenge, but it is certainly a rewarding one. Walking both of your dogs simultaneously has several advantages:
–Neither dog will be jealous about being left at home. It also builds their friendship via sniffing at the same things, etc.
–You don’t get bored or lose interest walking the same route twice.
–Both animals get more exercise because you can take longer walks.
I do find that it is difficult sometimes to train together, because the “good” one gets ignored while you are attempting to catch the “bad” one’s attention. Make sure you take time give your “good” dog the praise they deserve, or they might decide being good isn’t worth it anymore.
So, you ready?
Take it step by step!
1. Wait until your day off. Make sure you leave at least an hour open… part of getting frustrated is feeling rushed, and your dogs are already trying to rush you, so make sure you aren’t rushing yourself 🙂
2. Have them sit/calm down before you put on the collar/harness/lead. Don’t get upset… just wait for them. If you stand there long enough they will settle down. (See what I mean about the hour? Take your time.) Next time they will calm down much faster.
3. Prepare the non-dominant dog for walking first. If you have two or more dogs, chances are there is a hierarchy, and you know who is in charge. Saddle up the beta-dog so that he and the alpha are both waiting for you to saddle up the alpha before they bolt out the door.
4. Don’t take anything with you. Well, maybe your phone, but try not to answer it. Don’t take any treats. Nothing to distract them the first several times. If you are still training them to heel you can take treats later after they get used to it. Smart dogs who aren’t used to discipline might start flipping out as soon as your hands go for those pockets, and then they get tangled up in knots!
5. After you have them leashed, make them sit before you open the door, and you go out the door first (you are the real alpha, and the Alpha Dog always goes first). Then let them come out and have them sit again while you lock the door.
6. Don’t let them get up before you yourself are ready to go. Have them keep sitting until they will stay without getting up, and then give a command, like “okay, let’s go!” and move forward. Once again, the first time this might take a while, so just be patient and firm.
7. It’s okay to use both hands. This will cut down on tangles and switching positions until they are used to it, then you can hold both leads in one hand. Keeping some distance between them is good until they learn to walk together.
8. If you have pullers, lean into the walk, use your weight as leverage against the pulling. If this doesn’t slow your team of oxen down within a reasonable time (give it 20 seconds), stop. Keep trying again and stopping until they get the idea that if they pull hard they won’t go anywhere. If they are excited about something have them sit and calm down. If you have pullers, I would suggest an easy-walk harness. The leash buckles in front of the chest and inhibits the motion of the shoulder if they pull too hard. So they can’t pull hard. Also, if they pull too hard they end up looking back at you. But they are still super-comfortable. It is ingenious.
And now: THE MOST IMPORTANT RULE
9. Common courtesy: Whenever you see one dog stop to sniff something or to pee or whatever, stop the other dog. This will keep them from pulling you in two, and it also heightens their consideration. They might act oblivious to each other at first, and get tangled in one another’s leashes, etc. But keep at it, and in no time at all they will find all kinds of common interests. If somebody stops to sniff, the other dog won’t be able to resist checking it out too. Stopping your dogs makes them pay attention and generates some common ground. I know it sounds weird, but I think that encouraging their camaraderie in small ways will also help them work together in their relationship at home, especially if there are some jealousy issues.
10. Make them stop for you sometimes too! You can take breaks, just have them stop while you tie your shoe, or have them sit first (even better). If you have to stop to scoop, make them both sit while you do it. Be patient and firm. I know that having an excited youngster is great, but for a fulfilling, long term relationship with your dogs you should cultivate a calm walk, and this means making them sit down every time you need them to chill.
11. Give your dogs something epic to do: I always find the largest hill in the area, and go straight up it, first thing on the walk. This is great exercise for you and your dogs. It burns their energy and gives them something to focus on (especially if they are pullers, they pull you all the way up!). This takes the edge off of their single-mindedness at the beginning of the walk, so that they reach that sort of curious, ambling phase sooner… where its not just go-go-go all the time.
12. Always reward them with praise or pats for being good, and being CALM. CALM is the most important thing you want to cultivate on a walk, for your own sanity 🙂 If they act dumb, tell them no, but also keep your cool. And if they act rowdy, have them sit and stay until they calm down. Don’t let them acting dumb or rowdy disturb your calm. Just know that you can turn around at any time and go back home.
Good luck! Walking both your dogs at once should be rewarding for them and for you… it may take some practice, but you should be having fun within a couple of weeks of daily attempts 🙂
Everyday should be cat day though. Meow! Below are Misha and Stewie, a couple of my fluffiest charges this week in the world of pet sitting.
Stay dry Cincinnati!