Dog walking, for the most part, is a fabulous job, but there is a list of things every dog walker hates. These things seem to be consistent in each dog walking community. The community is small, and to pass the hours in the park we like to chat, and we looooooove to talk about the weird things that humans do. All of these things have happened to me more often than I care to count, and each time I cringe. Here are a few of them:
People barking at us
Yes, I said barking. You would be surprised how often this happens. My pack and I will be walking, minding our own business, and I’ll hear a human barking and howling at us like a dog. I’ve never understood what people are trying to accomplish with this. The dogs NEVER think that the human is a dog. They just stare, probably considering how strange that person is. I may smile when this happens, but internally I am reeling. I can’t tell if I’m being insulted for being a dog walker, or if you’re trying to distract my pack, or simply attempting to make your friends laugh. Whatever the reason, it’s uncomfortable and definitely not funny.
People asking to pet the dogs
Dog walking can be difficult, especially when there is more than 1 dog. The average dog walker can legally walk up to 6 dogs at a time. You can imagine how much focus it takes for one person to control a group of 6 dogs. The dog walker must keep her eyes open for tangling leashes, dogs that want to play, or fight, and must work to maintain a pace that suits all members of the pack. When you ask to pet the dogs it disrupts that hardcore focus, causing the dogs to become over-stimulated, and it takes a very long time for the walker to regain that calm within the group. Seeing a group of dogs walking down the street may seem cute to you, but please, for our sanity, admire from afar and don’t ask to pet the dogs.
White couches look beautiful, but they are a nightmare in a house with a dog. When we enter a house to pick up a dog, and we see white couches, we silently scream. Why people buy white couches when they have a dog is beyond my comprehension. Even the most well-trained dog will try to sneak up onto this prime napping spot when you are not home. When we take our dogs out on a walk we allow them to run around and play without worrying about how dirty they may, or may not, get. When we bring him back home we’ll do our best to clean him off, but we can’t guarantee that the second we leave he isn’t going to jump up on that couch. Before you get angry at us for allowing your dog to spoil your beautiful white couch, try putting a towel down on the cushions, instruct us to keep your dog in a separate section of the house or train your dog not to jump up on the couch.
Owners doing weird & uncomfortable things
In order for a dog walker to enter the home, we are typically given a set of keys. While there is a time frame that we are expected to arrive in, the exact time within that frame is not defined. Often times, the owner is home at the arrival time. As a dog walker, I have walked in on just about everything you can think of. Sleeping, meditation, domestic fights, sex, drugs, masturbation, you name it and I’ve probably seen it. While you’re more than welcome to do whatever you like in the safety of your home, it can become VERY uncomfortable VERY fast if we see something that you’d rather we didn’t. If you know that your dog walking is coming, try to engage in those private things AFTER we leave. It will save us all from future awkwardness.
Owner being angry about lateness
Anyone who has ever worked with dogs knows that they march to the beat of their own drum. A dog walker needs to keep a consistent pickup and drop off time, but the dogs typically like to operate on their own schedule. There is a myriad of things that can go wrong to make a dog walker late including, but not limited to, weather conditions, traffic, medical emergencies, clean up, water breaks, and stubborn dogs that don’t want to leave the park, and so on. Working with dogs means that you’ll almost definitely be late to anywhere that you are trying to go. If your dog walker is a little late, know that your dog is being taken care of, and please give the walker a little bit of slack.