Calling all dog walkers, dog sitters and dog trainers…now is the time to say a big THANK YOU

 

When Covid hit in March 2020 business went into decline for many dog walkers, trainers and dog sitters. With families at home there was no requirement for their services and family members were often fighting to take their pets for a walk so they had the excuse they needed to get out and exercise without breaking Covid restrictions. It was tough for people in the profession as their work dried up and they lost all but a few of their loyal customers. Now the tide has turned and those in the dog caring professions are once more in demand.

 

According to a recent BBC report there has never been a better time to be in the dog care business as demand outstrips availability of quality providers.

 

The surge in demand has grown partly because of the huge number of new dog owners out there, whose lockdown puppies are now grown. There is however, an added problem as some long-established family pets are struggling to cope with separation anxiety now their owners are returning to work.

The number of dogs being bought or adopted has surged with reports estimating that the number of dog-owning households has risen from nine million in 2019/20 to 12.5 million in 2020/21. This growth is mirrored in the US too, taking their total to a staggering 108 million. This has resulted in a massive workload for dog care professionals who find themselves phenomenally busy. Dog behaviouralists and dog trainers who used to spend time and money advertising their services are often no longer engaging in social media or paid advertising as they are struggling to satisfy the demand; often fully booked with a long waiting list.

 

 

Some dog owning households are managing as flexible working patterns have been adopted. However, there is still uncertainty about whether flexible working is here to stay and this makes it difficult to know what the future holds.

 

Those who feel that their pets can adapt to new working patterns need to be mindful of findings from the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, which say that, generally speaking, canines need daily exercise in order to remain happy and healthy. They do not recommend leaving dogs alone for more than four hours at a time, and for some dogs, even this will be too long. Employing the services of professional dog walkers or sitters can be a lifeline and provide our dogs with the company and stimulation they need, especially if they have grown accustomed to being around their owners throughout the day. Until you can find a reputable walker or sitter, you might turn to other dog owning friends. A little mutual support can go a long way to helping you and your pet to adjust; ‘I’ll look after your dog on Tuesday if you’ll help out on Thursday’. And there are organisation such as Walk My Dog which are also invaluable as they put together volunteer walkers and people whose pets need exercise. A good quality, dog care professional* is a real find and worthy of our support, admiration, and thanks. Many dog care professionals actively promote the use of our Barking Bags with their clients but we also really value the help they have given us to train our own dogs, or more accurately, to train us, to be the best pet owners we can be. It is definitely time to say thank you!

 

Qualified trainers should advertise their membership to professional bodies and should be willing to show evidence of their professional qualifications. The APDT is a not-for-profit organisation established in 1995 to promote training skills that improve the welfare of dogs and the competence of dog owners.

 

* Assessed and Qualified Member of The Institute of Modern Dog Trainers can display the UK Dog Behaviour & Training Charter symbol on their website.

 

May 11, 2022 — Reece Hussain

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