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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi folks,

I'm just wondering if you walk a client's bitch if she's in heat? And if you don't, what do you do for that regular client?

I've just started today to walk Flo who is currently in heat (about 2 weeks into cycle) so I chose somewhere where I knew we wouldn't meet any dogs. Obviously, I'm very wary of walking her.

I have a disclaimer for 'dogs off lead'...should I make one up for 'bitches in heat' too??? As the owners are aware I group walk with her and know she's in heat but were happy with me to walk her out in public and off lead (I stress this-where I know there aren't any other dogs, its one of my regular walking routes and I've never met another dog on it).

So, what do you do? :confused:
 

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I wouldn't walk her whilst she is in heat - certainly not in a group and absolutely definitely not off lead. You may not think that you'll meet other dogs but is it worth the risk of an entire male getting her scent and suddenly appearing or her doing a bunk? Could you maybe go to her home and play games / provide mental stimulation etc rather than walk her?
 

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I've done it but it would be a brave dog that got within 10 feet of of mine when she's in season!! :rolleyes: .

But on a serious note in my experience group walks are great most of the time when they are going well but can be awful if they go wrong. Throw in a couple of randy dogs on a bad day and it could be disastrous.

I'm probably going to solo walk them outside of lunchtime hours in future.
 

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Recipe for disaster and possible claims against your Public Liability if things get out of hand in a group setting and dogs get hurt. Just wouldn't entertain it.
 

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I don't think it's fair to walk a bitch on heat unless it's sort of out of hours. A local person always took their bitch out like this, it used to drive other dog owners mad, one minute their dog is fine next instinct takes over,it's picked up the scent and is off like a missile, nothing can stop it. Imagine if a dog chased after the bitch onto the road!
 

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Where possible we do a home visit instead, ie go into the home and let the dog out and do a few games, but we do a shorter visit so we don't charge more. I'd never take a bitch in season out of their own property, when I looked after one in a flat I literally was outside on the lead long enough for a wee and then straight back in.

I really don't want to be responsible for a litter of unplanned pups! I know it's very unlikely, but it's not impossible and I don't want to know I've brought unwanted pups into the world, nor be responsible for all the bills!

I would consider myself negligent if I walked an in season bitch off the lead.
 
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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Where possible we do a home visit instead, ie go into the home and let the dog out and do a few games, but we do a shorter visit so we don't charge more. I'd never take a bitch in season out of their own property, when I looked after one in a flat I literally was outside on the lead long enough for a wee and then straight back in.

I really don't want to be responsible for a litter of unplanned pups! I know it's very unlikely, but it's not impossible and I don't want to know I've brought unwanted pups into the world, nor be responsible for all the bills!

I would consider myself negligent if I walked an in season bitch off the lead.
Thanks BoredomBusters. I'm going to suggest this until she's out of season. I would not like to be responsible for an unplanned litter either and don't think her owners would be best impressed with me. :001_smile:
 

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I have a disclaimer for 'dogs off lead'...should I make one up for 'bitches in heat' too??? As the owners are aware I group walk with her and know she's in heat but were happy with me to walk her out in public and off lead (I stress this-where I know there aren't any other dogs, its one of my regular walking routes and I've never met another dog on it).
I wouldn't rely on disclaimers to negate your responsibility. Even if the owner has signed a disclaimer, as an insurance company may still not cover you if they felt that you, as a professional, should have acted in a different way.
 

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I wouldn't rely on disclaimers to negate your responsibility. Even if the owner has signed a disclaimer, as an insurance company may still not cover you if they felt that you, as a professional, should have acted in a different way.
Absolutely - you have hit the nail on the head. The disclaimer is not worth the paper it is written on - the insurance contract is between the insurers and the dog walker and therefore the disclaimer is worthless as it does not have the backing of the insurer.
 

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I don't walk female dogs who are in season - simple as that. I've seen what can happen; a fellow dog owner brought his bitch to the park when she was in heat, and a huge and usually well behaved Rhodesian Ridgeback was determined to get to her. It was highly stessful for the bitch and really unfair on the owner of the intact male dog.

As for walking a bitch in season off lead and/or with other dogs - PLEASE tell us you are NOT doing this any more and will not do it again......!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! You cannot guarantee that you won't encounter other dogs and you cannot guarantee the bitch won't bolt.
 

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I don't walk female dogs who are in season - simple as that. I've seen what can happen; a fellow dog owner brought his bitch to the park when she was in heat, and a huge and usually well behaved Rhodesian Ridgeback was determined to get to her. It was highly stessful for the bitch and really unfair on the owner of the intact male dog.

As for walking a bitch in season off lead and/or with other dogs - PLEASE tell us you are NOT doing this any more and will not do it again......!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! You cannot guarantee that you won't encounter other dogs and you cannot guarantee the bitch won't bolt.
I'd swear that that was one of my many :mad: occasions where we have met bitches in heat if you lived near to me :eek:.
 
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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
I don't walk female dogs who are in season - simple as that. I've seen what can happen; a fellow dog owner brought his bitch to the park when she was in heat, and a huge and usually well behaved Rhodesian Ridgeback was determined to get to her. It was highly stessful for the bitch and really unfair on the owner of the intact male dog.

As for walking a bitch in season off lead and/or with other dogs - PLEASE tell us you are NOT doing this any more and will not do it again......!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! You cannot guarantee that you won't encounter other dogs and you cannot guarantee the bitch won't bolt.
I swear, I swear!!! Your absolutely right - too big a risk.:smile:
 

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Hello again Erinn.

Three (and a half) sides to this story I'm afraid, I'll try to be quick but its always a complicated issue.

1 - The owner.
From the owners point of view, its unfair on their dog to not be walked just because they are in season. Maybe responsible owners keep their dogs unspayed until they've finished their first season, and can you imagine the damage a mastiff or malamute could cause cooped up in a house all that time. The dog needs to be exercised somehow for its own good health.

2 - The dog walker.
Now I'm sure most walkers want the extra business, but you have to be honest and think about whether you can handle the sort of situation you'd be putting yourself into. If there's any doubt, there's no doubt.
I know a lot of walkers will pay no mind to a dog in season and just walk them a bit further off the footpath, but this is pretty irresponsible as it still gives other dogs access to the scent which can cause problems for...
2.5 - Other dog owners - Don't deserve to have their dogs going mad all of a sudden for no apparent reason.

3 - The Insurance company.
They have covered you for incidents where liability and responsibility lies on you, you need to check your documents and schedule of cover over to be sure, but they should still cover you when you take reasonable precautions. If in doubt, email them with the most basic facts and ask for a response by email (so its in writing).

So what are your options?
A - Refuse to walk the dog, and leave it up to the customer.
B - Offer an alternative service like playing with the dog in the owners home/own garden if they've got one.
C - Walk the dog, but follow (at minimum) these precautions:
# DO NOT go to a dog park, town field, or anywhere where dogs are known to be walked at that time of day.
# Do take her to a wide-open area with good sight lines in all directions.
# At all times keep the female on a controllable leash.
# Stay reasonable close to your vehicle so that if you do see an off lead dog approaching at any distance, you can put her away safely.
# Put some pants on the female dog, so that male dogs won't get her scent until they are very close.

You might have to charge extra for all these precautions, but if you're providing a good service its usually worth it.

In my own case, I don't have a blanket rule for dogs in season, its assessed on a case by case basis. My insurance company gave me the blanket phrase "Reasonable precautions to protect the best interests of the dog and its owner" in the email response so I have the option of walking them depending on whether I think they really need a proper long walk.

Hope that gives you some ideas Erinn.
Regards,
Ed
 

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Being in Aberdeen.. and also walking a in season bitch atm, well I certainly wouldn't let HER off the lead she's 2 weeks in atm, and today was the first time we have met an entire male, who was of course off the lead on the road. My solution.. pick her up (she's a 22kg BC/lab cross), I've been staying away from the parks and the beach, there's a whole world of unmadeup back allys around this area, and never a dog in sight. However that is my dog. the other two dogs I walk.. well one is due her first season any time now, and the other will be a few months after, since the elder has NO manners and pulls like a freight train, I don't think I will take her when she's in season, I couldn't pick her up (30kg+) and she's hard enough to hold as it is.
 
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