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concerned about clients dog

Discussion in 'Dog Chat' started by BananaBassett, Nov 6, 2012.


  1. BananaBassett

    BananaBassett PetForums Senior

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    sigh. not sure where to begin here.
    recently i started a walking and day care business.
    i'm slowly begining to think i am perhaps not cut out for it.
    i have a particular client with a 12 month old boxer who is bonkers. he's such a sweet dog and we often enjoyed lovely cuddles and baked doggy treats together when he was attending day care. however she has recently cut down his visits to once or twice a week and just a walk due to financial reasons.
    this dog is a nightmare in her house and chews everything / knocks people over etc. Because of this they cage him the majority of the time as they cannot manage him. It's due to lack of exercise and stimulation i am sure as when he stays with me he is so well behaved, and flops out most of the day after a good long run. he is a nightmare to walk when she hasn't called me for a while because he is full of so much energy, and tries to drag me everywhere. i only let him off when i am in an area i know there are no other dogs, as , if he sees another dog he is off like a rocket and his recall is often near to non existant. he is uninterested in chews or toys, he just wants to run. however, once hes been with me a few days he gets better and better. she had me in every day one week and he seemed a different dog.
    he does not come to recall anymore - i had got him to the point where he would come back and sit for a reward / praise, then i would send him off. i know that they let him off and only call him back in a desperate situation (wont leave another dog / knocked an old lady over) to be put back on lead. he knows this, and obviously will not return. i have voiced gently that this needs to be practised with not just me but them too or its useless. i have suggested training as they have said he is getting more disobediant in the home. but mostly he just NEEDS exercise, and stimulation. my real concern was that i last saw him on thursday. i returned again today to take him for a walk, and he looked different. you know when you just notice a difference but cant place your finger on it. well i am someone that without realising it seems to drink in every aspect of the dogs i have in my care, and i noticed it. he had lost a lot of weight. in a matter of days. his face was angular, his hips were more prominent. his waist was small. why has he dropped like this in a matter of days?? i know dogs go through a gangly teenage phase sometimes... is this it? it seems so sudden and drastic. they said he has been wormed and seemed to disagree that there was a problem.
    i dont know what to do anymore. i dont know if i should drop this dog as he is causing me a lot of stress, or if i should persist with people who are not listening to me. i dont want to give up on him - i gained him a month ago as the last walker left , now i feel i know why. he is hard work, i do not mind that, but i feel as though i am battling to train him when i am just the walker, and i am constantly trying to guide them and they just dont want to know. his creases were bleeding and they never clean them. i bathed them whilst he was in day care but again, is this my duty ? and now she doesnt have him in day care what can i do.
    im sorry this thread is hickledepickledy but i have so many worries and stresses over this one dog and customer that i cant find an answer to.
    some people have told me to leave him and that i mustnt feel sorry for the dog as it will ruin my business, but i dont want to just leave the dog to cope and get on with it if there is something i can do??

    what would you do? what am i supposed to do? i feel like i care and worry too much for my own good. i am dog mad and will always put them first and it makes me angry and sad that some would just walk the dog collect the cash and leave. i cant do that
     
  2. Owned By A Yellow Lab

    Owned By A Yellow Lab PetForums VIP

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    The brutal reality for those of us that do this work is: sometimes we will HATE how our clients treat their dogs but we will be powerless to change things.

    It is very aggravating but I think really all you can do is work with the dog when you have him, and be sure to praise him to the skies to the owners and try and get across that he is FAB *when* he is exercised and trained properly!

    It may even be that they decide to rehome him at some point - at least if you are still sometimes walking him etc you would hear about this, hopefully, and might be able to help.... Just a thought.
     
  3. Phoolf

    Phoolf PetForums VIP

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    It sounds like they have their hands full and he is a full on teenager. Perhaps they didn't research the breed too much? As for his weight loss I would just keep your eye on it, I know some pretty slim boxers and they are not mistreated or underfed, that's just how their bodies are and like you say at 12 months he may be having a gangly phase. I don't think it's your job to train though, and if he's pulling do you use a head collar at all? My daycare states they will use a headcollar on dogs who are pulling too much.
     
  4. WeedySeaDragon

    WeedySeaDragon PetForums VIP

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    Unfortunately OBAYL has hit the nail on the head. Unless they are truly mistreating the dog there's very little you can do other than, as has been suggested, really sing his praises and hope they catch on.

    With regards to his weight I'd just keep an eye on it for now. Our whippet could go from looking perfect to looking like a welfare case seemingly overnight when he was growing so it is plausible it could just be that. As boxers are another fairly slim and athletic breed it's likely to be a bit more obvious that it would be on something naturally chunkier.
     
  5. smokeybear

    smokeybear PetForums VIP

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    At the end of the day you are a dog walker, not a trainer, and you are not being paid to train their dog and if you were, do you have the relevant skills, knowledge, ability, training and experience?

    If not then you may get yourself (and the dog) into trouble.

    Do you not have enough clients to enable you to drop this one?

    When you run a business, you have to run it in a business like way, you cannot afford to be sentimental otherwise you end up NOT running a thriving business.

    When you look after animals you have to remind yourself that not everybody will agree with your outlook, you can spend your life being constantly frustrated which will eventually spill over to everything, or acceptance.

    If the animal welfare act is being abided by, there is nothing you can do.
     
  6. BananaBassett

    BananaBassett PetForums Senior

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    He is owned by a teen, who lives with grandparents due to difficult family situations. I wouldn't say abused but lack of interest, knowledge and even the fact that they have been saddled with the dog are a factor.

    You are all right that it is something I'll have to deal with in this profession, and I need to toughen up. Sadly I wear my heart on my sleeve and am very sensitive over animals - I love them in an instant and maybe due to this I am in the wrong profession lol!!

    I will keep an eye on the weight I was very surprised with it today and it upset me but I am aware that it could be due to his age as one of the things to cause it.

    I have previously used a head collar on him to which he was much better as I had more control from his head. However due to his facial creases being so sore I was very concerned about irritating It more.

    Edit:
    I am not "training" the dog, nor charging for the dog to be trained - I am however trying to encourage manners while walking to make my life easier walking him. I do not have a lot of clients - I am a new business, but I have however asked your opinion on dropping the particular client as I do not want it to reflect badly on my business itself - i am not clinging to this customer for financial reasons, i was trying to hold on because, perhaps, my heart is ruling my head. You are right that I need more of a business head to succeed and thrive, but I do not like to think I am stopping at the first hurdle if others could suggest something else. I think I may have to have a serious thought about this client.
     
    #6 BananaBassett, Nov 6, 2012
    Last edited: Nov 6, 2012
  7. erinn

    erinn Guest

    Hi BananaBassett,

    I know exactly what you're going through so I can truly empathize.

    If you've been following my recent threads on a DA staff, you'll see why!!

    It's up to you what you want to do, people will say walk away/be persistent - go with what you're gut is telling you. If you really think you can stick by him and make a difference, go for it. If you think you're advice is falling on deaf ears and it's upsetting you to the point it's consuming you, perhaps it's time to walk away. Only you will know what you should do.

    On my recent thread I explained how I raised my concerns with the owners of this staff and they've recently been in touch to say they are seeing a behaviorist next week. Excellent result for this dog and I was happy because I helped achieve this. Yes, we're dog walkers and there to walk dogs not train them but as I'm slowly realizing, sometimes it's the owners that need trained.

    Why do you think you're not cut out for it? Is it because of this one dog? If so, stop being so hard on yourself.;)

    Have you had these chats with them in passing or sat down with them over a cuppa?
     
  8. erinn

    erinn Guest

    The word 'training' gets some peoples backs up on here - I 'train' whilst I'm walking also and agree with BB - it's to make my life easier when I'm walking a particular dog that needs it and also under instructions from the owner who would like me to continue and reinforce the 'training' programme their dog is on.:)
     
  9. Owned By A Yellow Lab

    Owned By A Yellow Lab PetForums VIP

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    HEY ERINN that's fab news re your clients - well done!!! :D
     
  10. erinn

    erinn Guest

    Thanks!:D

    Cannot tell you how happy I was to hear they were following my advice - the wife was listening after all!! They did some research on the web and found a few behaviorists, one of whom was charging £145 :eek::eek:- I sent them a link to APDT and they booked an appointment with one on there who only charges £65. So they were definitely chuffed! :D
     
  11. BananaBassett

    BananaBassett PetForums Senior

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    Hi Erinn,

    Thanks so much, it's nice to hear from someone who has been in a similar boat, I haven't followed the threads as I am bit of a come and go on a blip poster, but will look for them to see your story and others reactions.

    It is currently consuming me a bit, and I posted here as I am a born worrier and didnt know if it was me being just that, or something I should be doing something about. It does sadden me that it is a bit of a "crack on and get on with it" situation, I find it truly heartbreaking as I care for the dogs how I would like and expect my own to be treated and I tend to do more than I should simply for the dogs benefit. That's why I wonder if I'm cut out to do it. I left a job I adored because the manager was not always the kindest to the dogs and feel like I am in that situation yet again - by myself! I know not all dog owners are all consumed by a mad love of dogs and am slowly learning that a fair few of my clients have a dog walker because of that.... They are just their pets. I am someone who chose jobs I could have my dog with me, and when there were none, I created my own work. I do need to toughen up, sure, but I am definitely not someone who can turn my back completely. I have reccomended that this dog attends some training with the owners, and did intend to continue with him and see if this happens. However as it is effecting me, I may have to let him go. I do not want to be the dog walker that has all the clients nobody else wants! Thank you again for your kind words and advice x
     
  12. Beth17

    Beth17 PetForums VIP

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    What a difficult situation you are in. :(

    With regards to his weight Boxers are well known for being gangly things, Oscar didn't fill out until he was around 2 1/2 so it is possible he is just having a phase and really all you can do is keep an eye on it.

    I've added a picture of Oscar at about a year old which shows how skinny he looks.

    It's lovely to know you care so much as if I were ever to need a dog walker I'd want them to care as much as you obviously do :)
     

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  13. erinn

    erinn Guest

    I'm exactly the same, I only started my business a couple of months back and have found myself getting emotionally attached to the dogs. It's difficult not to.;)

    If you feel strongly about this dog, pour that energy into annoying the hell out of owners - leave lists of training classes, behaviorists that you recommend, what 'unacceptable behavior' the boxer did today etc etc..

    If they genuinely care about the dog, they will listen up eventually because his behaviour won't just be affecting them but another person and if this guilts them into doing something about it, then I wouldn't feel bad using this approach. This is exactly what I did with the staff - left daily logs about our walks and how many dogs he reacted to that day, how I had to start using a muzzle and wouldn't let him off lead. Didn't feel bad as I knew if they wouldn't stand up and admit there was a problem with their dog, then I would stand up for him.

    He was one of my first clients and I thought I would end up with all the ASBO dogs too :D but I have some lovely dogs on my books now which does make my outlook on this career much brighter :biggrin: Persevere, give it 110% every day and eventually you'll be the one that everyone rings first, not the one everyone rings when they can't find anyone else!!!:D
     
  14. BananaBassett

    BananaBassett PetForums Senior

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    Hello, thank you for your help. I did wonder if he was just going through his lanky phase but it was quite a shock how much he had appeared to drop in 4 days. His face was all angular and different, I've warmed so much to him it's quite alarming. I've never owned a tall, lanky dog but have worked with them, so have not learnt about their stages of growth through experience... My milo has been a stocky little terrier from day one :p

    I love Oscars colour :)
     
  15. BoredomBusters

    BoredomBusters PetForums VIP

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    It is much much harder to guard your heart when you first start - we get into dog walking because we love dogs! I now own one of my first dog walking dogs, that's how deep I fell!

    I have had to give up a few dogs yes, and I felt bad every time I tell an owner I can't have their dog again I feel like complete crap, that hasn't changed. I have had teens who own dogs book me, and they are a complete pain in the butt. Not all teenagers are like it I know, but all the ones who've contacted me are like it. One was in bed when I arrived for the first meeting, I had to have the meeting with someone half asleep and half dressed, he, kept forgetting to leave money out, arguing over with his brother over whose week it was to pay, changing how many days a week he wanted, then he moved out!! Another cancelled the appointment as I pulled up outside his house! Then he phoned me the next day to complain I sounded 'annoyed' on the phone. Ghnnnhhh.

    As a dog walker I 'encourage' recall, but I can't train dogs who don't have a recall at all, as that means neglecting the 'good' dogs in terms of attention. I had one dog whose recall has got worse and worse and worse over the years (she's a once a week dog and the owner had admitted sometimes that was the only walk the dog got all week). I used to be able to turn the recall around when she boarded with me, but not this year, it's such a shame, everything they've done with the dog has discouraged her from recall, until we could only walk her on the lead. A pain in itself as she's one of those dogs you could wrap in barbed wire and she'd still pull. I did try to gently recommend another dog walker who walks mostly gundogs as I thought she'd mind less how far the dog runs off quite frankly, but she wouldn't change. The relief I felt when she cancelled permanently this week was HUGE! When you feel that way about a job (not about the dog), it really is time to let it go.
     
  16. househens

    househens Guest

    I would ask the family if they actually want the dog, or would like you to enquire about a good rehome. ASk them if they have noticed the sudden drop in condition, or can think of why it is happening. Tell them about doggy ice blocks in summer, stuffed kongs, bones, etc. Do they have a backyard?Ask if they would like you to walk more. Point out how being tired, he doesn't get into mischief, but just sleeps. Ask them if they would be interested in taking the nephew and dog to flyball, but they will have to get a good recall, first. I guess, eventually, you can choose to keep the dogs that don't distress, and have a contented worry free life, but I wouldn't ever be able to give up on the dogs that I was fond of...

    Boarding dogs can also destroy your heart. To hand back, would be like totally betraying a dog. I learnt that as a teen, working in school hols.
     
  17. BananaBassett

    BananaBassett PetForums Senior

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    BoredomBusters, thank you, I can't tell you how much of a relief it is to know that you have been through it too, and feel the same about letting dogs go etc. I too have considered taking him on if they did decide to get rid of him. My OH loves him too but I really must not get like that as I will be just buying them all :p

    I think it is great that you encourage recall, especially if it is something the owner is working on - its daft and useless if one person is doing it and the other is letting it slip.

    I know that when it comes to the time when I first have to let a client go, and if not this one, I'm sure there will be others, I'm going to feel really quite sad about it. Thank you again.... If only we just had to work with dogs, and often , not their owners lol!!

    HouseHens, thank you also. They have a patio'd area outside that re dogs are occasionally put out in, but as I said he is often caged. I would feel rude about asking If they even want the dog at all, but maybe I DO need to be a little more forceful about the issue. I have asked about his condition as I said, but they claimed they did not see a problem - whether this is because they are with him often and did not notice as much as someone who saw him one day and returned to find him like that, or if they do not care, I don't know. I have also mentioned kongs etc to them and explained that he plays with them at my own home, and really does well with them etc. their answer is the expensive of them, so I even found a supplier who did them cheaper. Sadly she does not want me to take him out more as she can no longer "afford it", although they often speak about how they went here there and everywhere yesterday etc. I don't know, I really really have tried, and I'm continuing to do so. I feel like I'm flogging a dead horse at times. I tell them how gorgeous he is, how every one we walk past has to say hello or touch him in some way (they do - people are often quite invasive and feel the need to touch his chops without asking!), but they are not interested, where as I, or you, would no doubt bloom with pride. Ahhhh, it is so frustrating.i am on a forum at 4am for guideline, that is what its doing! i chose to start a business not only to fulfill a passion but to h e control over my life, and that definitely hasnt happened yet lol. thank you x
     
  18. Owned By A Yellow Lab

    Owned By A Yellow Lab PetForums VIP

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    Let me clarify.

    I am a dog walker who adores dogs.
    I am NUTS about dogs.

    That is why I work with them :D

    But, I have to accept the reality: the ONLY dog I can ensure is being treated/trained the way I totally approve of is MY OWN DOG.


    That is the reality of working with dogs.

    If you feel you are improving this dog's life in any way at all, then why on earth give him up as a client???

    Do you think that adoring this dog to the point that you're so consumed by worry about him that you have to STOP looking after him is HELPING him?

    Answer: NO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!




    I *do* get that you are incredibly unhappy and worried about this lovely dog - I do, honestly.

    We've all been there - trust me!

    I just think that it may help him more to try and do all you can for him EVEN IF it's LESS than you would ideally like to do.....




    Here you go, an example of another tricky situation:


    I am very friendly with another dog walker in my area; his dog and my dog are best buddies.

    Recently he started looking after a really lovely young dog. I asked him how it was going and he confided that he was really aggravated because he'd realised that the owners LEFT THE WATER BOWL EMPTY as the dog had a few times relieved itself in the house. Given that this poor dog is left all day alone, that's not surprising!

    Just hearing this made me SO upset - I had to be talked out of calling the RSPCA. I told my friend that he **had** to do something and we discussed it. He was already refilling the water bowl to brimming point when he returned the dog after their daily walk.

    Last week, he finally found a good moment and spoke to the owners and explained that he was having a real problem with the lack of water. They don't want to lose him as he's very reliable - so they now leave the poor dog plenty of water.


    I realise this is a different situation to yours, but trust me, myself and the other dog walker were FURIOUS with these owners and I know I could not stop worrying about it.

    Sometimes though, it's better to keep helping the dog so that WHEN a good moment arrives for getting through to the owners, you are THERE :)





    ***just to be clear, had this situation not improved, I would have reported these owners to the RSPCA for the lack of water.


    .
    .
     
    #18 Owned By A Yellow Lab, Nov 7, 2012
    Last edited: Nov 7, 2012
  19. BoredomBusters

    BoredomBusters PetForums VIP

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    I think we're here to do a job. If BB wants to help dogs in distress then there are lots of rescue centres that need help of all different kinds.

    Hard as it sounds, we have to pay our mortgages, we have to pay rent, feed our own dogs, and being up at 4am in the morning worrying about someone else's dog is not going to help do those things. If there is a serious concern, then contacting the RSPCA is the right thing to do.

    'Helping' dogs is not really in our job description, and some of the suggestions in this thread to speak to the owners could well be taken completely the wrong way, owners can be offended by even the simplest of things - I took on a dog from another dog walker because the owner didn't like it that she opened the curtains so the dog could look out of the window. Rather than ask the dog walker to stop it, they were offended that the dog walker took it upon herself to feel she knew best for their dog.

    Don't take me wrong, I love dogs, and leaving one to the tender mercies of someone who doesn't bring the dog up in the way I would bring my own dog up can be hard, but it's really not BBs place to 'help' this dog unless ask. Certainly someone mentioned asking them if they wanted to rehome it! This could ruin a dog walkers reputation!
     
  20. BananaBassett

    BananaBassett PetForums Senior

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    I do understand staying because I'm giving him a few good moments a week. I do. That is why I haven't upped and left already, because I feel for him more than I should.

    But BoredomBusters is also right. I would have worked in a rescue if I wanted to save them all. Of course I want to help him but the reason I didn't work in a rescue is because I knew I couldn't handle the emotional side of it. And this is making me a mess, really.

    Whilst it isn't even that serious, it's still sad for me and its wearing me down. That's the way I am. I stress. I get upset. I worry. I don't know , long term, how seeing this dog is going to effect ME in the long run either. :(

    Maybe I am in the wrong profession - I'm useless with my emotions but also because of this, I feel I can make a fabulous addition to a lot of dogs lives. Because I CARE, and I'm not money grabbing but I do certainly need to get a little harder in general.

    I don't know what I'm to do but I know this isn't healthy. I will see if they take heed with the training. I so wish they would just engage with him and enjoy him - I really feel with exercise and work he will be a fantastic dog. He IS a fantastic dog. We will see. Thanks for your advice everyone - it's nice to see what others would do / think , but it has certainly got me a bit confused lol
     
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