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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm currently "in between" dogs, but being an obsessive planner :eek:, I'm trying to put together an idea of what I would do for day-care if/when a new addition joins us.

I'll almost certainly be using a paid walker and was wondering, if my dog is taken out for an hour's walk, on average how long would they be out of the house. I'm assuming that most walkers take out 2-4 dogs at a time, so there's a bit of travelling around before and after the walk?

I realise that this is something that varies according to where/when/who, but I was curious to know what you'd consider the average?
 

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Still missing my boys
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How long is a piece of string.

Some of the walkers around here would only have your dog out for an hour and walk them for 20 minutes :mad:

Sometimes the dog I walk are only out for 1hours 10 minutes if I go local but like today I took them on an adventure, so they were out for 13/4 hours in total.
I only walk two together also, so they don't spend time sitting in a hot/cold vehicle while I pick up others :D
 

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My last dog walk was an hour dog walk. This means Dudley (my waggy-tailed 'client') was collected, popped in the car, driven about 15 minutes, hopped out and we went for an hour walk (+ 5 minutes because he made a new friend who was coming into the forest as we were leaving :) ), then 15 minutes back (these 15 minutes include towel-drying his underside and feet (it wasn't raining, but the ground was wet so he'd had up-splash), getting him comfy, and my boots off - we 'chat' while I'm doing this :D ), and then 10 minutes writing up his daily log for his owners while rubbing his tummy with my free hand amid the dog version of gurgles of pleasure :)

If I took out two dogs, it would obviously take longer, but the actual walk, from when everyone was inside the gate of the forest (or the first step off the carpark onto the park/woods/etc) to the moment before we got back out of the gate (last step before the carpark) takes about one hour. My route with me walking at my normal speed takes an hour, with dogs that like to sniff every five minutes, it takes up to an hour 15.

There are some dog walking companies that will take your dog out for an hour, and half of that will be in the car. Personally, that would shock me horribly - which is why I don't do it. My clients pay for an hour, they get one hour walk plus travel plus drying off time plus attention and their log filled in. Same reason I never took my own dog (RIP :( ) on my walks - if your dog walker (that you pick does), ask them about their insurance, from a warning I heard, there are no companies where a dog walker taking their own dog on a professional walk won't invalidate their own insurance, and there are a few where their dog will also invalidate their professional insurance - not good!

As for how many dogs, depends. There are dog walkers that take out 12 at a time (urgh!), and there are those that take out 6 (most insurance covers this, I know mine does), there are those that take out 4 (my personal maximum, and then it'd be four little'uns, not four labradors!), some take out two (Rona above me), and some offer individual walks. Some offer a mix of group or individual. I offer single household walks currently, so either one dog, or dogs from the same home.

All things I'd suggest you discuss with your potential walkers. I know I'd be happy to talk about such things - if people seem worried by the length of time, I offer to use Glympse, so they can see where I am during my walk, so they know exactly how far and how long it takes. Turn it on when I get out of the car, turn it off when I get back in - simple. But realistically, as a pet owner, you want to go with someone who you feel answers you honestly, that your dog likes - fail safes are good though, so don't be afraid to ask. Anyone who is doing what they are saying they are doing won't mind proving it (I know I wouldn't be offended :) ).
 

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I try to stick to two hours out of the house - so at most 30 mins travel each way and an hour in the park. The dog closest to the park might only get an hour and 10 mins though. I sometimes take them home in the opposite order, or I'll reverse the route and walk in a different park so the same dogs don't get the same travel time every time.

We collect 8 dogs then split in the park, but our dogs are very close together, so at most collection from the first dog to arriving at the park takes 45 mins.

Most of the owners I work for would be delighted if the travel time was an hour each way so the dog was out of the house for 3 hours, it seems only on forums or other dog walkers don't want dogs travelling for that long. Dog owners seem to have a very different outlook from the enthusiasts you find on forums. :D
 

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I just googled Glympse, it looks similar to Google's Latitude, which I tried for a while. Unfortunately it didn't work because in the parks my signal is very poor, and when it did pick up a signal it put me 10 miles away from where I actually was!

I looked at veriwalk as well, but it seemed a bit expensive... I'd geotag photos if people really wanted to know what I was doing and where I was when, but I've found normal photos seem to do the trick well enough. :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thanks very much for your replies.

Time spent in the van is an interesting one; too long would concern me, as I'm a newfy person and they don't really mix well with summer weather in vehicles. That said, the "right" walker would take those kinds of issues into account (or have aircon!). I certainly wouldn't take on a paid walker without insurance, I would see that as a red light.

It's quite sad really, I doubt we'll be getting another dog for at least a year, and yet I already have a spreadsheet of local walkers/visitors and I'm asking questions on here. I have empty nest syndrome BAD.
 

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Thanks very much for your replies.

Time spent in the van is an interesting one; too long would concern me, as I'm a newfy person and they don't really mix well with summer weather in vehicles. That said, the "right" walker would take those kinds of issues into account (or have aircon!). I certainly wouldn't take on a paid walker without insurance, I would see that as a red light.

It's quite sad really, I doubt we'll be getting another dog for at least a year, and yet I already have a spreadsheet of local walkers/visitors and I'm asking questions on here. I have empty nest syndrome BAD.
Aircon doesn't help much when the vehicle is stopped to pick up other dogs :(
 

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I think it's lovely that you're putting research into finding the right dog walker. This is what ALL dog owners should do - but many don't!

My clients are mostly in my local area and I walk to their homes. If they pay for an hour of walking, then that's what they get - no time in a car or van at all. Realistically we'll be out for 1 hour and 15 minutes to 1 hour and 30 minutes.

I walk two dogs together at the most and then they have to be from the same home. I don't take my dog out with clients' dogs, as I don't feel it's fair to the client - their dog deserves 100% of my attention which I simply cannot do if my own dog is with us.

Personally, I would 'spy' on any dog walker I used. I mean LITERALLY follow them without them being aware of it. I would also want to know that they had experience with dogs. One dog walker in my area does not own a dog and I'm not sure she ever has. She says it's because she likes to go sailing at weekends - fair enough, but that to me is not someone who is crazy about dogs and for me, if someone's looking after my dog, I want to know they have a real passion for dogs.
 

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It's quite sad really, I doubt we'll be getting another dog for at least a year, and yet I already have a spreadsheet of local walkers/visitors and I'm asking questions on here. I have empty nest syndrome BAD.
I have the same, but for a few smaller pets (rats and roborovski hamsters namely). I also have the names and colour combinations of the three mini dachshunds I'd love to have :) But right now, where we are in our lives, having our own dogs isn't practical (two rented properties, now we're looking to buy, but after we buy, I've had so many requests for home-from-home dog boarding, we're likely going to go for that - I can wait for my puppies, but I shall have them eventually!). Just as long as you do your research (you are) and wait until you are sure you have the time, money and space for a dog, you're doing the right thing - and you are doing this, so you get a thumbs-up for being a responsible pet owner :)

Going back to time spent in vehicles, this is one I'm basing on my own opinion. I don't want to pay for my dog to go on a 'walk' when they are sitting in a van, so the walk would be what I paid for, not that time. But for elongated time spent in a van that isn't included in the walk price - difficult. It would depend on the set-up I suppose. Currently, mine is a crate in the back of my car - so on the drive, I hold a one-sided conversation, the dog can see me, hear me, as well as see out the windows and if I open a back window, feel the breeze. A 45 minute drive to the walk like this is no different than what I would do if I wanted to go for a walk with my own dog at a further-away location. In a van situation where there is no visual/auditory communication, especially if there are no windows or ability to add smells (open window) to increase enrichment (for want of a better word) during travel, I'd be loathe for my pet to be in there for more than 30 minutes both ways - in short, I agree with the online concept of time-in-van being an important consideration. But with my dog growing up we lived next to a beach (no travel), opposite a wooded circular lane (no travel), and now live next to a Forestry Commission forest (no travel) - we did go further afield to other locations to walk at the weekends for longer walks, but the meat'n'veg of the walks had no car involved (or pavement walking) at all. So I am spoilt in that way, and don't feel long journeys to a walk are a good thing.

Like Owned By A Yellow Lab said, basically :)

But for some of my clients, walking straight from their home just wouldn't work. I'm on the outskirts of a commuter town, so I have rural 'we have no pavements' clients, and town 'very busy with people' clients, but plenty of woods (and a park) to go to that welcome dogs, and are also safe to walk in (as opposed to National speed limit country lanes with no pavement or street lighting - fab for taking your life in your hands, less fab for professional dog walking :) ).
 
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