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Just a little spooked

Discussion in 'Dog Walking' started by KateH1818, Dec 14, 2018.


  1. KateH1818

    KateH1818 PetForums Newbie

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    I am a dog walker, have only been dog walking for about a year and have never had any problems. But today I had an incident that spooked me a little and wanted to know everyone’s opinion.

    I started walking three new dogs about 3 weeks ago. I am fully insured and had written consent to let the dogs off lead. They are all microchipped with name tags and contact info on their collars.

    Today at the park, the same park I take them to every day, a maintanence van pulled into the park and into the grass - not a regular occurrence.

    One of the dogs spooked and ran out of the park, down a main road, across a crossing. All the dogs were off lead, and very good with recall. When I told the owners of the incident they claimed she had never been spooked like this nor had she ever run off before. Thankfully I found her minutes later sitting patiently outside her own front door.

    The whole incident just spooked me, what If she had been hit by a car, stollen or disappeared and I hadn’t been so lucky to find her at the house.

    I would have been mortified. But would I have been to blame or under any potential scrutiny from my insurance.

    I had consent to let them off, they were never known to spook and they were chopped and ID’d.

    Please can I have some feedback on people’s opinions of the event.
     
  2. Rafa

    Rafa PetForums VIP

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    If you have written consent to allow these dogs to be offlead, then you can't be held liable if one of them does something out of the ordinary. Dogs are unpredictable.

    However, I would say that you would have some responsibility to only allow the dogs freedom in safe places, and probably not so close to a main road.

    So far as the dog who ran is concerned, I would keep it onlead in future, as it's demonstrated that it is a potential flight risk.
     
  3. Linda Weasel

    Linda Weasel PetForums VIP

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    I find it a pretty scary idea that anybody other than me would exercise my dog off lead.
    I'm fairly sure that, if he was spooked then in those moments of blind panic he would be looking for me, not whoever was walking him.
     
  4. KateH1818

    KateH1818 PetForums Newbie

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    thank you for your response, she will certainly be kept back on the lead now - and be especially careful in that particular park - It's not even easy to access the main road from the park but she must have known that specific route home from when her owners walk her. I am just thankful she is okay!
     
  5. KateH1818

    KateH1818 PetForums Newbie

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    Yeah I have clients who do not wish to let their dogs off lead and I understand that 100%, however this particular client owns three very high energy dogs and their whole reasoning behind hiring an external dog walker was to give them off lead exercise to let off some steam while they're at work! I am VERY thankful her reaction when spooked was to run home in search of her owner rather than just running away aimlessly. she's a very affectionate little girl who usually, even off lead, always stays nearby and recalls fantastically - which is why I was so shaken by this experience. I'm just so relieved she's okay - as I said she was found almost immediately. Thank you for your reply!! She will certainly be staying on the lead especially in this particular park in future to ensure her safety!:)
     
  6. Rafa

    Rafa PetForums VIP

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    Big red flag here for me.

    Three high energy dogs who their owner wants to be offlead to run their energy off?

    That equates to three dogs who potentially are not listening to or aware of who is walking them.

    I wouldn't want that responsibility. I would walk them onlead.
     
  7. Jamesgoeswalkies

    Jamesgoeswalkies PetForums VIP

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    I suspect it's like any public liability insurance - it is up to you to carry out a risk assessment in regard to each dog and each location. Personally rather than go by the owners saying 'they'll be ok off lead', I would be making informed decisions myself in regard the individual dog/location.

    In the case of school trips for example, we have the parents permission to take the children and for them to take part in certain activities but this doesn't negate our responsibility to cary out risk assessments.

    Glad it was ok - must have been scary for you though. And interestingly, like Linda Weasel, I wouldn't be happy with any of my dogs being exercised off lead in unfenced areas without me being there.

    J
     
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