Safety of the dogs
When Robin and Rob started Pupwalks in 2016 the goal was to provide a great service for our clients and their dogs. The safety of our dogs is our number one concern.
We have recently has two incidents that made us sit up and understand the need for us to make everyone aware of policies and best practices that would have averted both problems.
One of our walkers unfortunately allowed her dog to escape. For four long days we searched and tried to console the devastated owners. We had completed many thousands of walks with no incident. Suddenly we had a crisis which was dreadful for the owners and our team. This time, the story had a happy ending and we found the dog eventually.
The second incident involved another walker allowing the client’s dog off-leash, risking the safety of the dog. The dog sustained an injury while running off-leash and the client’s trust in us was severely damaged. We ended up paying vet bills as well.
The purpose of this section on our website is to reduce the risk of these things happening again.
The Meet n Greet
Escape history - In future at the meet and greet we will discuss with the owner if the dog has a history of trying to escape. If the there is prior history and the owner does not have a barrier to protect the front door we will ask them to purchase one. This will be recorded in the client data on Pet Check. Robin and Rob will let the walker know if that if there are any potential issues. For example, the dog that we lost had a long history of doing exactly the same thing and the client had never told us.
Equipment - Robin and Rob will review the walking equipment used by the owner and recommend changes if chokers, flat collars or other insecure or faulty equipment is involved.
Picking up the dog
Entering - When you enter the door, open it very slightly and block it with one of your legs. See if the dog is trying to escape and then quickly enter the house and importantly shut the door behind you. Never leave the front door even slightly open while you are trying to put on a collar or harness on the dog. If you feel that there is a risk, please call Robin or Rob.
Backup collars - We are now insisting that dogs have a back up collar and we are using light weight nylon slip versions. You should have large and small version available whenever you are walking.Please contact Robin or Rob if you're not sure.
Walking The Dog
Holding the leash - The correct way to hold the leash is to insert your hand through the loop at the end and then hold the leash. Never simply hold the leash in your hand. This is very dangerous because if you trip, your hand will open by reflex and the dog will escape. For maximum security, the best way to walk a dog is have the leash in one hand wrapped around the wrist and the other hand directing the dog
Heat - On especially hot days, take the dogs to shaded areas, or in extreme cases, play with them at the clients home. pay special attention to breeds that can overheat easily, these include Bulldog type breeds, any dog with a short nose (brachycephalic) and long haired dogs. We should never walk the dogs on black asphalt on hot days. Stay on the shady side of the street. Let the dog rest in the shade for a few minutes halfway through walk. Sometimes dogs like ice cubes in their water bowl so it stays cool after walkers leave.
Off leash - We have a strict policy that we never allow clients dogs off leash. Even if you think it’s safe, you do not have permission to make your own decision to let the dog off leash. If the client asks you to walk the dog off leash, please contact Robin or Rob. We have this policy because walkers do not necessarily have recall of the dog and the safety of the dog is our primary concern. If anything about this is unclear please contact Robin or Rob. If you break this policy we will unfortunately terminate your contract immediately.
Preferred equipment - Harnesses and gentle leaders are preferred as they are safe and provide more control. We only walk dogs on pinch collars at a clients specific request. We do not use chokers as they are bad for the dog’s health. Please do not use flat collars unless you have a no-slip backup collar as well.
If you’re unsure - Please contact Robin or Rob if a client asks you to use the wrong equipment or the equipment is in bad condition (frayed etc.). We'd prefer you call us and it turns out to be nothing versus just assume it's OK.