Never Hire Dog Walkers to Walk Multiple Dogs
It’s a sight that’s become increasingly familiar – one dog walker, and anywhere from four to a dozen and even more dogs all strolling together in what are sometimes marketed as “power walks.” I suggested these are “precarious walks.”
From a distance, or without thinking it through, people may say “this looks so cool.” Dog walkers with numerous dogs simultaneously this is NEVER a good idea; never hire dog walkers who do this.
Dog walkers can be a valuable benefit, assuming they are responsible and best if certified by Pet Sitters International, National Association of Professional Pet Sitters, and there is also the International Organization of Professional Dog Walkers. Still, even with certification people can do whatever they like, and market these multi-dog walks as somehow beneficial, perhaps with walks to a dog beach or a dog park where all the dogs are let off-leash.
The dogs return home exhausted and pet parents are pleased. I suggest many of these dogs are also recovering from a nerve- wrecking experience.
Don’t be fooled by marketing which somehow suggests dogs benefit from these group walks – they do not.
True enough, dogs are social by nature but some dogs just don’t like other dogs or specifically may not like large dogs or as specific as male dogs or dogs with cropped ears (“witch ears”), or whatever the case is. These walks can quickly deteriorate into a hot mess if the wrong dogs are mixed together.
The notion that these “power walks” are somehow beneficial has been reinforced by Cesar (“Dog Whisperer”) Millan, insisting that they somehow resolve behavior problems. That’s rubbish in the context of a dog walker. In fact, constrained on their leashes, an argument can be made that these walks are more likely to create aggression issues rather than to solve them. If a dog wants to get away from another dog – for whatever the reason – there’s nowhere to go.
Leashes can get tangled and shortened, and with that tempers may get short as well. Matters are made even worse if any of the leashes happen to be retractable leashes (which I believe should be banned or least never used by a dog walker).
With limited space between individuals, we may feel uncomfortable and dogs are no different. Many dogs feel with nowhere to move away from the next dog and then the next dog, the only choice may be aggression. Even if the dog isn’t outwardly aggressive, and most dogs may not be, it doesn’t mean the dog is enjoying the experience. In fact, quite the opposite is often true, as dogs may be emotionally traumatized. But with pet parents assuming their dog will love the experience, they just don’t realize.
Even with a group of, say four dogs, walking together daily who do like one another, many dog walkers – given the opportunity – may add one or two to the mix and when that happens a peaceful dynamic could suddenly change
Some dog walkers have a tough enough time controlling any rambunctious large dog, let alone dealing with three or four or more simultaneously. After all, one person attempting to control 300 to 500 lbs. or more isn’t easy, no matter how good their dog handling skills are. If a squirrel comes along, good luck.
Of course, walking is enriching and the exercise is super healthy. At the end of the walk, the destination may be a dog beach or dog park. Some communities have restrictions on the number of dogs one person can take inside a dog beach or dog park, but rarely is this enforced. Still, you’re paying someone to break the law.
Consider some of these dogs may not enjoy the dog beach or dog park as much as their people suggest they should enjoy it.
Even if all of the dogs love the beach or park and get along with one another they sometimes form “gangs” and bully other single dogs.
Besides, the number one rule for anyone taking their best pal to the dog beach or dog park is watch what’s happening. That’s easy enough to do with one dog, and certainly possible with two or three dogs, but increasingly difficult with several dogs and I suggest downright impossible with a half dozen dogs or more.
As I said, dog walkers – when they are responsible and qualified may be incredibly beneficial to dogs and their people. However, the so-called “power walks” or group walks only may benefit the wallets of dog walkers but are never a good idea for the dogs.