Dog walking Take-away from the Conference
Attending the conference of the National Association of Pet Professionals, which encompasses all pet industry businesses, not just pet sitting, was a great investment!
We have brought pets of all species into our homes and into our hearts and making them part of the family. We love them and care for them as if they were our children. We buy them clothes, we take them on airplanes and in restaurants; we take them to the doctor if anything seems wrong and we buy them dog food without dyes, fillers and chemicals, because it can cause illnesses.
Having said all that, I am struggling to figure out why our/my city and my neighborhoods aren't taking part in the daily dog walking part of the industry, that is so huge around the country. It is such a healthy and loving thing that you can do for your dog while you are at work. It helps with separation anxiety, boredom deterrent, helps prevent early onset of arthritis and it is a fun heart-healthy activity as well. Everyone knows the power of a dog's nose, so just like we enjoy scrolling through Instagram, the news, our Facebook feed, Twitter, Tic Toc...going on a walk is the same feeling for your dog. They enjoy the stroll and smelling all of the multitude of scents in their neighborhood.
Back to the Conference; the majority of the 100 or so people that attended from all over the country and a few from Canada, told me that their dog walking business is as big, if not bigger, than their traveling-pet-sitting business. Now other cities have much different terrains, they take dogs on hikes up moutains or through trails; we don't have that here. The weather is different, cost of living if different, cultures are different and probably several other elements that I am not thinking of at this moment. But why do we [my City] leave our dogs to sit at home all day, bored, sleeping and lonely. Some owners have doggy-doors which are great for not forcing them to hold it all day, but they are still bored. Maybe your dog rips up sofa pillows or his dog bed or maybe he digs wholes in the backyard or rips up your garden. Really? HE IS BORED! Dogs need stimulation, enrichment, activity, exercise...why are you leaving them home?
My business has a strong travel-pet-sitting business but our dog walking services are seldom used and it breaks my heart. The regular dogs that we dog walk every day or 3 times a week, etc., are so happy when we take them on a walk around the block, half a mile or a mile, depending on the cold, the heat and the health and age of the dog. It is incredibly sad to walk by a house and have a dog sitting in the window barking or crying to be outside too. But I promise that your dog is happy, tird and had a great time when we bring them back home.
If we can spend the money on the very best food brand, the best pet care, the best orthopedic dog bed [all good things] then please, please give your dog something to look forward to each day, 4x/week or whatever you choose. I know that you want your dog to be happy, you love them.
Give them the gift, the joy of a walk a day. Please.