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A green paw print.

A Dog Walker You Can Rely On

Keeping your dog safe should be every dog walkers top priority. While having invaluable experience in handling dogs is crucial, the right policies and measures should be in place to provide a responsible and safe environment for your dog to play and socialise. Although I hold a clean record with no incidents over my time working with dogs professionally, I firmly believe that complacency is the most dangerous thing that dog walkers can fall victim of. I have spared no expense in ensuring that my dogs are safe and protected while under the care of my dog walking service using the following measures:

A dog walker traing a dog.

Training Philosophy

As somebody who works with dogs and wants to keep them safe, I see it my responsibility to ensure that I keep a strong bond with all the dogs I look after; very much as I would have with my own. All the dogs I walk and look after receive training in areas that could do with some work, not only to improve their general behaviour but to build trust and to make their time with me a safer one. All dogs are encouraged to stop at roads, not pull on their leads and come back when called. Remember that Playgroup Dog Activities does not believe in aggressive training methods. So far, I have helped stop dogs with aggressive anxieties towards cars, given dogs a near perfect recall and taught dogs how to approach other dogs calmly.

A dog sitting comfortably in a secure crate.

Safe Transit

All dogs are placed in spots in the vehicle that are safe from accidents and conflicts. Playgroup Dog Activities has bespoke steel cages to ensure the dogs that need their own space will always be able to sit up and turn around in their cage. There are no sharp bits for them to be injured on in transit and no dog leaves the car without being secured first. There is also an "open area" between the cages and the drivers cab which is padded and floored with non-slip rubber matting which can be very comfortably shared between dogs of the same household and dogs that are solid friends. My dog walker's vehicle is a "Peugeot Partner" van with full air conditioning and a built in dog guard, letting the dogs benefit from air circulation, light and space!

Three dogs on lead with a dog walker.

Lead Policy

My policy on leads is quite simple; if the dog is controllable with recall, sociable and well behaved with me, they can enjoy off lead exercise. If however there are issues which stop me from trusting them 100%, they'll receive training to address the problems so they can eventually be walked off lead with me. If these issues cannot be addressed even after training and some time, they'll always be kept on lead or alternatively a long line (see the Long Line section below!).

There are other situations in which ALL dogs are put on leads:
  • When passing other dogs that are on lead.
  • When unloading from the car and walking through car parks or near roads.
  • If the dog is nervous or prone to bolting.
  • Possibly if not neutered or a female "on heat".
  • If your dog requires a muzzle.
  • If I don't have written permission from the owner to do so (insurance reasons).
A dog walker with lots of dogs.

Education & Expertise

Awaiting Text...

A retriever bouncing along in the sun.

GPS Trackers

To ensure that I'm protected even from the most unlikely of scenarios, my dog walking service has invested in and subscribes to GPS trackers. These trackers fit comfortably on a dogs collar, which then communicates with my smart phone over network signal and 4G internet. Due to already sensible and responsible safety measures I have never had to rely on these trackers, however they provide a valuable extra peace of mind to owners of certain types of dogs; such as unpredictable dogs, young puppies and nervous dogs to name a few. With these trackers I can follow your dogs exact location on a map should they ever get lost, anywhere in the world.

A dog walking service using a first aid kit.

First Aid

For situations in which your dog may cut themselves or suffer other minor injuries, I carry around a medical kit that includes the following:

  • Pods of Saline - to wash away dirt and debris from your pet's eyes and other areas.
  • Dressings with Ties - to cover any injury.
  • Foil Blanket - to retain body warmth and help combat shock, used to wrap your pet on the journey to the vets.
  • Gauze Swabs - To make a wet wipe or used for cleaning up fluid or saline.
  • Microporous Tape - roll of paper tape for holding dressings or bandages in place.
  • Conforming Bandage - used around a limb if a sprain is suspected.
  • Vinyl Gloves - To keep myself clean and to insure I don't cross contaminate with the dog.
  • Plastic Pouches - to cover foot injuries and help keep them clean.
  • Alcohol Free Cleansing Wipes - to clean wounds prior to applying dressings.
  • Scissors & Tweezers.
Bear bells that are used by dog walking services to keep track of their dogs location.

Bear Bells

"Bear bells" are used in America to warn bears of your presence, thus avoiding confrontation. There are NO bears living in the locations I walk, but they do have another very handy use! These velcro bells attach very easily to a dog's collar, allowing me to hear exactly where your dog is when they're running through trees or if they temporarily go out of sight. It's mostly for my own peace of mind, but also practically warns livestock, wildlife and other dogs and their walkers that your dog is approaching.
These bells can be "silenced" by using the magnet provided on the bell, the ring of the bell is gentle and does not cause any audible discomfort and not all dogs wear a bell. It depends on the character and behaviour of the dog and the scenario we are in.

A dog running wearing a long line across the downs.

Long Lines

A long line is a very long lead that can clip onto the dogs collar and drag behind them. They can then experience the freedom of being off lead, but there will always be some length for me to grab if they decide to shoot off unexpectedly. These leads prove very effective for training recall and for getting a dog used to staying within a radius of their dog walker.
This doesn't mean that I don't let dogs off their leads, I just require the dog to be trusted with the freedom. Potential reasons for using longlines include a dog with no recall, an easily spooked dog on a day forecasting thunder or potential gunfire/fireworks, an unsociable dog that's a potential risk to other dogs, and a dog with dangerous habits e.g running after cars, Terriers going down rabbit holes and dogs that charge head first up to other dogs that are leashed.

A dog walking services electronic details forms.

Personal Details Form

Every single dog that uses me as their dog walker has a PDF form, or a "personal details form". These are the forms I fill in when I come to meet you and your dog when you first sign up to my dog walking service. The forms document things such as health issues, registered veterinarian, vital stats and contact details. These PDF forms are stored electronically on mobile devices so I can reference them anytime, anywhere!

Cliverton logo dog walking insurance.

Fully Insured

Playgroup Dog Activities is fully insured with the pet industries leading insurer. Our insurance protects the general public, my customers and your home from things such as breakages or loss of keys. For full insurance details, don't hesitate to ask to see the documents! If the thought of letting me into your home while you're away is concerning you, don't worry. I'm DBS (CRB) checked and can produce the certificate whenever you wish!