Although we certainly want dog lovers here, we find the more they gush about how they love animals, the more we are turned off and so are our dogs.
For one thing, dogs don’t respond well to overly enthusiastic people. Dogs may mirror their energy by gleefully jumping up on them but dogs don’t feel compelled to step back when the person is trying to get thru the gate into the pen. Just being a dog trampoline doesn’t qualify a person for employment.
Most dogs don’t like people charging at them, reaching for them, and yapping at them. [Yes, people can be as yappy as Yorkies.]
What we like is a person who respects dogs by treating them as dogs like to be treated. Often that person will enter a pen and get low to the dog’s level or sit on the ground. They let the dogs come to them and don’t press the hesitant dogs. They are slow in their movements and know that a scratch on the chest is plenty of contact from a stranger.
Sure we have dogs that are so friendly they are in the lap, licking and wagging like fury. But even then, a person who understands dogs is calm in the face of the frenzied dog. You may even see them remove the dog from their lap to let it know that the human is in charge.
Now it appears that Dog Vacay is advertising that people with “no real experience” can work as dog sitters. Their employee training is on-line!
Would we hire somebody and train them remotely? No way. On-site training teaches what different barks mean or when a squeal says “I’m hurt” rather than “My ball is under the couch.” On-site, people learn to always move the gates toward the dogs or they may be chasing dogs around the lobby. HERE’S WHY YOU CAN’T WORK IN MY DOGGIE DAYCARE
People who apply to work for us just “LOVE dogs.” And that is usually their only qualification.
Although we certainly want dog lovers here, we find that the more they gush about how they love animals, the more we are turned off and so are our dogs.
For one thing, dogs don’t respond
They’ll learn to watch all the body language going on in the pens. How can a person look at a video of a dog half asleep on a couch and know that is the dog that is to alpha dog?
Nor can a video teach them to recognize when a dog doesn’t feel good by looking at its face. These things are learned after hundreds of hours of watching dogs. Day care workers observe dogs all day every day. It is hard to imagine that a dog walker or sitter can accumulate that much experience. Therefore, you are getting just what Dog Vacay says, “no real experience.”
It isn’t that a normally intelligent person can’t learn about dogs. In fact, when somebody calls here with a dog that doesn’t seem to be a candidate for daycare or boarding, we suggest contacting a dog walker. Since the welfare of the dog is always on our minds, a walker may be the only option and it sure beats being home alone. As for dogs that have separation anxiety, a sitter may be the only recourse.
So it isn’t that we don’t think there is a place for walkers and sitters. We just don’t want our expertise devalued. We are certain that kennel personnel are the most qualified dog caretakers and should be the first choice of owners.
P.S. Note to the dog walker on Wharton Street: don’t turn your back and read your text messages while your dog is pooping on somebody’s front lawn!