Every dog is unique, they have their own specific needs and love to do certain things.
You can see this when your dog is at the park or during the walk.
Some dogs like to smell everything, whilst other dogs like to chase a ball.
Some dogs like to play with other dogs, whilst others like to play on their own. Then there are different breeds such as working dogs and retrievers dogs. Different breeds have different needs!
Kimi is an Australian German Sheppard and he likes to play in water. But he is a working dog and he also needs exercise and mental stimulation. So my job is to bring him where he can play and do exercise in the water as well as being in the right environment for mental stimulation exercises.
If I think about all the dogs that I look after and I ask myself: “What would happen if I looked after all these dogs in the same time?” Every dog is used to have a bond with me in a different way. Probably my income would increase, but their happiness would decrease.
It’s the relationship with me that makes the difference. There are exceptions, of course. For example Chewie (Cockapoo) and Brodie (Norfolk Terrier) love each other. They are more happy when they can be together. I am happy when I can look after them in the same time. It makes sense to me.
So I think there are disadvantages to walk with more dogs at the same time.
1. The dog is social animal, but it isn’t always sociable. It likes to belong a social group and to interact with its own kind. But it doesn’t make friends with everybody and it doesn’t accept all other people and other dogs. The dog has to be free to connect and walk who it wants.
How can I force the presence of other dogs if my dog has high prey drive? How can I force the presence of other dog if my dog likes to play with the ball?
I cannot do it if I want to ensure that the dog’s needs are satisfied.
2. When I walk with the dog and it meets other dogs, it’s so important to be careful to both of the dog’s body language. If my dog is friendly and he finds a shy dog, it’s my responsibility to protect the shy dog from the friendly behaviour of mine.
I have to properly manage the meeting with other dogs and people. It means that I don’t avoid or overtly encourage a meeting, but I have manage it. This depend on many factor: dog behaviour, the weather, the environment, the dogs arousal, the dog attitude, the owner and so on.
3. The lead is a communication tool between a person and a dog. It’s not possible to manage more leads and to have the right communication with all dogs in the same time.
4. Not all dogs walk at the same place and not all dogs like to smell the same places.
5. There are dogs that are food fixed and they eat everything and anything from the ground. I have to be really careful when I look after these kind of dogs. This is not possible to do it if I look after more dogs in the same time.
6. There is the belief that dogs needs to let off steam and go a bit crazy. It’s not like this. Dogs look at eyes contact as a way to communicate and to create a bond with the person.
Some dogs look at me to ask for comfort, to do treasure hunt, to play the ball, to chasing us around and so on.
For example Buster always decides the place where he wants to play. He says to me it with gaze while he has the ball in his mouth. When I understood it, I prepare myself to throw the ball, he drops the ball and the game starts.
Another example. When Surprise wants to go somewhere, she says to me with the gaze.
They are two different dogs that they use different gazes and I have taken my time to understand this.
If there are some advantages why are there so many group dog walker services?
Dogs cannot speak our language and uses one of their own. When a dog disagrees or is unhappy about something they says it with his body. If you don’t read exactly this body language you ignore their needs and discontent. In the end the dog will adapt to the situation but will show distress in different way.
Dogs feel emotions, they have specific needs and know exactly what they want and don’t want. They use body language to express this. For this reason when I look after them it’s necessary to have both knowledge and patience. If I look after a number dogs at the same time how can I understand their dog body language carefully and properly?
The dog depends on me. It cannot say to me that he doesn’t like a group walk or if it prefers to walk slowly or if it wants stay just with me. For this reason I am 100% responsible to understand their demands, needs and emotions. And if I understand the dog properly then it can understand my body language.
My needs cannot be before the dog’s needs when I look after it. It’s a relationship based on partnership. When I look after a dog I am a partner for that dog.
All the Best,
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