Author Topic: Alternative to dog walker  (Read 3397 times)

davenator

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Alternative to dog walker
« on: April 10, 2018, 10:11:26 AM »
Greetings fellow mustachians,
I'm looking for some advice/suggestions/ideas for my current situation with my dog walker.  He walks my dog once a day while I'm at work. He is extremely consistent and great with my dog. However he charges $15 per walk which ends up being around $300 per month.  This is probably my biggest monthly expense other than mortgage and food.  I love my dog, but just thinking about this expense makes me want to punch myself in the face.  Has anyone else been in a similar situation and how did you resolve it?

KCM5

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Re: Alternative to dog walker
« Reply #1 on: April 10, 2018, 10:54:48 AM »
Your commute is too far do do it yourself?

My partner and I flex our schedules so our dog is only alone from 8-3, which is enough time that we just leave him without a walk. How old is the dog? Does it really need a walk?

davenator

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Re: Alternative to dog walker
« Reply #2 on: April 10, 2018, 11:04:00 AM »
Your commute is too far do do it yourself?

My partner and I flex our schedules so our dog is only alone from 8-3, which is enough time that we just leave him without a walk. How old is the dog? Does it really need a walk?

My commute is about 20 minutes each way (plus about $4 in tolls round trip) if there's no traffic, so it would be almost an hour round trip if I came home for lunch.  I hardly ever actually take a lunch break and just eat at my desk.
I don't live with my gf so schedule-flexing isn't an option.  She's 8 years old; I've been doing this for a while now.  She is able to "hold it" for 8-9 hours, but I just feel terrible if I did that to her every day.  I just think, "How would you like not being able to use the bathroom from 7:00-4:00 every day?"
« Last Edit: April 10, 2018, 11:07:20 AM by davenator »

hoodedfalcon

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Re: Alternative to dog walker
« Reply #3 on: April 10, 2018, 11:07:59 AM »
I leave my dog home alone from 8-5:30 ish and have been doing so for years. She is accustomed to it and there have been no issues. Would she like a walk in the middle of the day? Sure she would. But she doesn't need it. Sometimes when I do go home mid-day I let her out in the yard and she just lays in the grass and falls back asleep, doesn't even go to the bathroom. But my dog is super lazy.

Cromacster

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Re: Alternative to dog walker
« Reply #4 on: April 10, 2018, 11:11:07 AM »
A couple different answers depending on you and your dog.

Dogs are typically fine going 7-9 hours without needing to go outside.  Exception being smaller dogs that typically need to go out more.  Many people, especially those in apartments train their dogs to use pee pads or whatever.  You know your dogs needs if leaving your dog all day will work or not.

She's 8 years old; I've been doing this for a while now.  She is able to "hold it" for 8-9 hours, but I just feel terrible if I did that to her every day.  I just think, "How would you like not being able to use the bathroom from 7:00-4:00 every day?"

Think about when you are sleeping, the dog is probably going 8-12 hours without going outside.  My dog usually seems annoyed when I get home because I wake him up from his nap.

Other options:

Walk your dog in the morning and in the evening.  If it's purely for getting your dog exercise, walk your dog yourself.  Good for him and good for you.

Get a dog treadmill.  I know a few competitive dog trainers that train their dogs more like athletes.  They use treadmills, especially in the winter.  A used one off craigslist could work just fine.  They do make dog specific treadmills that are made longer if you have a big dog.

Edit to add:  Hire a neighbors kid (if your dog is ok with other people) and pay them 20$ a week to let him out when they get home from school or something.  No need to take it for a walk.

Basenji

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Re: Alternative to dog walker
« Reply #5 on: April 10, 2018, 11:13:36 AM »
Your commute is too far do do it yourself?

My partner and I flex our schedules so our dog is only alone from 8-3, which is enough time that we just leave him without a walk. How old is the dog? Does it really need a walk?

My commute is about 20 minutes if there's no traffic, so it would be almost an hour round trip if I came home for lunch.  I hardly ever actually take a lunch break and just eat at my desk.
I don't live with my gf so schedule-flexing isn't an option.  She's 8 years old; I've been doing this for a while now.  She is able to "hold it" for 8-9 hours, but I just feel terrible if I did that to her every day.  I just think, "How would you like not being able to use the bathroom from 7:00-4:00 every day?"

You'll get very different answers to this, I'm sure. I think it's too hard on a dog (even an older one) to leave it all day without a break. Besides peeing, a walk is a bit of exercise and companionship. I struggled with this myself, wanting the best for the dogs and feeling like I was spending too much money. Heck, I had my dogs in daycare for a while. I ended up getting permission to work from home sometimes and that helped the situation a bit.

My dog walker costs $20 to walk two dogs for about 30 minutes. My dogs LOVE her. When I was working in an office all day, it was worth it to me to give my best buddies a bit of relief and company. Maybe look for other ways to save on pet costs?


FIFoFum

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Re: Alternative to dog walker
« Reply #6 on: April 10, 2018, 11:19:00 AM »
$15 per day/walk is not very expensive for the service provided. In my HCOL, a 30 minute walk will cost $25 or more. And you have someone you like, who is consistent.

I don't think this is face-punch worthy.

While many dogs are "ok" being left alone all day, dogs are social beings. I'm sure your dog really does like having the mid-day company and the opportunity to get out. As your dog gets older, they may prefer to snooze in all day & not get much benefit from the mid-day walk. It doesn't sound like you're at that point yet, though.

You're the one who chose to have a dog rather than a cat. I'm not a true Mustachian on this. I share my life with dogs because I've made that choice, and with that, I've taken on giving them everyday care & enrichment (physical and mental). They bring value to my life, and the price of that is getting their needs met.

If you think that the extra $ for dog walking isn't worth the value of having a dog, I'd file that away as a reason to not get a dog in the future or to adopt one who is used to being alone all day & doesn't mind.

mm1970

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Re: Alternative to dog walker
« Reply #7 on: April 10, 2018, 11:19:26 AM »
Your commute is too far do do it yourself?

My partner and I flex our schedules so our dog is only alone from 8-3, which is enough time that we just leave him without a walk. How old is the dog? Does it really need a walk?

My commute is about 20 minutes if there's no traffic, so it would be almost an hour round trip if I came home for lunch.  I hardly ever actually take a lunch break and just eat at my desk.
I don't live with my gf so schedule-flexing isn't an option.  She's 8 years old; I've been doing this for a while now.  She is able to "hold it" for 8-9 hours, but I just feel terrible if I did that to her every day.  I just think, "How would you like not being able to use the bathroom from 7:00-4:00 every day?"

You'll get very different answers to this, I'm sure. I think it's too hard on a dog (even an older one) to leave it all day without a break. Besides peeing, a walk is a bit of exercise and companionship. I struggled with this myself, wanting the best for the dogs and feeling like I was spending too much money. Heck, I had my dogs in daycare for a while. I ended up getting permission to work from home sometimes and that helped the situation a bit.

My dog walker costs $20 to walk two dogs for about 30 minutes. My dogs LOVE her. When I was working in an office all day, it was worth it to me to give my best buddies a bit of relief and company. Maybe look for other ways to save on pet costs?

I don't have a dog, and this is why.  My kids really want one.  Husband too.

But we are quite literally away from the house from 8 until 5:30 pm.  That is cruel.  Dogs are social, for the most part.  I won't do it.  I could do it and get a dog walker, etc.  Friends in the 'hood with dogs who work from home/ work part time/ don't work have offered.  One of our friends is actually a dog walker, so I could pay her.

As time marches forward it might become more possible.  Big kid is heading to junior high in the fall, so there's a chance he'll be home by 3 or 3:30 pm (not sure of his schedule yet).  8 to 3:30 seems more doable.

I know plenty of neighbors have dogs and just leave them inside or outside in a fenced yard all day.  Not interested in doing that.

lizzzi

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Re: Alternative to dog walker
« Reply #8 on: April 10, 2018, 11:21:58 AM »
In my pet-friendly apartment complex, a lot of people walk their dogs before and after work, so the dog is alone in the apartment from 8 or 8:30 until 5:30 or 6, or whatever. One couple leaves their year-old corgi for up to 11 hours. (They don't have any problems, or if they do, aren't admitting it.) Some people use pee pads, and then walk the dog after work so it can poop. Some couples are able to flex their schedules in some way--or maybe one can come home for lunch if the other can't. The very good dog walking service around here has just upped their price from $20 per visit to $22--so that $15 seems very reasonable to me. One girl hired the dog walking service to come in at noon on M-W-F, and just let her (very lazy and placid) dog snooze through the long work day on T-TH. Some people leave their dog in a crate, some "child-proof" the apartment and leave the dog loose, and some gate off the galley kitchen so the dog is confined but has a little more room.

I am home all day with my dog, so don't have the issue--just hire the dog walkers when I occasionally have to be away all day for something.

formerlydivorcedmom

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Re: Alternative to dog walker
« Reply #9 on: April 10, 2018, 11:53:41 AM »
We put in a dog door. Doggie can let himself out to annoy the dogs on the other side of the fence a few times a day, then returns to the couch for another snooze. 

I'm pretty sure this has raised our electric bill a bit.  It's also led to having random dog from the other side of the fence in my kitchen (she occasionally knocks a board in the fence loose and comes to visit).  It's worth it for us - I hope to never again have a home without a dog door.

bobfnbw

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Re: Alternative to dog walker
« Reply #10 on: April 10, 2018, 11:59:08 AM »
Have had dogs most of my life. Have 2 now, a german shepard and a black lab. Neither gets walked during the day. They are let out now when they need to go, but a dog door would do that. If you have a apartment, a dog crate will confine him/her till you get home. Limit their water and food until your home. I would not pay 300 bucks per month for that. I love my dogs but I am top dog, so they follow my lead.
Bob

SunnyDays

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Re: Alternative to dog walker
« Reply #11 on: April 10, 2018, 12:42:50 PM »
My dog is at daycare as I type this and I don't even work!  She just loves to go and play with her friends, then is contentedly tired all through the next day.  So that's one option for you, even for one day a week.  Unless your dog has been trained to only relieve itself on walks, I agree a dog door could be a good solution.  If it's just bored and lonely, look for a few neighbours who would like to come and play with it.  Or, get another dog for company (maybe even a cat if it's a good match).  Not everything should be about the money, even for Mustachians;  you have an obligation to meet the dog's needs even at your expense or inconvenience.

Just Joe

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Re: Alternative to dog walker
« Reply #12 on: April 10, 2018, 01:13:13 PM »
How about alternating the dog walker with a day or two per week at a doggie daycare? I hear from friends that their dog sleeps all day the next day after a big time at the doggie day care. 

Cromacster

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Re: Alternative to dog walker
« Reply #13 on: April 10, 2018, 01:30:36 PM »
My dog is at daycare as I type this and I don't even work!  She just loves to go and play with her friends, then is contentedly tired all through the next day.  So that's one option for you, even for one day a week.  Unless your dog has been trained to only relieve itself on walks, I agree a dog door could be a good solution.  If it's just bored and lonely, look for a few neighbours who would like to come and play with it.  Or, get another dog for company (maybe even a cat if it's a good match).  Not everything should be about the money, even for Mustachians;  you have an obligation to meet the dog's needs even at your expense or inconvenience.

How about alternating the dog walker with a day or two per week at a doggie daycare? I hear from friends that their dog sleeps all day the next day after a big time at the doggie day care.

Probably because the dog is stressed as fuck being in a lord of the flies type environment.  Then it get's home and can chill out....sorry, I'm very against the modern doggy daycare's, but if it works for ya.

use2betrix

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Re: Alternative to dog walker
« Reply #14 on: April 10, 2018, 01:53:47 PM »
My lab routinely held it 11-12 hrs a day from about 5-9 years old. Then I met my now wife and she took him out daily. Even up to 12/13 he could hold it for 12 hrs if needed. At that point I would t routinely do it, but he was fine with it and treated great and very happy otherwise. As he got older I tried to minimize it. I wouldnít of even though twice about an 8-9 hr day though, even as he was older.

Iíd feel more bad if the dog had to be kenneled the whole time. My dog did til he was 2-3 but not after that. My new dog (German Shepherd) is kenneled as heís only 10 months and weíre currently living in a furnished AirBnB so donít want to risk him chewing their stuff.

Sun Hat

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Re: Alternative to dog walker
« Reply #15 on: April 10, 2018, 06:38:09 PM »
Do any of your neighbours have dogs? They might be willing to walk your dog mid-day just to get a play buddy for their pet. I'll be doing this with my pup's best pal as of tomorrow. The other dog's owner will know that he doesn't need to rush home from work, and my dog, who is too arthritic for the dog park, will get some dog socializing.

Dog-less neighbours who are at home all day might also be willing to do it for free (or in exchange for yard work or some labour).


davenator

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Re: Alternative to dog walker
« Reply #16 on: April 11, 2018, 05:31:18 AM »
Thanks everyone for your ideas and suggestions.  I might consider dropping the dog walker down to 3 days a week and see how that goes. 
To address a few of the suggestions (which are good ones but don't work in my case):
-can't do doggie day care. It's just as expensive as the dog walker and she doesn't get along with other dogs well.
-wish I could do a doggie door, but tough to install one in a sliding glass door and my townhouse isn't fenced.

Mtngrl

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Re: Alternative to dog walker
« Reply #17 on: April 11, 2018, 07:56:53 AM »
Thanks everyone for your ideas and suggestions.  I might consider dropping the dog walker down to 3 days a week and see how that goes. 
To address a few of the suggestions (which are good ones but don't work in my case):
-can't do doggie day care. It's just as expensive as the dog walker and she doesn't get along with other dogs well.
-wish I could do a doggie door, but tough to install one in a sliding glass door and my townhouse isn't fenced.

They do make dog doors for sliding glass doors.
But you would still need a fence.
For those worried about dogs being home alone all day, my solution has been to have two dogs -- they keep each other company. But we're both home with ours all day now.

AMandM

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Re: Alternative to dog walker
« Reply #18 on: April 11, 2018, 12:45:59 PM »
I've never had a dog, but if what you are looking for is the same kind of service at a lower cost, maybe a neighbour who's home during the day (retiree, SAHM, late shift worker, homeschooled kid) would be interested? If it's not their real job, they might charge less.

tooqk4u22

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Re: Alternative to dog walker
« Reply #19 on: April 11, 2018, 01:27:38 PM »
I put this into lifestyle choice and not facepunch worthy....if you can afford it and its important to you then ok.  But it's also not a necessity.  My dog is home regularly for 8 hours and sometimes 12 - he is fine and hasn't had accidents or isn't stress, and like another poster sometimes we disturb his slumber when we come home (tough life), sometimes I think he is more cat than dog, but he does love his walks.  Last dog was same way, although as he aged if we left him too long sometimes he would have an accident....but if we were gone for 12 hours and he did it was our fault and he would not be reprimanded.

However, if the following post isn't a troll then it is fucking pathetic....its a fucking dog.....I hope its a troll, please let it be a troll, the world can't be coming to this, please let it be a troll.

My dog is at daycare as I type this and I don't even work!  She just loves to go and play with her friends, then is contentedly tired all through the next day.  So that's one option for you, even for one day a week.  Unless your dog has been trained to only relieve itself on walks, I agree a dog door could be a good solution.  If it's just bored and lonely, look for a few neighbours who would like to come and play with it.  Or, get another dog for company (maybe even a cat if it's a good match).  Not everything should be about the money, even for Mustachians;  you have an obligation to meet the dog's needs even at your expense or inconvenience.

formerlydivorcedmom

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Re: Alternative to dog walker
« Reply #20 on: April 11, 2018, 01:44:32 PM »
My dog is at daycare as I type this and I don't even work!  She just loves to go and play with her friends, then is contentedly tired all through the next day.  So that's one option for you, even for one day a week.  Unless your dog has been trained to only relieve itself on walks, I agree a dog door could be a good solution.  If it's just bored and lonely, look for a few neighbours who would like to come and play with it.  Or, get another dog for company (maybe even a cat if it's a good match).  Not everything should be about the money, even for Mustachians;  you have an obligation to meet the dog's needs even at your expense or inconvenience.

My mother is home all day and takes the dog to daycare occasionally - "because he loves it and he has friends".  She then watches the dog play via their webcast.  I gave up.

FIFoFum

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Re: Alternative to dog walker
« Reply #21 on: April 11, 2018, 01:52:05 PM »
I put this into lifestyle choice and not facepunch worthy....if you can afford it and its important to you then ok.  But it's also not a necessity.  My dog is home regularly for 8 hours and sometimes 12 - he is fine and hasn't had accidents or isn't stress, and like another poster sometimes we disturb his slumber when we come home (tough life), sometimes I think he is more cat than dog, but he does love his walks.  Last dog was same way, although as he aged if we left him too long sometimes he would have an accident....but if we were gone for 12 hours and he did it was our fault and he would not be reprimanded.

However, if the following post isn't a troll then it is fucking pathetic....its a fucking dog.....I hope its a troll, please let it be a troll, the world can't be coming to this, please let it be a troll.

My dog is at daycare as I type this and I don't even work!  She just loves to go and play with her friends, then is contentedly tired all through the next day.  So that's one option for you, even for one day a week.  Unless your dog has been trained to only relieve itself on walks, I agree a dog door could be a good solution.  If it's just bored and lonely, look for a few neighbours who would like to come and play with it.  Or, get another dog for company (maybe even a cat if it's a good match).  Not everything should be about the money, even for Mustachians;  you have an obligation to meet the dog's needs even at your expense or inconvenience.

Many dogs that are pets today were bred to be working animals who spend hours every day getting physical activity, mental stimulation and being in the company of humans or other dogs. Taking dogs like this and having them stay home alone all day doing nothing can lead them to develop serious behavioral problems (including aggression).

It's not "fucking pathetic" to recognize that different dogs have different needs, and that choosing to own an animal means trying to meet these needs. There are also significant regional and cultural differences in how people care for pets. There is room to do things differently without resorting to ad hominem attacks on people who do things different from you (likely in completely different circumstances).

SunnyDays

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Re: Alternative to dog walker
« Reply #22 on: April 11, 2018, 02:38:27 PM »
No, I am not a troll.  My dog goes to daycare one day a week because I started it when I was working to give her some stimulation.  She loved it so much, I continued when I retired.  How is this pathetic?  Dogs need friends too.

CNM

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Re: Alternative to dog walker
« Reply #23 on: April 11, 2018, 02:46:11 PM »
I have a neighborhood kid walk my dog daily.  I pay him $10 a week.  Check on Nextdoor for kids in your area who'd be interested, if you don't already know someone. 

alewpanda

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Re: Alternative to dog walker
« Reply #24 on: April 13, 2018, 05:02:25 PM »
As a dog owner that would personally feel very comfortable doing this, I wholeheartedly agree with the suggestions to find a dog-loving neighbor or fellow dog owner that is home during the day and pay them a few bucks to take yours out too.  Once my older dog has passed (likely within the next year or two), I hope to find a neighbor in your exact situation.  My younger dog is very social, and I am available during the day to walk her.  If someone was willing to pay me 25.00 a week and they lived around the corner, I would have no issues making that commitment and getting paid to both take care of my own dog's needs and a neighbor's dog's needs.  It would be a win-win for both of us.  Even if your dog isn't particularly great with other dogs, surely there is a neighborhood dog she doesn't mind, or at least a dog-lover who currently doesn't have a dog of their own and dotes over yours when they see them...

use2betrix

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Re: Alternative to dog walker
« Reply #25 on: April 14, 2018, 06:08:06 AM »
I put this into lifestyle choice and not facepunch worthy....if you can afford it and its important to you then ok.  But it's also not a necessity.  My dog is home regularly for 8 hours and sometimes 12 - he is fine and hasn't had accidents or isn't stress, and like another poster sometimes we disturb his slumber when we come home (tough life), sometimes I think he is more cat than dog, but he does love his walks.  Last dog was same way, although as he aged if we left him too long sometimes he would have an accident....but if we were gone for 12 hours and he did it was our fault and he would not be reprimanded.

However, if the following post isn't a troll then it is fucking pathetic....its a fucking dog.....I hope its a troll, please let it be a troll, the world can't be coming to this, please let it be a troll.

My dog is at daycare as I type this and I don't even work!  She just loves to go and play with her friends, then is contentedly tired all through the next day.  So that's one option for you, even for one day a week.  Unless your dog has been trained to only relieve itself on walks, I agree a dog door could be a good solution.  If it's just bored and lonely, look for a few neighbours who would like to come and play with it.  Or, get another dog for company (maybe even a cat if it's a good match).  Not everything should be about the money, even for Mustachians;  you have an obligation to meet the dog's needs even at your expense or inconvenience.

Many dogs severely need socialization. Some so they arenít destructive , some so they arenít aggressive. Many actual WORKING dogs need this severely or they can be unmanageable for life. Sure, most Labs love everyone. Thatís why they are the most popular dogs in the country. However some German Shepherds, and especially Belgian Malanois NEED socialization so that they are not vicious around people and dogs. They have insanely high drives that must be managed. Itís like rebuilding a high performance car. It takes endless amounts of work, however if done right, it will have endless performance over the cheap, easy to maintain vehicles. Of course, for many, all they want is easy - and thatís fine too.

I have a German Shepherd, and read several books on training and also about military working dogs. Itís endlessly fascinating but also shows the need for structure and socialization.

MoStache

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Re: Alternative to dog walker
« Reply #26 on: April 14, 2018, 11:59:28 AM »
What's the size and breed of the dog?  Is the dog getting any exercise other than the noontime walk?  If you're giving the dog a 30 minute walk (or other form of exercise) before and after work every day the noontime walk seems overboard.  On the other hand if you're not walking your dog and you want to pay someone to do it then go for it!  The important thing is that the dog gets out and about every day for at least 30 minutes.

Nords

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Re: Alternative to dog walker
« Reply #27 on: April 14, 2018, 01:26:50 PM »
Here's a data point.

My brother just reached FI and sold The Barkway, a Denver dog daycare business he's run for the last 13 years.  Three years ago they dramatically expanded to a new site, and even had to add a bigger parking lot. 

I visited several years ago and remember that the staff divides the dogs among 3-4 areas by size, age, temperament, & activity-- some dogs want to run around all day with the pack, others want to nap in the corner.  (Keeping them separate avoided problems.)  Each group of dogs had their turn at an outdoor playground, where of course the dogs were always re-marking their territory for the other groups of dogs to explore and re-re-mark.  Owners could check in on their dogs via several webcams.  The business also offered dog-washing stations (by the owners or by the staff), a former veterinarian on the staff, and overnight & weekend boarding.

Apparently there's a demand for this service, both from the dog owners as well as their dogs.

My brother plans to continue part-time dog walking with a few favorite clients.  I'm not sure whether he's referring to the owners or their dogs.

Lmoot

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Re: Alternative to dog walker
« Reply #28 on: April 15, 2018, 03:36:21 AM »
Can you explore work from home options within or outside of the company? If you wake up earlier and spend time with doggo in the morning, doing high-energy activities, maybe you can get him to nap while you're at work. The only thing is, if he was accustomed to having an afternoon walk, this could possibly be a decrease in quality of life. Do you have any retired neighbors that can just take him outside and back in again? Many older people love dogs/animals, but don't have the resources to care for them full time, and enjoy being of assistance. It would be good to have someone nearby who knows you and your dog anyway, in case there's an issue in the future and you don't have the ability or possibly funds, to get someone to professionally look after your dog.

I don't have dogs, but I have a very needy parrot. I've been working from home for over a year now and the thing is crazy with happiness at having his favorite person around; I dread for his sake, the day I ever need to work full time outside of the home. I don't let him sit with me all day, but instead "visit" him during my breaks so he can continue to learn how to self-entertain. But lots of toys, and other birds that live in the house, plus radio and TV (and the fact that he can crap freely), keeps him occupied on the rare times I'm away for an extended period of time. I always felt sorry for people that had to rush home to "let the dog out", and it's one of the reasons I've never personally picked a dog as a companion.
« Last Edit: April 15, 2018, 03:38:04 AM by Lmoot »

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Re: Alternative to dog walker
« Reply #29 on: April 15, 2018, 05:18:19 AM »
Get a live-in spouse who works from home!