Six months in ... how time flies!!
I was just sorting through my files the other day and I saw that I have already passed the six month mark of starting up Time 4 A Walk. I can't believe it - the time has literally flown by. Of course I did have the little break (in more than one sense of the word) when my two fingers got broken but that was way back in September. I have since found out that broken fingers is a common dog walking injury and often times it is due to extendable leads .... enough said.
Despite the disgusting weather we have been enjoying, I am so pleased with my chosen job. I get to be outside every day with your wonderful dogs and really do consider myself very lucky. I am building up a real bond with my regulars now and it really makes me smile when I pick them up .... they are so excited to see me! Even if it is chucking down outside they are obviously happy to get out for a walk and have some fun with me. The picture below was taken by my son who comes out walking with me when on holidays. He's very good actually - so good I have to pay him!! For the eagle eyed of you yes, I do have 5 dogs but that is because he was with me to help - my limit still is 4 unless I have help.
I am amazingly happy that I followed my gut feeling and went for the 'adventure walk' style of dog walking. We never go to the same place two days running and I am continuing to find new places for us to explore. I am a great one for wandering off the beaten track and finding my own way. I haven't got lost yet, though last week I couldn't say with certainty where I was!! The dogs don't ever complain though and the beauty of having the longer time slots is if we do wander off course no harm is done.
For those of you who don't have their dog out walking with me, you may be wondering what on earth an adventure walk is. Basically I come and pick your dog up along with up to 3 others and we head off to various locations and play! That's it. I now don't go to busy places like Vassells Park but my places are all off the beaten track. No road work is involved (unless we have to go along a lane to get to a footpath) and I always take the dogs off lead. We explore together and many times I let them choose where we are going and I tag along behind!
Playing takes many different forms. I don't take a ball with me although sometimes one of the dogs will pick up a stick and run with it. I don't have a problem with that as long as they don't go gnawing at it in which case I remove it as a choke hazard. I scatter feed treats, as well as hide them in tree trunks etc for the dogs to find. Some of my dogs like Cocker Spaniels really love this and their tail swings away with happiness with nose to the ground! I also carry high value treats like sausages, Primula (light of course!), liver paste etc which ensures that the dogs' recall is on point!
An important part of my walks is just letting the dogs sniff. I NEVER hurry them along if they are happy doing this as it is just so important to them. They have all the time in the world and if it means the walk over runs then so be it - I don't clock watch and let the dog have the time s/he needs. Sniffing is so important to our furry friends. I definitely find it calms them down when the energy levels have gone up a bit too high.
My Hozelock shower has been a good investment as has, of course, my trusty little Caddy van. Being able to shower down the legs and tummy of each dog makes a real difference and I feel much happier being able to leave the dogs at home without their owners coming back to find the furniture etc covered in mud! I obviously can't do a finish like you would get from a grooming salon, but I do my best!
Anyhow, here's to the next six months and lots more adventures. If anyone would like to find out more please get in touch as I do have a couple of time slots available. Ali and Whiz x