How to Train Your Dog to Attack

Dogs are brought into our homes for a lot of reasons like safety, security and loyal companionship. Proper training, exercise and time should be given to our puppies to ensure obedient behavior as dog develops. While there are a lot of professional trainers for dogs, some dog owners prefer that they personally train their puppies themselves.

Dog attack training is training program wherein the trainers train the dog to attack not because of fear and danger but to defend their masters or when they receive a command to do so. Selective aggression and agility training is the mainstay of attack dog training. Dog trainers and handlers consummate this special training to ensure that the dogs become good protectors of property and able to guard their masters when in danger.

There are various reasons why we all want a guard dog in our household. A well trained guard dog is a valuable family member who will work the extra mile just to protect the family members/housemates and possessions. Bringing a guard dog at home entails a whole lot of responsibility though.

When provoked, dogs can be ferocious and aggressive rivals. A well-trained guard dog can use that ability to protect you, your family and your home. Although training a protection or attack dog takes a very high level of expertise, there are ways to prepare your dog for the training.

If you would like to train your dog to attack, you should know that you will be financially or medically liable for any harm that your dog does to someone if it attacks them. Training your dog to attack is a big responsibility.. In most cases if you wish to have a properly trained attack dog, owners seek out a dog that has been trained by a professional who can teach them how to give commands to the dog. Attack dogs usually come from specific breeders and bloodlines and they have been bred for generations for their specific skills. It takes dogs with particularly stable temperaments to be good attack dogs. Otherwise a dog may not be reliable and could harm you or someone in your family, or a friend.

The most important factor to consider if you would like a guard dog is to choose the right breed. Some of the most effective protection dogs are Staffordshire terriers, German and Belgian shepherds, Dobermans, and Rottweilers. You may want to choose a dog that is naturally suspicious and alert that will be a part of the family and will consider you as the pack leader. Starting with a dog inclined to be adaptable, obedient and protective will go a long way when it is time for its training to protect you.

As man’s best friend, dogs have the loyalty and natural tendency to shield their masters. With proper training method, you can teach your dog to attack on command. An attack dog’s mission is to provide personal protection against any threat or danger.

If you would like to train your dog to attack, you can follow the steps below:

1. Talk to a breeder who breeds attack dogs and see about obtaining a puppy from bloodlines mentioned above or the likes. A dog from one of these breeders will be more likely to turn out a good attack dog as an adult as it has the necessary skills and temperament you are looking for.

2. Work with a professional protection dog trainer. This trainer will help you educate your dog basic obedience commands such as Sit, Down, Stay, and Heel. Your dog must be well-grounded in basic obedience before beginning in protection work. You must always have your dog under full control at all times. Dogs doing attack work are never in a frenzy. They are always performing under full control.

3. Your dog should be apathetic with stranger and other animals. Your dog should not be too overly friendly and or threatening to other dogs. This requires a dog with an unruffled and balanced temperament who is not easily aggravated. Your dog should ignore other people and animals unless you give them the command to interact or play with them.

4. Working with the professional trainer, you would need to work on your dog’s bite work. You can start with a bite stick and the like and then gradually graduate to working with a person wearing a bite suit. At first, the dog should be on-leash for this training and then you can eventually work on off-leash. Teach your dog to bite the arms and legs of the suit as this is the best way to stop an intruder.

5. It is important that you dog respond to one-word command to attack and to stop the attack. You will need to consistently to use the same commands during trainings.

6. You and your dog can move up to simulating attacks by working with someone wearing the bite suit. Practice giving your dog the command to attack and reward your dog when he attacks as commanded. Always praise your dog and reward him when he lets go and stops the attack as commanded. Move on eventually to training your dog to attack when he sees you as being attacked by the person wearing the bite suit. You dog will need to be taught that he is supposed to protect you when he sees you in danger. He needs to learn to act on his own conviction that you need help.

You need to work hard with your dog to achieve reliable and consistent results. Make sure that you do not half finish the attack training as this can be dangerous to you and others. It’s important to choose a good dog for training and to finish the training that you start. Working with a good professional trainer can make a big difference in how well your dog turns out as an attack dog.

Factors to Consider

1. Socialization

This may be one of the most important aspects for a future guard dog. It is imperative that the your puppy is exposed to as many new people, things, animals and places as possible. The process of puppy socialization must continue throughout your dog’s life. Because these guard dog breeds are naturally wary of new people and things, it is important that they have these experiences because it can help them decipher what is and what is not a threat.

2. Obedience Training
Your dog must begin the rudiments of obedience training at an early age, preferably the first day. Contrary to popular belief, most dogs can be accurately and well trained in a primarily positive manner using motivation based training. It is crucial that the dog has a solid groundwork of obedience skills and reliably performs them in all environments. Clicker training is a fantastic and valuable way to train your young puppy.
3. Clear cut leadership
Protection or guard dogs must have a clear and defined leadership. Because of their self-assured nature, without the proper training and defined leadership roles, guarding breeds can quickly take over a household. Often times, displays of defiance, unruliness, and unfortunately, misdirected aggression can occur.

In a Nutshell..
There is absolutely nothing wrong in wanting to own a dog but you have to have valid reasons why you want one. If you want a nice, family pet but can provide protection, there is a list of dog breeds that can do the job without having to go through the rigorous dog attack training. Whatever decision that you make, make sure that you have done enough research on your chosen dog breed and you will have enough time to train and be a master to your dog. It would also be helpful if you can get professional help when selecting and training a guard dog.

For more information about dog breeds and dog common dog problems, please visit []

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9 Things You Can Do Now to Keep Your Dog Safer

Shih Tzu happens and dogs get lost. You think it won’t happen to your dog, but it happens every single day. Our dogs can’t navigate all the dangers around them, they rely on us to keep them safe. Short of keeping them locked in a bubble, how can we keep our pets safe? These 9 tips can help you keep them safe.

TAGS + MICROCHIP = Get Home Safe. It amazes me how many people remove a dog’s collar for one reason or another; they don’t like the noise it makes when the dog shakes, they bathe the dog and forget to put the collar back on, or any number of other reasons. I’m also amazed at how easily a dog can slip out of a collar or harness when highly motivated. I have seen terrified pooches slip out of collars and harnesses as their flight drive kicks in. Your dog should always wear a collar with updated tags. If a collar breaks off, which is not uncommon, a microchip can identify your pet. A microchip is tiny and takes only seconds to put in. Any veterinarian or shelter can scan for a microchip. It’s administered similarly to a vaccination, any vet can do it and most shelters offer it for about half the price of a vet, which ranges from approximately $20 – $75. Do you love your dog twenty bucks worth? Micro chipping and a collar with tags together can make the difference between your pet being linked back to you and getting home safe… or not. Make certain you update your phone number and address with the Microchip company if you move. Nothing screams “I’ve been abandoned” louder than a dog with no collar and tags. People will often pick up a dog wandering around without a collar and tags. If they like the dog enough, they may justify keeping him to themselves. A good samaritan may think your dog is abandoned or lost and deliver him right to the nearest animal shelter.

PLAN AHEAD FOR UNEXPECTED OCCURRENCES IN YOUR HOME. When something unsettling is happening in the house it can stress your dog out and potentially cause him to run off and get lost. Dogs may become frightened if workmen are in the home doing work, if furniture and boxes are being packed up for moving day, or a group of family or friends unexpectedly visit the home. Guests or workers often inadvertently leave doors or gates open long enough for a dog to slip out. Leave your dog with a trusted family member or friend, place him in doggie day camp, or board him until the household is calm and back to normal.

KEEP YOUR DOG LEASHED. I know people love to let their dogs off leash so they can be “free to run”, but don’t take chances. If signs tell you to keep your dog leashed, please keep her leashed. Not only can your dog get enticed by a number of small animals, people running, or other distractions and take off, but off leash dogs can be picked up by Animal Control in public places where they are supposed to be leashed. An unleashed dog is scary to most people, even the authorities. They don’t know that your dog is loving and friendly and is only bounding towards them at warp speed to say hi. Their reaction might be to defend themselves against your sweet pooch. Don’t let your beloved dog become a statistic – always obey leash laws and regulations both close to home and everywhere else.

PAY ATTENTION AT THE DOG PARK! I love taking my dogs to the dog park and I enjoy chatting with the other dog moms and dads there. My girl Isis loves to greet new dogs as they enter the park, so I’m always on guard if she gets close to the gate. Lots of dogs are just like Isis, they love to crowd the entry gate as new dogs enter. It’s easy for someone to open the gate and not realize, or not care, that your dog has slipped out while you are at the other end of the park deep in conversation with other dog parents. It only takes a second for a dog to slip through the gate and run off.

TEACH THE WAIT AND EMERGENCY RECALL COMMANDS. In addition to teaching your dog to reliably come when called, teach the “wait” command and have an “emergency recall” command. These simple commands can save your dog’s life. If your dog spots a bird, squirrel, or other moving object they may dart across a street, hop a fence, or jump out of the car and lay chase for many blocks. They can be hit by a car, injure themselves while running, or quickly lose their sense of direction. Make sure your dog reliably comes when you call him. One of the keys to this is not calling your dog when it’s time to leave the park, have a bath, or go to the vet. That can reduce their positive reaction to you calling them, so when it’s bath or vet time rather than calling your dog to you, go and get him instead. Teach your dog to always wait at the door or inside the car until you give the go ahead for him to exit. In the event that something is just too enticing and your dog takes off, tuning you out, have an emergency recall command. This is a one or two word command that immediately snaps them to attention and makes them run right to you because the reward for coming to you is irresistible. My dogs’ emergency recall is “Danger! Danger!” They know that whenever they hear that phrase they will receive delicious bacon. It is the only time they get bacon, which is what makes it different from the “Come!” command I use on a near daily basis. It really gets their attention, even if there’s a squirrel in their sights!

PARTY HEARTY BUT SAFELY. If you throw a party, keep your pet in mind as you plan the party. Graduations, birthdays, and holiday parties are wonderful occasions that enrich our lives. However we can easily get distracted while hosting our event. Pets can find it unsettling to see their home fill up with people, some of whom they don’t know. Fireworks on the 4th of July and trick-or-treaters on Halloween can be especially frightening to pets. Loud noises and people wearing hats or costumes are things that many pets find scary. Have a plan to keep your dog safe and secure during parties. This is another good time to consider boarding, pet sitting, or day camp. If you don’t want to remove your pet from family festivities, designate one person to keep an eye on the dog at all times. Don’t load that person up with other party duties as well. If you decide to just lock your dog in another room, place a large sign on the door to ensure no one opens it by mistake, and check on the dog often!

AN UNATTENDED DOG IS AN INVITATION FOR DISASTER. If gardeners, housekeepers, or workers of any kind are in your home or yard be sure to double check that all doors and fences have been secured after they leave. Every time. Don’t expect them to reliably remember to close & latch gates or doors – ultimately it’s your pet and your responsibility, not theirs. Never leave your dog unattended in the yard, in the car, or tied up outside a store. It’s a sad fact that not only do dogs get lost every day, but they get stolen every day as well. According to Petfinder, as many as 2 million animals are stolen each year. We have even had puppies stolen from the shelter! What kind of person would steal an animal from a shelter? What kind of person would break into your car and steal your dog? What kind of person would steal your dog right out of your yard? What kind of person would reach over to pet your dog outside a store, unclip their leash and make off with him? Your dog doesn’t need to be an expensive purebred to tempt unscrupulous people to justify snatching him. “My girlfriend always wanted a dog like this”. “I got it for my Mom, she’s lonely”. “They left that poor dog tied up in the yard, hot/cold car, or outside a store, they’re cruel and don’t deserve him”. Don’t give unscrupulous, misguided people any opportunity to steal your precious dog!

NEVER, EVER LEAVE YOUR DOG ALONE IN A CAR. A dog can quickly get into trouble when left alone in a car. They can get heat exhaustion or freeze in only a few minutes. They can also be stolen out of your car. In addition, in many states you can be charged with Animal Cruelty for leaving your dog unattended in a car. That could cost you a bundle, it’s not worth it. On a recent trip we were at a gas station. A woman and her daughter left their Chihuahua in the car with the windows open a few inches. As soon as they went inside the dog jumped right out the window, narrowly missing a truck pulling out. The poor little thing just needed to relieve himself and just couldn’t wait long enough for them to return. Their dog was nearly flattened by that truck! They should have taken turns going inside to use the restroom instead.

SPAY AND NEUTER! Spaying and neutering your dog will help prevent the enormous number of unwanted puppies that end up in shelters every Spring and Summer, which is puppy and kitten season at shelters. Neutering reduces your dog’s desire to get out and roam the neighborhood, and can reduce unwarranted aggression between males. Dogs that are spayed/neutered have fewer health issues as well. Spaying and neutering can also curtail theft, since a dog that is spayed or neutered cannot be bred for profit, which is a goal of some thieves. You don’t have to wait for a dog to be a certain age to spay/neuter, they just need to be about 4 pounds in weight. There are many common myths about spaying and neutering. For example, people used to think it was healthier to wait until a dog has her first heat or her first litter, but that is a myth. Also, the risk of an unwanted litter gets higher the longer you wait to spay a dog. A male dog can scent a female in heat from as far as 3 miles away! Check out the Humane Society’s web site,, for more reasons to spay and neuter and to see a list of common myths about spaying and neutering.

Practice these safety tips to keep your precious dog safe at all times!

Catherine Armato, Extreme Dog Lover

For more tips and stories please visit my blog, Dogs Luv Us and We Luv Them, a blog for dog lovers and the dogs who love us, at

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Foods Not To Give To Your Dog

While it is tempting to share your food with your fury family member, you should be aware that many of the human foods are poisonous for dogs. You should avoid ordering foods for your dog from the below menu.


Baby Food – Many people try to give baby foods especially to pups when they are not feeling well. Baby foods are not bad in general. However, you should make sure the baby food you are giving does not contain any onion powder. Also, baby foods do not contain all the necessary nutrients for a healthy dog.

Chewing Gum – Most chewing gum contains a sugar called Xylitol which has no effects on humans. However, it can cause a surge of insulin in dogs that drops a dog’s blood sugar to dangerous level. If your dog eats large amount of gums, it can damage liver, kidney or worse.

Candy – Many of the candies also contain Xylitol, the same type of sugar as Chewing gum. So, keep candies and chewing gums away from the reach of your dogs and puppies.

Chocolate – Chocolates are considered poisonous for dogs. Chocolates contain caffeine and theobromine which can be toxic for your dog. Chocolates can cause panting, vomiting, and diarrhea, and damage your dog’s heart and nervous systems.

Corn on the cob – Dogs can eat Corn, but not the cob. Most dogs cannot digest cob easily, which can cause intestinal obstruction, a very serious and possibly fatal medical condition if not treated immediately.

Macadamia Nuts – Macadamia nuts also known as Australia Nuts can cause weakness, depression, vomiting, tremors and hyperthermia in dogs.

Mushrooms – Mushrooms are tricky. While some types of Mushrooms are fine, others can be toxic for dogs. Some types of mushrooms can cause serious stomach issues for dogs. As a cautious dog owner, you should try to avoid giving mushrooms to your dog.

Tobacco – Never give tobacco to your dog. The effects of nicotine on dogs are much more worse than humans. The toxic level of nicotine in dogs is 5 milligrams of nicotine per pound of body weight. In dogs, 10 mg/kg is potentially lethal.

Cooking dough – Raw bread dough made with live yeast can be hazardous if ingested by dogs. When raw dough is swallowed, the warm, moist environment of the stomach provides an ideal environment for the yeast to multiply, resulting in an expanding mass of dough in the stomach. Expansion of the stomach may be severe enough to decrease blood flow to the stomach wall, resulting in the death of tissue.

Rotten food -Spoiled food have mold and other bacteria which can cause serious damage to your dog’s health.


Cooked Bones – While raw bones are beneficial for your dog’s teeth, cooked bones can be dangerous for your pup. Cooked bones are more brittle, which means it is highly likely they might splinter and cause internal injury to your dog.

Cat Food – A little cat food eaten by your dog may not be an issue. However, you feed cat food regularly to your dog, it can cause some health issues. Cat foods usually have higher level of protein and fat which are not healthy for dogs.

Fat Trimmings – Meat fat trimmings, cooked or raw can cause pancreatitis in dogs.

Liver – Feeding liver occasionally might be OK, but do not feed too much liver to your dog. Excessive consumption of liver can adversely affect your dog’s muscles and bones.

Yeast – As mentioned earlier, too much of yeast could rupture your dog’s stomach and intestines.

Dairy Products – Some dogs would be fine with dairy products. However, dogs generally have relatively poor levels of tolerance to lactose which is found in milk. As a result, it can cause diarrhea and other digestive issues.


Alcohol – You should not even let your dog taste any kind of alcohol, let alone consume it in large quantity. The main ingredients used in beer, wine, and other alcoholic beverages are toxics and dangerous for dogs. Alcohol can cause poor breathing, abnormal acidity, intoxication, lack of coordination and even coma and/or death for a dog.

Coffee – Too much Coffee can be poisonous for your dog. Common signs of a coffee overdose include vomiting, tremors, restlessness and rapid heart rate. In severe cases, seizures can appear. It’s possible for dogs to collapse if high amounts of caffeine have been consumed.

Milk – Many dogs especially puppy drink milk. Most dogs may not experience any issues with milk, but some dogs may be intolerant to lactose found in milk. Dogs allergic to lactose may experience upset tummy and other allergic reactions after drinking milk.

Citrus Oil Extracts – Oil extracts from citrus fruits such as oranges, lemons and limes can cause irritation in your dogs digestive system especially if consumed in large quantities. Dogs may experience diarrhea, vomiting, drooling, and trembling.


Apple Seeds – Apple seeds contain amygdlin, a form of cyanide. It can hinder blood from carrying oxygen throughout the body. Keep your pup away from apple seeds.

Avocado – Avocado fruit, its pit and plant are toxic for dogs. Avocado damages heart, lung and other tissue in dogs in addition to stomach upset, vomiting and pancreatitis.

Grapes & Raisins – Dogs usually get allergic reactions after eating grapes and raising. Dogs may experience vomiting, fatigue, diarrhea, and possibly kidney failure.

Onions – Onions are dangerous for dogs. Try to avoid feeding onions (raw or cooked) to your dog. If the dog eats a small amount of onions every day for many days, it may gradually develop anemia over weeks to months.

Chives – Chives can cause hemolysis, anemia, or hemoglobinuria in your dog. Some of the symptoms of too much chives consumption include weakness, lethargy, pale mucous membranes and discolored (red to brown) urine.

Peaches – Dogs may not experience any issues if they just consume peach flesh. However, pits of peaches are toxic to dogs. They may cause your dog to experience dilated pupils, dizziness and excessive drooling.

Plums – Stems, leaves, and seeds of plums are toxic for dogs. Dogs may experience brick red mucous membranes, dilated pupils, difficulty breathing, panting, and shock.

Tomato Leaves – The leaves of a tomato plant contain the glycoalkaloids alpha-tomatine and dehydrotomatine which are toxic for dogs. Some of the symptoms of eating tomato leaves include; drooling, stomach upset, diarrhea, vomiting and changes in his behavior. Tremors or seizures could also occur if your pup has consumed too much tomato leaves.


Raw Fish / Fish in general – Some amount of fish in your dog’s diet may not cause any issues. However, If fish are fed exclusively or in high amounts to your dog can result in a thiamine (a B vitamin) deficiency leading to loss of appetite, seizures, and in severe cases, death.


Human vitamins – Some human vitamins can be toxic for pets, in particular those that are fat soluble like vitamins A, D and E. Also, iron tablets can damage the digestive system lining, and prove poisonous for the liver and kidneys of your dog. So, keep your vitamins away from your dog especially puppies.

Human Snacks – Some of the human snacks might use ingredients such as onion and garlic powder, raisins, chocolate which could be toxic for dogs. Try to give your furry friend snacks and treats made just for them instead of sharing yours.

If your dog has an emergency after eating or drinking something, please call your veterinarian immediately.

Sarfaraz Nasir is a development officer for Petboro Pet Resort and Kennels in Bangalore, India. We provide home cooked food to all our canine guests when they vacation with us. Our goal is to make sure they stay healthy while having fun!

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If you work more than 6 hours a day and own a dog, you need a dog walker!

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Urban life can be hard for dogs. Many of us keep pets in cramped city apartments and work long hours, resulting in a dogs life which is a far cry from that of a rural or suburban dog who usually has an outside yard to roam during the day — or if they’re really lucky, acres of open land in which to frolic.

Yet there is no reason why a city dog cannot enjoy a fantastic quality of life. Living in the city has its disadvantages but also brings with it levels of stimulation — sights, sounds and smells — which suburban or rural dogs never get to experience. City dogs are also also blessed with far more social opportunities, whether they be with other dogs on the street or with a pack of their buddies at the local dog park or dog run.

But many owners work long hours and enjoy active social lives, meaning long periods in which their pets are alone. For a dog, this means hours of inactivity — especially in a small apartment or studio which has little space to play or run.

For this reason, most urban dog owners hire a dog walker. Having someone take your dog out for exercise and relief at least once a day makes all the difference. It breaks up those long solitary hours and gives your dog a chance to get out into the fresh air, stretch their legs and burn off some of the calories they have ingested for breakfast. For many dogs, their daytime dog walker is their daytime buddy.

But with the profession of dog walking becoming more and more popular, there are increasing numbers of dog walkers to choose from in cities. Dog walking and pet sitting services are springing up everywhere and in most cities dog owners are spoiled for choice. Yet all dog walking services are not the same — there are differences in quality and type of services provided. Here are some tips for choosing the right dog walker for you:

  • Make sure you know exactly what you want before you start looking It’s important to be clear about the kind of service you want. A large, established dog walking service is likely to provide peace of mind and more security, but if they’re too big you may find their services a little too impersonal — some guarantee the same walker every day, but some don’t. If you want your walker and your dog to build a friendly, trusting relationship, it’s worth asking about this. A good dog walking service will assign a regular dog walker to your dog and inform you of any changes in staffing well ahead of time. The downside is that they may be slightly less flexible with scheduling. On the other hand, a local independent dog walker who works alone is almost guaranteed to build a close relationship with your dog and you are likely to build a friendly relationship with them yourself, which brings familiarity and peace of mind. The disadvantage is that lone walkers rarely have anyone to provide a back up should they become sick or take a vacation.
  • Establish an ideal schedule, then be prepared to compromise Let’s face it, the vast majority of dog owners would prefer their dog to be walked around the middle of the day, which generally means between 11am and 3pm in the dog walking business. This means that midday time slots are in great demand and it’s unlikely that you’ll find someone who can promise your ideal schedule. Be prepared to compromise with a leeway of around an hour either side of your ideal. Additionally, even when you settle on a time you should be aware that dog walking is a profession the nature of which means it is almost impossible to stick to a schedule 100% accurately every day. Walkers often have to travel between dogs and can be held up by a million and one different situations. Don’t be too disappointed if your dog walker arrives a little early or late every day — most of the time it cannot be helped. Be suspicious of any dog walking service that promises punctuality to the minute — most of the time they’re not being honest with you!
  • Dog walking in packs or individually? This is where opinion is split firmly down the middle! It’s a common sight in urban centers like New York City to see pack walkers with up to twelve dogs at a time — but is this really what you want for your dog? The advantage to this kind of service is primarily price — pack walk rates are sometimes half the price of individual or small group walks and sometimes last longer. On the negative side, your dog will not receive anywhere near the same level of attention it would in a smaller group or alone — and often much of the walk is spent sitting tied up in large groups on the sidewalk as the dog walker takes a dog upstairs to its apartment. There is no doubt that there is a strong social aspect to such walks which many dogs enjoy, but for the most part the majority of dog owners prefer their dogs to be walked in smaller packs or alone. Many people also worry about dogs fighting in large packs and while this is rare, it does sometimes happen. An individual, private walk brings with it the walkers undivided attention, but you should also consider that most dogs appreciate some kind of socialization — so consider choosing a service which walks pairs or small groups of no more than three. Many dog walkers will tell you that dogs who have behavioral “issues” on the street with their owners benefit greatly from being walked with another dog, whose presence often acts to “center” the other dog and induce a good level of focus and attention. However, there is no avoiding the fact that some dogs just will not abide the company of other dogs no matter what! At the end of the day you know your own dog better than anyone and the decision is entirely yours to make.

  • Conduct interviews in person Choosing a dog walker is an important decision to make, not least because you’re entrusting the welfare of your precious pet to a stranger but also because the service entails allowing someone access to your apartment on a daily basis. For this reason, you should always look into a number of services and insist on meeting first the business owner, then should you decide to go ahead and use the service, the walker who will be assigned to your dog. A good service will allow you to meet the walker at no cost to yourself. Never feel pressured into agreeing to a schedule over the telephone — you’ll feel much better when you know who you’re dealing with personally. All good dog walking services appreciate that you’re looking around and shopping for a service and will be happy to submit their pitch to compete with others. Don’t be surprised or feel offended if the business owner will not give you full contact details of the walker however — they’re not trying to put one over on you. It’s standard practice in the business to insist that the client conduct all communication (schedule changes, updates etc) through the business owner themselves. This ensures that the owner is kept “in the loop” and is always aware of what’s going on. If you do have the walkers contact details however, it is always good practice to notify the owner of all communication between you to prevent misunderstandings or confusion later.
  • Have questions prepared in advance Before you conduct an interview, make sure you have everything you’re going to ask written down and prepared beforehand. Ask as many questions as you need to feel comfortable. Don’t be afraid to bombard the business owner or walker with requests for information regarding the nature of their service, their philosophy, their practices, their policy and their history. A good dog walking service will also ask you questions about exactly what you want, your likes and dislikes — and most of all, your dog. Make sure they ask you about your dogs nature and about health issues which may be relevant. If they take notes, that’s a good thing! A good dog walking service will keep information about your dog on file, including medical history, favorite treats, command words, things to watch out for, vets information etc. If they don’t seem interested in any of this information then it’s probably a good idea to choose another service. Be sure to get everything out in the open regarding prices and fees. Make certain you’re both on the same page regarding rates and frequency of payment, about any hidden or supplementary fees (many dog walking services have a surcharge for early morning, evening and weekend walks), about their range of availability (do they cover evenings or weekends?) and about their policy regarding cancellations (most services request that you give 24 hours notice to avoid being charged). The last thing you want is to spoil a good relationship with a reliable dog walking service due to a misunderstanding later which should have been cleared up at the beginning.
  • Insist on seeing the walker on a trial walk It’s very important that your dog walker both meets the dog beforehand — and seeing them “in action” with your dog will give you great peace of mind. Not all dog walkers are the same! Some people have a natural affinity with animals and you will see this upon observing dog walker and dog together. Dogs usually have great judgment when it comes to humans and if the walker loves dogs, you’ll see it in the way your dog reacts to them. Seeing them walking together on the street is important and you should check to see that they have adequate control skills and that they hold the leash securely. If the walker grips the leash halfheartedly with three fingers and allows your dog to run around in circles, give them a miss! The safety and well being of your dog comes first and foremost. It’s also a good idea to see how they handle situations with other dogs in the street — a good walker will ask the other owner whether their dog is friendly, and allow your dog to approach cautiously should they wish to sniff each other. Additionally, make sure they pick up after your dog and don’t allow them to spray inappropriate things like cars, doors — and especially lampposts which may carry live current!
  • Establish acceptable dog walking routes from the start It’s important that you let your walker know exactly where you do and don’t find acceptable for your dog to go. If there is a dog park or run nearby, let your walker know whether or not you’re happy with them taking your dog there during the day. Many owners prefer that their dogs are taken to a run where they can play with other dogs, but only you know whether or not your dog is suitable for this kind of socialization. Some walkers like to take a bunch of dogs to the run and spend the next hour sitting down watching them play — if you would prefer a more disciplined kind of street walk then make this clear from the start.

  • Ask for references and make sure they’re insured and bonded Every good dog walking service can supply you with references — other owners who have used their services regularly and are happy. Get the references, and call them! You’ll feel so much better in the long run. It’s also a good idea to ask whether they’re insured and bonded and if so, to let you see their insurance certificates. Their insurance should cover both medical bills should anything happen to your dog in their care, but also liability costs should your dog ever injure someone on the street or cause an accident. Dog walkers rarely have to use their insurance but you’ll feel a lot better knowing it’s there. The fact that they have taken the trouble to get insured is also a good sign that they take the business seriously and are in it for the duration!
  • If you’re worried about allowing someone access to your apartment, set up a web camera! This is a controversial issue with many dog walking services, but more and more home service providers are beginning to accept that home owners feel secure having a small web camera set up to make sure that nothing untoward happens while they’re at work. It’s also great to be able to see what your dog gets up to during the day! If you are going to set up a camera then it’s common decency to inform your walker first. Tell them that you have the camera so that you can watch the dog while you’re at work and try not to emphasize the part about checking up on them! Most dog walkers will be fine with this and if they are not — well, perhaps it’s time to seek out someone new.
  • Relax! Nobody finds choosing a dog walker easy. It’s very common for first time owners to worry themselves half to death for the first few weeks wondering if their dog is OK and that everything is going well. However, if you have followed the steps above and taken the time to choose the walker you’re happiest with, you’ll find that your worry subsides after a couple of weeks and you can get down to the business of going about your day and taking for granted that your dog is in good hands. Do your best to build a friendly relationship with your dog walking service — you’ll feel so much better in the long run. Remember — if they’re dog lovers, they’re going to end up building an attachment to your dog which rivals yours. This is also worth thinking about should you ever wish to discontinue a long running relationship — make sure you give the walker a chance to say “goodbye” to your dog and don’t be surprised if they request photos and even shed a few tears on their last walk together!

So where to start looking? There are plenty of ways to find a dog walker:

  • Check online via a search engine
  • Check online via local classified listings like “Craigslist”
  • Ask at pet stores and vets offices for the business cards of local services
  • Check notice boards in pet stores
  • Ask other dog owners, or stop walkers on the street
  • Ask at your local dog run or dog park
  • Ask in doorman apartment buildings for the names of reputable neighborhood walkers and services

All in all, finding a suitable dog walker for your beloved is not something to be taken lightly — although nor should it be something to overly stress about. At the end of the day, just remember that whatever your opinion of your walker, the most important opinion is that of your dog! A good dog walking service will leave your dog exercised, relieved and above all safe and happy — something which you’ll be able to judge for yourself as soon as you walk through the front door.

King Pup provides professional NYC Dog Walkers in Manhattan. Visit our website for more information about city dog walking.

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