Running my own pet sitting/dog walking business is wonderful! I get to spend my days mostly outside, with all kinds of animals, and the animals I get to spend my days with love to see me almost every single time, and why not? They get my attention, walks, playtime, and treats! It doesn’t come without a few challenges though! Mostly what you would think, pups that pull, kitties that aren’t quite sure of people that aren’t theirs, random messes that you weren’t expecting… Every once in awhile there is an animal or situation that is a bit trickier. With time, patience, flexibility and persistence situations can be resolved, at least most of the time.
Dogs that pull, I wait or change direction, I reward them with a “good pup”, a pat, moving forward, letting them sniff, or a treat when they have a loose leash. Cats, and dogs that aren’t as comfy with someone new, I wait again. I don’t try to approach or pet them, I go about freshening water, adding food to their dish, or changing litter boxes. Most of the time, they get curious enough to come check me out, even if they aren’t ready to be pet, they can sniff my hands or feet. If they are obviously, extremely uncomfortable, I will leave them be and let their person know. Messes don’t really need to be explained…
For the “once in awhile” situations, there is a bit more brainstorming required. One example is a great dog who I get to visit often, his person has me walk him everyday that he is working to ensure he is getting exercise, and to alleviate boredom. You see, this pup is extremely smart and when bored he can get himself into a bit of trouble! To relieve his boredom, he likes to open the fridge! Yes, the fridge! Funny enough he usually doesn’t eat anything, just likes to take a few things out! He sometimes even shuts the door when he is done! His person and I thought of more then a few solutions, child locks for the fridge, placing food in the drawers to make it more difficult to get, putting something in front of the fridge, longer walks, etc. Through trial and error, we have figured that for the most part he is simply bored in the morning! I now walk him twice a day, he never gets into the fridge after his morning walk! I get there before his boredom strikes and reward him every time I arrive and he hasn’t gotten into anything. Like most things, the solution isn’t perfect, it still happens but not often. It took some time to figure out and some wasted food… but we are on our way to success and avoiding frustration by laughing about it. I commend his person for the patience he has shown his dog, I know there must have been days it was difficult!
The messes and time were absolutely worth it to help figure out a solution, to make most days just a little easier for a dog and his person.