Dog walker lost my dog

(21 Posts)
GhostsToMonsoon Thu 24-Jan-19 13:40:32

My 5-month-old puppy was with the dog walker this morning. She's only been twice before, as I only work two mornings per week and normally my mum can have her.
They were on a field when another dog ran up and started fighting with one of the dog walker's dogs (I think she had 3 or 4 with her). My dog got scared and ran away. I came back from work and we were all looking for her, but she had walked herself home (about 1 mile), crossing a main road on the way. We have only walked back from there about 3 times, so I'm quite impressed she remembered the way.

Anyway, now I'm worried about leaving her with a dog-walker again. (My mum doesn't let her off the lead). With me, her recall is normally fine, and it had been with the dog walker this morning. Would it be better to try a different walker? I suppose this could have happened to anyone. I only need planned to have her go once a month or so, building up to when we go away for a weekend in June.

OP’s posts: |
Lichtie Thu 24-Jan-19 13:44:07

Personally I would probably just let it go, puppies can be a pain and do runners from time to time. I assume you vetted the dog walker first and were happy with them?

Our dog walker asks for permission to do off lead walks otherwise doesn't let them off. Had you discussed it?

BiteyShark Thu 24-Jan-19 13:50:29

I know my opinion on this is probably very different to lots of others but I think this can happen with any dog walker when they are off lead.

Dogs can get spooked. If you go to another dog walker and allow them to walk off lead the same thing might happen again. I presume the dog walker contacted you straight away which is what I would want.

My own personal take is that if I give my walker permission to walk off lead there will always be a risk (I have two dog walkers) which is why I have to sign a form to say that they can take the lead off.

I think the only way to minimise this fully is to never be off lead OR to reduce it further by only have individual walks so they only concentrate on your dog (but even then they could get spooked and bolt)

Whitney168 Thu 24-Jan-19 14:05:13

Did you sign a disclaimer to say the dog walker could let your dog off the lead? I would personally never do this anyway, but even if I would I am very surprised that ANY dog walker would allow a 5 month old puppy they'd walked twice off the lead.

Anyway, whatever you did or didn't sign would have been no use if your dog was run over, so that's by the by, I guess.

First and foremost, obviously never use this dog walker again. When you are looking for a new one, do NOT permit them to let your dog off the lead again until they have built a relationship and your dog is a lot more reliable than any 5 month old puppy.

Personally I would never let my dogs out with anyone who takes multiple dogs. Far too much scope for lack of control.

GhostsToMonsoon Thu 24-Jan-19 14:50:57

The dog walker was recommended to me by a friend, and she has very good reviews on her Facebook page. I was asked when my puppy went for a trial morning if she was OK off-lead. I remember being a bit surprised that she was brave enough to let a dog she'd just met off the lead. I didn't sign a disclaimer. I wish now I'd asked for her to be kept on the lead to avoid the risk of her running off and will ask for her to be kept on the lead in future to avoid this happening again. She said that before she got spooked, my puppy had been having a great time playing with the other dogs, and her recall had been fine.

The dog walker did contact me straight away, but as we've been using Facebook Messenger for contact she didn't actually have my phone number. I should have given it to her (and my address so she could have checked outside my house) and I think she should have also made sure she has this information - of course it is on the tag, but that's no use when the dog isn't there.

I will have to see if there are any local dog walkers who only take one or two dogs out, or could look at BorrowMyDoggy - most local walkers seem to take multiple dogs out at once.

Although I sometimes think it would be great to be paid to walk dogs, this is why I wouldn't want to be a dog walker - I would be paranoid about losing someone's dog.

OP’s posts: |
cowfacemonkey Thu 24-Jan-19 14:55:54

Bit odd that she doesn't keep your phone number and address details. I would expect to sign a disclaimer about walking off lead as well. Have your seen copies of her insurance/dbs? Did you sign anything about authorising her to make decisions about vet treatment?

When my dog walker visited for a meet and greet she filled out quite a bit of paper work and gave me copies of her insurance and policies etc.

BiteyShark Thu 24-Jan-19 14:57:24

It's a balance because my dog gets a lovely play with dogs off lead and he benefits from that as that is the only time he meets other dogs.

However, there is always a risk which I take but others wouldn't.

If your dog doesn't need to be walked at lunch time which is the most sort after time and typically when group walks happen, then you might find it easier to get an individual walk (which you usually pay extra for).


BiteyShark Thu 24-Jan-19 14:59:22

Oh and same as cowfacemonkey I had to sign to say off lead, she has my phone number and also vet details and authorisation.

Whitney168 Thu 24-Jan-19 15:01:28

I know professionalism isn't all when dealing with animals, but to me this dog walker sounds entirely unprofessional. Is she fully insured, DBS checked etc.?

Not taken something as basic as your phone number? Has she asked for medical details, character traits, vet details, etc.?

She might be lovely, but she sounds unprofessional and has shown a serious lack of judgement.

adaline Thu 24-Jan-19 16:19:46

My walker doesn't let my dog off the lead for this precise reason. He says he's had owners in the past who say their dog is fine off-lead and he then has to spend hours of his time trying to get the dog back!

He generally is okay off-lead but I don't think it's fair to put all the responsibility on my walkers' shoulders. My husband and I both work upto an hour away from home and neither of us have jobs where we could easily leave because the dog was lost or injured, so we minimise the risk by asking he's kept on-lead for walks!

Lichtie Thu 24-Jan-19 18:02:49

How do they pick up your dog if they don't know where you live?

My dog walker is the least professional person you could ever meet. But he is great with the dog and the dog loves him. I've never had to sign any paperwork either.

You gave permission for your dog to be off lead. I want our dog on an off lead walk, but I can see why others don't.

GhostsToMonsoon Thu 24-Jan-19 18:40:20

Lichtie - I drop her off at the dog walker's house.

OP’s posts: |
mrsjoyfulprizeforraffiawork Thu 24-Jan-19 20:13:01

I've had 3 dogwalkers over the years for current dog and previous dog. I have always told them they are NOT to let the dog off the lead. I figure that if the dog gets run over I will always regret allowing them to walk them off lead. The dog is off lead a lot of times when she is with me so she's not missing out. I do think one of the dogwalkers and the holiday boarder are fed up that I insist on this but I don't care! Also, if I did dogwalking for other people I would definitely never let their dogs off the lead. I've never done any paperwork with any of these people. I would definitely not send my dog back to that dogwalker again if I were you OP.

AlpacaLypse Sat 26-Jan-19 10:03:24

Your walker sounds like a lovely person who hasn't however got herself set up properly with insurance etc. I have insurance that covers me to walk up to six dogs at a time, but only with the owner's written permission. The form we fill in when first taking a dog on is two pages long. We start the whole process by going for a walk together with some of the regulars, so we can assess how new dog behaves and new owner has a chance to see what we do, how we do it and ask questions.

Maelstrop Sat 26-Jan-19 10:33:52

A friend who’s a dog walker doesn’t let dogs off. To let off a 5 month old puppy is just dumb, IMO.

BiteyShark Sat 26-Jan-19 16:50:31

My dog went off lead with my dog walker around that age encouraged by me because we had trained recall to the whistle and she continued that training (yes he lost recall again when he hit his teens but that's normal teenage dog behaviour).

Helen561 Sat 26-Jan-19 18:48:08

I have used a dog walker in the past and she offered sole walks or multiple but the sole walks would be slightly more expensive I think it’s just such a scary situation for anyone involved my puppy’s recall was really good we had that for about 4 months until we went on our usual walk with her buddy and a bird scared went off the buddy stayed with us but she panicked and ran all the way home I think it’s just sometimes of of those things

Smotheroffive Sat 26-Jan-19 22:51:08

I have read some of the posts after yours OP, and I have to say, since the advent of dog walkers I have come across more looking for lost ddogs than I ever have with owners. This told me never to use one.

As for letting a 5mth pup off lead after only two prev visits with a lot of other ddogs, no, just no. I would only do that with my own known to be reliable together ddogs, as it helps dpups to follow their lead in that sense, and increases the chances of dpup keeping with us, but with a load of others' ddogs, nope.

So relieved when I read your OP of ddog running off, to hear that it ran home to you! ..and safely too!

Pissedoffdotcom Sat 26-Jan-19 22:57:28

I'm shocked that she let him off lead after TWO walks. Especially at such a young age.

Your walker doesn't sound very professional either. You should have signed paperwork for her to walk your dog for starters otherwise she might not be covered under her PL insurance for your dog! She should have ALL of your contact info too

TheCounter Sun 27-Jan-19 04:40:59

Bit a decent harness and insist that your pup is wearing it at the end of a lead at all times.
I would never allow a dog walker to have my dog running off lead and I wouldn't use one that thinks it's OK to have any off when they're walking more than one.

Find someone that takes the role seriously

Spicylolly Mon 28-Jan-19 18:04:56

Professional dog walker here..... When a client takes me on we both sign a contract stating whether their dog is an off lead dog or not (as well as emergency numbers, vets, addresses of an emergency contact etc) but even if they are an off lead dog I don't let them until I know that dog inside out (& the owners knows this) and I'd never let a dog under a year old off lead anyway. She does sound unprofessional I'm afraid and I'd be looking for a new walker, one that preferably walks less dogs in one go and who uses a long line lead to keep your pup safe x

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