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AIBU to expect this from the dog walker?

48 replies

KallyBox · 09/06/2017 10:39

DH and I adopted an older dog last summer, and immediately sorted a dog walker to visit him three times a week when we are at work.

I work from home one day a week but the day alternates between two - so therefore I booked the dog walker to come on the three days that I am never at home, and arranged for a relative to visit and keep the dog company on the alternating day. This has never been a problem with the dog walker.

However, the dog walkers business is now booming and I've just received an email to say that now they are getting busier, then cannot commit to fixed days any more and will basically email every Saturday night to confirm what days and times they can walk the dog in the upcoming week.

AIBU to expect that they should be able to provide a fixed session? I don't mind what time they come, as long as they have a fixed day. They could now turn around on Saturday and say they can offer sessions on 2 days when I'm at work and one day when I'm at home, which just doesn't work for us. It just seems like shitty customer service to mess around existing customers to make way for new customers.

I could really do without a bashing to say that we shouldn't have got a dog if we can't look after it - the dog is only left for 6 hours between DH leaving for work and me getting back, and someone is with him for an hour inbetween that time (either the dog walker or my relative) and we rehomed the dog so that he didn't end up in a shelter. My elderly neighbour also has a key and comes round most days to keep him company for a bit at her own choice, but we can't and don't rely on that. The obvious solution is to find a different dog walker but all the others in the area cost 4 times as much as ours does, which is why we made sure we booked the dog walker before we committed to taking on the dog!

OP posts:
ThymeLord · 09/06/2017 10:42

YANBU, that's pretty poor service. What possible use is to you to find out on Saturday that the walker can't come on X day? No use I should imagine. I'd tell the walker that they either commit to fixed days or you are going elsewhere.

Justmadeperfectflapjacks · 09/06/2017 10:44

Why not offer the neighbour the dog around hers for the company? Maybe some shopping or a few jobs done in return? If she is offering the company is likely more for her than the dog anyway!

TheMerryWidow1 · 09/06/2017 10:44

you are the customer they either do what you want or you go elsewhere.

FakePlasticTeaLeaves · 09/06/2017 10:47

That is utterly ridiculous! How do they establish who is more important to get walking slots than others? You are a long term customer, it's terrible service.

Have you raised it with them? I'd raise and say you'll need to move elsewhere if they've now changed their service to the point they can't supply you with what you need anymore. Silly business.

dudsville · 09/06/2017 10:48

Yes that's odd. You would think that with being busier they would need to be more organised, not less.

BellyBean · 09/06/2017 11:02

If they're so much cheaper than others could you book them for every weekday, even the ones you're around for? They'd hopefully prioritise your booking then.

Still cheaper than 3 days with someone else. Agree it's madness though! Ad hoc bookings should be slotted round regular arrangements like yours.

LucieLucie · 09/06/2017 11:03

Are you sure you haven't misinterpreted the email?? Or could be a typo??

I would assume it's a round robin type email for all clients meant to say ad-hoc days which are not booked as fixed/regular days can not be guaranteed.

Phone them and clarify what it means?

LooksBetterWithAFilter · 09/06/2017 11:08

YANBU I stopped using a dog walker that was fsbulous in every way apart from bein unreliable with days and times. I was paying her because I needed her not because I had money to splash around for fun and when it started being more hassle than it was worth I had to stop it. I don't desperately need anyone now until September but I think I'll get my mum to come in instead.

steppemum · 09/06/2017 11:19

ridiculous, you are her ideal customer, set days every week the same, she should build her other clients around that, so people who want flexibility and to change theri days each week should fit in around her set regular customers.

mummabubs · 09/06/2017 11:23

YA definitely NBU! I wouldn't tolerate that. Is this a small independent dog walker OP? We had one when we first got our dog as they were cheap and we liked the idea of supporting smaller business, however this person quickly turned out to be unreliable in a similar way that you describe (and then started turning up on days we hadn't booked for!) We moved to PetPals, who are a national franchise but we've not regretted it at all. Much more efficient service and I've seen the reaction our dog has to his walkers. Might be worth considering a bigger company that has the scope to employ more people and therefore provide you with a reliable service?

KallyBox · 09/06/2017 11:33

Thanks all, the message definitely hasn't been misunderstood as it was sent directly to me by name and references my dog by name too.

As much as I love my neighbour I don't want to burden her or rely on her. I will have to look at finding another dog walker, which is a shame as my dog just adores this one (yes a small independent one, just one lady doing it all by herself!). I agree that regular customers should be booked in for set dates and then ad hoc bookings around that, but obviously this isn't how she sees it.

OP posts:
harderandharder2breathe · 09/06/2017 11:38

That's weird, I could understand if you had her doing the day that changes why she might say she needs only fixed days. But surely fixed days are better as it means she can plan, she knows what spaces she has. I can only imagine she wants people who need her every day?

Time to find a new dog walker I guess

CatsAndCandles · 09/06/2017 11:42

This doesn't make sense to me. Could it be that she's put her prices up and is favouring customers who are paying more? If her competitors charge loads more it might make sense to ask her why there's a change rather than lose her? Maybe offering her more would mean you get her commitment?

Collaborate · 09/06/2017 11:43

I presume they would prefer to get paid for 5 days a week, and have customers willing to pay that but can't fit them in as they are doing you 3 days a week.

As pps have said, pay them for 5 days a week if they are a quarter of the price of everyone else.

Dixiechickonhols · 09/06/2017 11:45

Sounds v odd. Like you say no point dog walker deciding mon weds fri this week if you are at home then and need help tues thurs! I'd call her and say you've been happy but need her tue/thurs (whatever days) between x and y window of time. If not you'll have to cancel her services. Very odd surlely point is a dog walker on set days because you are not there those days.

harasas · 09/06/2017 11:49

This is ridiculous, definitely look around for another dog walker. The lady I use is fantastic and would lose clients pretty quickly if she did this! What area are you in to see anyone has any recommendations? Smile

LucieLucie · 09/06/2017 14:45

Well it certainly doesn't make good business sense so I'd assume there's an underlying issue with your dog that for whatever reason she feels she can't approach you about.

Either that or do you have payment issues/lateness/chopping & changing days?

Sounds like she wants rid.

I'd still phone her and ask for her logic behind what appears to be an odd business decision

K425 · 09/06/2017 14:46

Depending on the costs, would it be worth booking her for five days a week, then cancelling the days you don't need her. On an ad hoc basis.

KallyBox · 09/06/2017 15:35

Lucie we pay her on a Monday upfront for the week, every week. She has also joked about how if she didn't have a large dog herself she would 'dognap' ours as she loves him so much! So I can't imagine she has a problem with him (either that or she's a very good liar).

I have text her to ask if we can increase our days up to 5 days, and she's said she will put us on a waiting list as she can't currently commit to taking on extra sessions given the recent boom in interest. So I'm going to have to start looking for another walker, which as a shame as I really like this lady and she's fantastic with my dog and always super helpful and reliable up until now.

OP posts:
Shamoo · 09/06/2017 15:40

That's ludicrous. I would absolutely cancel them. I suspect if you do you may find a change in position. Have a look on Tailster for another dog walker, that's where we got ours and it's a good system.

TheAntiBoop · 09/06/2017 15:42

have you told her? she may reconsider if it's going to lose her business

it's a bit of an odd thing to suggest - she's obviously not hot on common or business sense!

Viserion · 09/06/2017 15:57

That is completely insane and makes no sense whatsoever! Confused It would make far more business sense to have dogs booked for regular walks and then if people want ad hoc days, she does them if she has space. Why would a dog walker get to tell customers which days they will walk the dog?!

I would ring her rather than texting in case something has got lost in translation somewhere.

mirren3 · 09/06/2017 16:08

That is a crazy way to run a business, I'd imagine if she's doing this to other regular clients maybe her business will not be as busy as she thinks.
It's a shame when your dog and her have built up a good relationship too. You might find it works out in your favour having to change walker.

Fluffypinkpyjamas · 09/06/2017 16:12

YANBU that is ridiculous. Wait until all their original clients leave them because of their new policy, they sure won't be so busy then. Muppets.

BiteyShark · 09/06/2017 16:16

That is crazy, you need a dog walker to turn up on specific days otherwise what is the point. I would look for someone else.

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