As a result of the rise in dog ownership since the onset of the pandemic, dog walkers have been in higher demand now, more than ever! And regulating bodies, such as the City of London Corporation, have begun to put pressure on unlicensed pack walking in public areas (click for the article here) – a shift that we think will bring about positive change for dog welfare now and in the future.
We Love Pets News
A happy dog and one that gets the right amount of exercise is far less likely to feel anxious and stressed. The vast majority of dogs also love to be around humans, unless of course they have been mistreated.
Dogs do however need support from their owners, and it is important for us to acknowledge that they don't come with an inbuilt rule book of how to behave acceptably in a human world. As owners we need to understand the tools that dogs need to be able to relax in the human environment because if they aren't relaxed they can't learn the correct responses that will be socially acceptable to humans. Failings in us to provide the adequate support leads to an emotionally aroused dog that will be experiencing anxiety, fear and frustration.
Canine aggression towards people is often due to an emotional conflict. In order to avoid this, dogs need consistency and predictability in their interactions with humans they come into contact with. Dogs have coping strategies to help them deal with the challenges of living in a fast paced 21st century human world. If the dog is unable to cope in a situation there will be a stress response which is a physiological response (not an emotion). Stress brings out the necessary reaction that will enable the dog to cope. It is part of a survival mechanism and stress happens in dogs as much as it does with humans.
Dogs will learn from bad experiences and will take on strategies to help them avoid similar experiences in the future. For example, ''it hurts when I get picked up by children.” This dog may run away to a 'safe' place if it sees a child approach it or growl knowing this causes the child to go away.
If a behaviour can prevent a negative experience from happening the behaviour will increase in frequency and the dog becomes confident in certain responses it shows.
E.g., “When I growl my owners leave my food bowl alone, when I snap the child goes away, when I bite people don't try to move me off the sofa, etc.”
Dogs need choices regarding their behavioural responses to stressors. We need to be able to recognise when a dog is becoming stressed so that we can provide strategies for them to cope i.e. provide safe places, provide mental stimulation, encourage natural behaviours, allow them access to resources to support them so they are able to relax. E.g., Anxious dogs will pace until a safe place is found. Dens/dog beds are safe so dogs need these areas where they can retreat. A sense of safety is important as a dog needs to know it can escape harm and be able to withdraw from situations. If stress cannot be reduced and coping strategies can't be offered then there is a welfare issue.
There are situations that might make a dog nervous if they feel they see someone or something as threatening and result in the dog biting. Dogs tend to give warning signs in the vast majority of cases rather than just biting out of the blue. There are five main reasons why your dog might bite a human. They are due to pain, protection, excitement and surprise. Let’s look at these in turn.
Mobile apps that help you find a dog walker, like Wag and Rover, are booming with popularity! But, is your dog safe with them? In a day and age where technology rules, there’s an app for everything, and though it seems convenient to book a dog walker or pet sitter through an app, it might not be the best choice.
As part of being a responsible pet owner we all try and make sure we respect the wildlife in areas where we walk our dogs, and that we also look out for hazards that might cause injury or disease. With the surge in new dog ownership during the pandemic, many may not be aware of potential threats when out in nature with their walking companion -especially if their dog is off lead and not always in sight.
Meet Lucy, an animal enthusiast and welfare advocate who’s ready to trade her two-legged customers for their furry, four-legged counterparts. When browsing franchise opportunities for her husband one day, Lucy stumbled upon We Love Pets; “I had no idea there was an existing franchise that fitted me so well!”
Dog ownership is more popular than ever with a huge surge seen in puppies bought during lockdown back in spring. Many have become dog owners for the first time and are still finding their feet with a demanding schedule and all the attention a dog needs. Sometimes it can feel a bit like having a part time job - one where you don't actually get paid but comes with great benefits if you get the right dog at the right time for the right reasons.
With many of us now working from home, our dogs are enjoying the extra companionship throughout the day. However, whilst most people are busy working at their dining table, less and less of the UK's dogs are getting enough exercise. Especially now the nights are drawing in and we’re heading into winter.
The PDSA reported that, even though 81% of dog owners do walk their dog every day, 44% of owners walk their dog for less than 30 minutes at a time and 13% of dogs aren’t walked every day. That’s 1.3 million dogs who aren’t getting walked every day!
Dogs need daily outdoor exercise to ensure good physical and mental health. It provides them with mental stimulation and keeps them active, which can help prolong their lives and reduce the risk of obesity,
We Love Pets Veterinary Nurse, Chelsey Wheeler explains: "Walks for you dog are about so much more than just a toilet break. They provide physical exercise, mental stimulation and enrichment with opportunities to socialise and build relationships, supporting both their overall physical and mental health. We have recently seen how being confined to our homes has detrimental effects on our own wellbeing, so why should it be any different for our dogs?"
Finding the right dog walker is not always easy, particularly if you want to maintain the same routine and training. Then there's the question of trust - who will you be happy with to enter your home, secure it and take a member of your family out for a walk without you being there. Professionalism is important too - what happens if something goes wrong or your personal data is compromised? Last but no means least, are you getting what you pay for? Is your dog getting the very best from their walk or are they being thrown into a stressful situations spending far too much time in a car and less out in the park having fun?
Maintaining wellbeing and exercise for our dogs during lockdown is a challenge, not least to keep up essential socialisation to stop nervousness – and in the worst cases, aggressive behaviour - creeping in. Walks are absolutely critical to helping our dogs feel comfortable and confident with other people, other dogs and the world at large.