Winter dog walks made easy in Australia

May 30, 2016 at 6:00 am
Dog walking

Do you want to know the ‘secret’ of getting your dog walked all winter long?  Every now and then I get asked about dog walks in winter by my friends and clients and my dog walker’s expert opinion is almost always ignored. This is usually due to people wanting a dog without having to get involved. It’s one of the most common conflicts between human comfort and a dog’s basic needs.

Daily dog walks, we can imagine, are part of the international dog rights, the equivalent of human rights. A daily off-lead dog walk would be on the top of the list if there was any institution with enough clout to sanction that all dogs should be walked off lead every day. But back to the basics…

Assuming you believe in pack animal requirements and aim to walk your dog every day, real world limitations of inclement weather, ill health, job issues and family issues can put a dent in some of the best laid dog plans. Winter is a leveller for many people. People in the southern states don’t go outside as much in winter, and most definitely don’t enjoy commuting to work on a dark, wet morning, let alone adding the extra ‘hardship’ of walking their dog.

If you still think that a daily dog walk is a luxury and a ‘nice to have’, then my advice is unlikely to help you, but if you have seen the massive transformations in a dog’s health and behaviour given off-lead opportunities, you will.

Here are the main recommendations I have to ensure your dog is walked all winter (and all year) round:

  1. Walk the dog yourself, or with your partner, 7 mornings per week.  Get to bed earlier, buy wet weather gear, do the hard yards for your beloved dog.
  2. Get the whole family involved. If your children like presents, trips, smart-phones, pocket money and all that good stuff, use them as rewards and not assumed rights. Caring for a dog gives children better empathy for all living creatures and ensures they also get their exercise.  This is the advice I gave to one over-worked father whose family consisted of two adults and two teenage children. If they all got up earlier just one morning each day of the week and got a dog walker for the extra day, then the five days of the working week would be covered. Weekends would be family time with their dog. I could hear the crickets after I sent this email.
  3. If you are single or can’t get family to buy-in to your plan, you will need to enlist the help of your friends.  People in your neighbourhood other walkers at the dog park might help halve the walks you personally need to do. If you don’t like walking your dog every day then teaming up with someone similar who also owns a dog could mean you take the dogs on alternate days. Would you prefer walking one dog every day, or two dogs every second day?
  4. If you have walking difficulty I have been told that there are some charity groups that might be able to organise volunteers to help you out. If you can’t find one, perhaps start your own charity service?
  5. I walk dogs for many different types of people with very different reasons for using my services. If you can’t walk the dog yourself, can’t find a charity or friend to do it, and don’t have the money to hire a professional dog walker, then yes, then you have a real problem, but there are plenty of options out there.

Taking a dog to a friend’s back yard to play with their dog will blow off some steam, but is only a half way solution to a full park exploration.

My dog walking fees are probably around the price of one good restaurant meal per week (for two off-lead dog walks for one dog). But since I live far away from most people reading this article, this information is not about anything more than helping people think creatively to ensure their dog is walked regularly, especially during winter.

Some people use what they consider a legitimate fear, that their small dog might get hurt, yet we send our kids to school don’t we? A far more likely scenario of a dog getting hurt is one that is not social, and is very anxious or aggressive. The first time your breaks out of the yard they are likely to get hurt.

People make priorities and often they say they love their dog, but don’t even know about the basic vital need of a dog joining a pack and walking off lead.  If you have never walked in a park, go a few times on the weekend and talk to regular walkers, you’ll gain even more tips for walking your dog there.

Happy trails …

BIO:  Bruce Dwyer is a professional dog walker based in inner west of Melbourne Australia. From an original career in Electronic Engineering and Corporate Marketing he chose to concentrate on the dog service industry. His company ‘Dog Walkers Melbourne’ has been in business since 2010 and is based on providing the best dog walking and pet sitting solutions for people in Melbourne. The only two times that he has been away from his own dog, he has used his own company’s 24 hour pet sitters.  His own dog Archie (an 8 year old spoodle), enjoys TWO dog walks per day with many of the images and videos from his daily off lead dog pack walks featured on the following sites:  | Facebook: HealthyDogTreatsShop  | Twitter: DogTreatMan |  Google+ HealthydogtreatsAu1