Wednesday, 15 July 2015

The 4 worst Dog Walker Scams – are you being duped?

At Perfect Pet Sitter we care for your pets as you would. For example, when living-in and minding our clients dogs we walk them daily. Exercise is included free because we know the importance of exercise to dogs - that means running, playing and above all, MOVING. So you never see Perfect Pet Sitter stand around when taking your dogs out.


NB  Three of us took out four dogs (not one walker to four). Me (taking pic) with Amber & Freya, Gail was responsible for Zara & Claire (not pictured) came for the fun with her own dog Elly.




We take  photos of your dog during their outing however, we’ve taken things much further by embracing  smartphone GPS technology. I use an App called STRAVA which records detailed data including:- 
  • a GPS recorded Map showing every footstep
  • the time of day your dog's exercise began
  • where we were
  • the start and finish points
  • the distance covered
  • Elapsed time (Elapsed is the total time your dog was out).


Immediately the walk ends I send my Clients who are away or on holiday a link by email or text which takes them to my Strava account. With one click they see not only photos but also the map and the comprehensive data. - click HERE to see a live version but examples are also below:



It’s easy to do – so why don't those who walk dogs for a living do this? I’m afraid the truth is that with some ‘dog walkers’, the last thing they would want is for you to see exactly how little they actually do. 

Beware of Dog Walker Scams!

I know from what I see at my local Oval there are a significant number of walkers who are not worthy of the name. And these people would hate you to find out that although you're paying for an hour your dog is lucky if it gets 30 minutes - and a lot of that spent in one place. Could your walker be one of these? How do you know what they’re up to if they give you nothing but the bill?



THE TOP 4 SCAMS:

Here is what typically happens with some of these people who simply see your dog as $.

SCAM ONE: PILE 'EM HIGH
Professional Dog Walkers stick to the legal maximum – 4 dogs to one person. But the Scammer regularly exceeds the legal maximum number of dogs: it is common to see 5 dogs per person – but some bring 6 and even 7. With so many the ‘walker’ cannot possibly keep a proper watch on each one so your dog gets left to it’s own devices for long periods.

Walkers who don’t care about breaking the law by taking too many dogs are the self same ones who ‘accidentally miss’ or ‘happen not to see’ poos dogs in their group are doing. Stray excrement is left for other people to clear up -  not something I enjoy doing but it cannot be left.

SCAM TWO: HALF TIMERS
You booked and are paying for say, an hour, and believe your dog is going to get a full 60 mins exercise, right?  WRONG - with some of these jokers you’ll be lucky your dog gets 30  minutes. How do I know? Because during my hour walks my dogs and I move the whole time (as you will see by some of my maps attached).  But after I’ve been walking a time I frequently see the Scammer Walkers arriving (often with too many dogs). When I am still there walking to continue my hour, I see these same groups leaving. They arrive after me and leave when I am still there completing my hour -  their time there?  30-35mins on average.

SCAM THREE: TOO MUCH TALKING, NOT ENOUGH WALKING
This one infuriates me above all – even while having your dog out half the time they are supposed to  - your dog may not even benefit from that short time. Why? Because Scammer Walkers meet up with their mates – there might be two or three ‘walkers’ supposedly watching 5 to 7 dogs each. But I see them standing on the spot - not doing any WALKING - but doing plenty of TALKING.

Occasionally a ball is given a cursory throw. But some of the dogs are on leads and going nowhere. The others that are loose are not being watched and often get into scrapes, or even fights, because they are not doing what they want – which is to move with their pack.

SCAM FOUR: RISK TAKING
Not insured. Every dog walker should have professional indemnity – Scammer walkers rarely do.

Summary
I am not a dog walker but do know a few good dog walking professionals who I totally trust, respect and am happy to recommend. They carry out the exercise time they contract, stick to the legal number of dogs, and they do the ‘Walkie Talkie’ (that is, keep moving with their dogs and not simply stand around) and they genuinely care for their Clients' dogs.

HOW TO ELIMINATE THE SCAMMERS & FIND A GOOD WALKER
So, lets not mince words – not all dog walkers are the same. and some are downright bad. Not only are they unprofessional, but there are some real horror stories about  ‘walkers’ who are, in reality, nothing less than Frauds. Here's my guide to finding a good walker:

Zara, a regular, at Graham Res
DON’T haggle to get a ‘bargain’ walk.  If a walker is willing to discount alarm bells should ring! It is not cheap when your dog ends up getting half the time you’re paying for joining an illegal 5+ pack. They can be standing like a statue or left running around on their own and  not being monitored because the walker is too busy chatting to know, or care, where they are. 

DO get two or more recommendations - even walkers who do not discount will not necessarily be professional in everything they do. 
Most of all, do ask the following:-
1) What is the maximum number of dogs you take out to each walker?
2) Will my dog get 60 mins (or whatever you are paying for) exercise?
3) Where do you take my dog and do you meet with other walkers?
4) Do you have full business insurance covering you to walk dogs?

FINALLY    
Unless you ask, how do you know what your walker is up to? If you want your dog to be safe and exercised properly do your homework. Be careful about booking someone based on trust - until you know for sure you can. Your dog, their welfare and their safety, are too important.


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I am only able to attach to this blog a minute number of the hundreds of logged walks and photos we have on record from when we exercise the dogs we live in and look after. Example Hunter - a big and active Wire Haired Pointer - took her for a special outing to Centennial Park for a terrific run in the woods there. Also pictured Freya (Lab X Boxer) playing with Toffee (RR).  Jake and Benny Border Collies. Also pictures of Elly my daughter's Boxer playing with Hunter at Bay View. No wonder the dogs I care for round the clock miss me when I go!





Lilo, Amber, Leo & Indi - a Perfect Pet Sitter Perfect pack!


Hunter & Elly at Bay View


Freya & Amber at Bantry Bay


Freya at Graham Reserve


Freya playing with Toffee 
Hunter at Centennial Park


My 'mates' when I'm at home, Jake & Benny


If you wish to be put in touch with a good dog walker feel free to call me and I will be happy to recommend. For info call me on  0422 359 278








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