Dog Walking and the Holidays

From holiday walks, to the perfect gift for your dog walker, I'm answering all your important questions.

By | Posted: December 19, 2014, 2 p.m. PST

Holiday season is upon us and the "to do” list is daunting when thinking of your beloved pup. What to get the dog walker for Christmas?  How far in advance should I book my dog sitting?  What should I expect to pay for walks or dog sitting?  Should Fido stay and enjoy the Holiday party?  These are questions that come up during holiday seasons. I'm breaking it down from a dog walker's perspective. 


GIFTS FOR YOUR DOG WALKER:  Dog walkers LOVE cash. The average giving is a week of dog walks. Gift cards are wonderful BUT dog walkers prefer cash.  A Starbuck’s gift card is terrific unless your dog walker doesn’t drink coffee or hates the idea of corporate American which considering their chosen career path might be reality. If you have plans of re gifting, as everyone does it in times of desperation, make sure it’s an appreciated one like a bottle of wine or candy. Re-gifting gloves or a candle are obvious re-gifts and a must save for the white elephant party. Keep it simple and easy, show them the money as they show their dedication and love for your pets.

DOG SITTING: Dog sitting for holiday season may need to be booked as far as six months to a year in advance. Expect to pay premium prices and a minimum stay requirement. If you are reading this now heading to Hawaii for the holidays, you better figure out getting Fido to Hawaii too. Fancier establishments require a trial night ensuring Fido passes ‘snuff.’ Like soccer tryouts for 7 year olds, it’s not about athletic skill but rather kids are "coachable” meaning well behaved, good listeners and not Joe destruction pushing kids down, talking back to the coach or throwing a temper tantrum when they lose the game.  For dog sitting businesses, assuring a compatible Fido with the rest of the dogs staying there is important.  Dogs that listen, behave and don’t throw tantrums when other dogs get the toy.  If you are in a bind for a last minute trip, contact local groomers and vets to inquire about vet techs or employees that might be looking for extra cash during the holiday season.  

THE DESPERATE DOG WALK FOR A HOLIDAY: Need a dog walk on Christmas or New Year's Eve, plan on paying a higher price for the walk. Although if you’re a regular dog walking client, your dog walker will probably not charge you a premium, but make sure you need a walk. Don’t ask them because you are frantic about last minute shopping but actually planning on sleeping into noon, making a gourmet breakfast.  A wet, tired and hungry dog walker schlepping to your house on a cold and rainy (or snowy in some towns) Christmas Eve to walk your dog will not be amused to see you sipping your hot coffee in warm pajamas.    

HOLIDAY PARTIES: You might want to find a dog sitter for the night. Stories of Fido devouring assorted cheese trays or the Basset Hound that pulls a plate of oysters to the ground to roll in them for the fragrant fish smell they love, won’t entertain your friends.  And there is the chance Fido will have gas after consuming the cheese platter. Visitors will secretly blame each other not noticing the dog at their feet. Thoughts of Bob being interesting but gassy will trump the enjoyment of the party.

Having your beloved dog at the party is wonderful, just make sure they are trained, too tired to table surf or employed during the festivities.  An unemployed dog gets into mischief.  Of course, Border Collies want to work overtime and Jack Russells want to be in management.  Take precautions, giving your pup a peanut butter filled kong in the kitchen or a bone from a butcher to occupy their time.    

DOG WALKERS BEWARE: 'Tis the season for joy and merriment but not in the dog walking world. Starting the week of Thanksgiving until New Years, Scrooge roams the trails. People scout the parks for things to be mad about, a missed poop, a dog playing too hard, angry about dogs off leash, or grumpy that you are walking six well behaved, happy dogs.  After 19 years of dog walking, I warn new dog walkers during holiday seasons, be on heightened alert. It is code red time for dog walkers, the highest level of threat for evil people exploring the trails furious that annoying Uncle Joe is invited to Christmas dinner. They are on the look out to expel their childhood resentments that surface this time of year.  My friend Brac is a local therapist and I keep his card handy to give out when approached by a trail scrooge.

Holiday seasons can be wonderful but make sure to plan ahead for dog sitting, dog walks, holiday parties and of course the cash tip for the dog walker who takes care of your pup all year long.

Follow Lisa @BarkSideLisa

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Autum - 297511   Caldwell, ID

8/5/2015 10:38:00 AM

Thanks for this! :)

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Eileen - 249708   Port Perry, ON

12/20/2014 6:23:23 AM

Good information to know!

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