With the growing pressure of everyday life and work, using dog walking services has become an increasingly popular option for many dog owners. Unfortunately, the industry is not yet fully regulated and it can be hard for dog owners to easily identify which walkers are professional and which ones are not. The Dogs Trust, Pet Industry Federation, RSPCA, and Tailster have come together to outline guidelines that professional dog walkers should adhere to.
The most important thing for all dog owners is their dog's welfare and ensuring this is maintained to high standard. A professional dog walker should meet the dog prior to any services taking place, allowing the walker to become familiar with the dog's needs, and a pre-assessment evaluating personality and behaviour characteristics to be done. The dog walker should discuss the individual needs of the dog with the owner. Medical concerns should be raised if needed and discussed if would impact the service to be provided. A professional dog walker should at a meet and greet make you feel confident in their services and that they understand how to ensure your dog's welfare is looked after. Professional dog walkers will also have full insurance and be DBS checked, and if requested should provide you with proof with no hesitation.
Some professional dog walkers offer transportation for either group walks, or to take your dog to the local park. All dog walkers should adhere to the Welfare of Animals (Transport) (England) Order 2006 with the correct insurance to cover any incident with your dog in the vehicle. If a dog walker is offering transport ensure that you check the vehicle for the correct use of travel crates and harnesses. No use of leads or chains should be used in transportation. Also enquire how long your dog will be in the car, and if a group walk where a walker has to collect multiple dogs, how long would your dog be left in the car? Would the dog be unattended for this period of time if there is only one dog walker? A professional dog walker will happily answer any of your questions and be able to ensure the welfare of the dog in transportation. Also with group walks you may wish to know the maximum number of dogs that the dog walker's insurance will cover. This number should not be exceeded under any circumstance.
During a dog walk, accidents can happen. A professional dog walker will have a basic knowledge of canine first aid, and either be able to demonstrate this to you via knowledge or a certificate. It is the dog walkers responsibility to make sure that they have all of the correct equipment, including dog bags and that they follow the Dogs (Fouling of Land) Act 1996. Most importantly along with ensuring that the dog walker is complying with all the relevant laws and requirements, you must be happy and confident that the walker will take the best care of your dog.
GoGo Walkies strongly backs the guidelines set out by the above mentioned organisations, and strives to provide you with a dog walking service that you can rely on. To view the guidelines in full please visit https://www.dogstrust.org.uk/news-events/news/dog%20walking%20guide%20online.pdf
Brooke is a puppy Chihuahua who stays at Go Go Walkies Puppy day care two days a week. She has won our heart, and wraps everyone she meets round her little paws. At ten weeks old she is everything a Chihuahua puppy should be; inquisitive, a bundle of energy that has a mad half hour to fourty minutes, before crashing somewhere comfortable to have a nap. Brooke is fully weaned onto solid Puppy food. Personally for Chihuahua's I would recommend Royal Canine Chihuahua Puppy biscuits as a dry food. They are a very small kibble perfect for a Chihuahua's tiny mouth and provide a balanced diet with everything they require. Not to mention Brooke thinks they are pretty good too. The desire for a puppy to chew is so strong that it is advisable to ensure that they have chew bones. This not only satisfies the need to chew mainly caused by teething, but ensures that chewing habits are controlled in the right manner, in other words so that furniture, shoes and clothes remain safe. Brooke's favourite chews are from Pets at Home and she is very with the milk flavoured chew for small dogs, as it is thin enough for her mouth. It is very important not to purchase a chew toy too big for your puppies bite, as this could cause problems with the teething process and damage the jaw. In addition to chews toys that squeak and make noises will help keep their attention and develop vital awareness and motor skills.
So your thinking of buying yourself a puppy Chihuahua? You've looked at Pets for Homes and other sites, and your ready to go and collect the newest addition to the family. Go Go Walkies strongly recommend that you find out as much as you possibly can about the breeder that you purchase your puppy from. Always ask questions, have they done this before, are they registered, can you find any further information about them on the internet? Once you are happy that the breeder is legitimate, here is a check list of things that should have been taken care of by the breeder when the puppy turns 8 weeks old:
- The initial vaccinations should have been done, with the paperwork for you to take away
- The puppy should be micro-chipped. It is law that all puppies are chipped at 8 weeks, however if the puppy is too tiny then it may be deferred. A reliable breeder will be able to discuss this with you and the circumstances if this has not been done, with the details of the advising vet.
- Dewclaws removed (this is optional but advisable)
- Health check and Paperwork pack
- A two days supply of food, comfort blanket, and a favourite toy.
It is also important that you plan in advance for the arrival of the new family member. Ask the breeder in advance what food the puppy is on so that you can get a month supply before the puppy arrives in their new home. New foods can be introduces but this should be done gradually over time. Puppy proof the home and make sure that you have a few essentials: puppy pads, toys, a quality dog bed (we recommend Wainwright's which you can purchase at pets at home, not too expensive and well made), leash, collar or harness (harness is preferred for Chihuahuas, as it will not pull on their delicate necks), and lastly but not least have your choice of vet organised. This is also the point where you should teach your puppy its name. Even if that is the only command they understand at this stage, it will aid you greatly in training in the future months.
Between three to four months your chihuahua puppy will be going through the most intense stage of teething, be sure to purchase lots of teething toys, to promote good biting behaviour. Also at three months you will be having the second vaccination for your Chihuahua and within no time taking him/her on their first walk to see the outside world.
There is a lot of debate at when can you let your dog go outside. If you have a private garden which no foxes or non vaccinated dogs go in, then after the first vaccination at eight weeks the puppy can go in the garden. This will greatly speed up the toilet training side of things. However, if your garden is not secure, or you live in area where foxes travel freely, then it is advisable to keep them inside until the second vaccination. Socialising is also very important to a Chihuahua's development at this point, so where possible make sure they interact with other dogs, or join a puppy day care, or puppy group. Many vets offer puppy group facilities, but be careful that it is not conducted in the waiting room where potentially other animals who are not vaccinated have been.
Four to eight months is the stage where independence comes into a puppies life. They have mastered the short walks on a lead, they have started to be well socialised, and now want to push boundaries. This point in a Chihuahua's life is where boundaries are very important. Reward good behaviour with attention and ignore the bad. Keeping their mind occupied with learning commands and interesting walks will engage your puppy greatly at this stage. You will also notice rapid growth at this stage, this will be the insight as to how the puppy will be the dog.
At eight months puppy growth is nearly done and your Chihuahua is an adolescent. With love, training and socialising you will have a well rounded dog who will be a pleasure to have in the family.