As more employers issue return-to-office dates for staff, new puppy parents might be at a loss at what to do.
But, fret not, dog walker extraordinaire and author Kate MacDougall tells Fox News there are a few things pet owners can do to ensure their canine friends won’t be lonely when they go back to work.
Regardless of whether a dog-owning employee is called to the office occasionally or full time, MacDougall says it’s important for them to have a dog walker or sitter available.
“You can’t leave your dog for too long on its own. They need to exercise and they need company,” she explained in a video call. “They get bored or frustrated if they’re not fully exercised and have lots of social interaction with their owners and with friends.”
Professional dog walker and author Kate MacDougall tells Fox News that pet parents who plan on returning to work should have a plan in place for their dogs. (Katy Raffin/Telling Tales Productions)
MacDougall, who left her position as a Sotheby’s junior staffer in London to start her own professional dog walking company in 2006, reiterated that many of the “destructive” or “aggressive” behaviors she’s seen in dogs stemmed from a lack of exercise and socialization.
While puppies do show bursts of energy, they usually require less exercise than older dogs do since they sleep for long spans of time. Similarly, senior dogs may not need to be walked for long if they show signs of slowing down, she explained.
To find a quality dog walker or sitter, MacDougall recommends consulting friends and family or a vet to see if they have experience with one. If you can’t find any recommendations then stopping by a local dog park is always a reliable option in finding a professional walker.
“Any good company or dog walker will do you a free trial run just to see how your dog gets on,” MacDougall tells Fox News. “And it’s really important you consider how many dogs that dog walker is walking with and if your dog is going to get on with the other dogs.”
Kate MacDougall says many dog walkers or sitters might be willing to offer a free trial run for dog owners who aren’t familiar with these services. (iStock)
For overprotective dog parents, shadowing a trial might be an option, but MacDougall notes that most walkers are more than happy to provide potential and established clients photos or written updates on how their dog is doing whenever they’re taken out for a walk.
When interviewing a dog walker, MacDougall says it doesn’t hurt to ask where your dog is going to be walked, the routes that will be taken, or see if there will be any changes in routines. Inquiring about sitting services or sharing dietary requests are notable discussion items as well.
“I think that it’s most important that you feel at ease with your dog walker and that you’re going to trust them to come in and to your house and look after your dog cause it’s a big thing,” MacDougall says. “They are family members. So, I think the trust thing is really the key part to it.”
Currently, MacDougall is a proud owner of a Jack Russell terrier and dachshund, and she lives in Oxfordshire with her two dogs and husband.
Kate MacDougall’s book “London’s Number One Dog Walking Agency: A Memoir” is being released in the U.S. on July 6, 2021. The memoir chronicles her experience as a professional dog walker and other pet anecdotes. (William Morrow/HarperCollins Publishers)
She’s chronicled her colorful dog walking career in her new book, “London’s Number One Dog Walking Agency: A Memoir,” which was released Tuesday, July 6.
“As soon as I started doing the dog walking, I realized that there were so many interesting characters and stories and I think being a dog walker, you have this amazing little insight into people’s lives,” MacDougall tells Fox News. “The book is very much a sort of love letter to London.”