Seems simple, doesn't it?
Noon is the middle of day, and the middle of the work day. It makes sense to want to schedule your pup's walk at lunch time. Then why do so many dog walkers laugh nervously when new clients request walks during the noon hour?
Paskapoo Pet Services has been in operation since 2013, and we've been walking dogs professionally for years before then. About a third of new dog walking inquiries we receive are for walks-at-noon. As much as we'd love to be able to accommodate every single new client coming our way, it is simply impossible for us to schedule a visit for your dog AT noon.
Here are some of the reasons why...
1. Professional and established dogs walkers care for many dogs.
If the dog walker you wish to hire is not already busy at noon, run! Seriously though, established and experienced dog walkers are high in demand and care for many dogs every single day. If the dog walker you called is sitting at home waiting for the next client to book their noon walking slot, it should raise a red flag!
There are two different ways private dog walkers manage their walking schedule.
The first one is "walking hours". For example, the walking hours will be from 9:00 am to 3:00 pm, and the dog walker will schedule the order of their dog walks based on fuel and time efficiency. This system allows for the walker to accommodate more dogs, and clients who need services on an on-call basis.
The second method is the use of "time slots", where the same dogs are walked at about the same time everyday. Usually, the most senior client gets the "noon" (or their preferred) time slot, while the newer clients get to be walked earlier or later in the day, or only on certain days when there's an available spot. Usually, dog walkers using this system require clients to commit to a minimum of walks per week to secure their walking slots, and keep a consistent schedule.
At Paskapoo Pet Services, we use the first system. This allows us to serve a larger number of clients, with different short and long term walking needs (shift workers, EMS, pilots, business travelers, etc.). Our first walk starts at 10:00 am and the last one may end at 3:00 pm.
2. It is logistically impossible to schedule all walks at noon.
We are well aware that finding a dog walker for your pup can be a challenging task. Truth is, not a lot of dog walkers survive their first year in this line of work. Dog walkers listed on on-demand apps come and go every season. Being available for dog walking in the middle of the day, Monday through Friday, doesn't allow for a typical, full-time 9-to-5 job. Therefore, to make a living out of dog walking, you need to walk more than one dog.
If Paskapoo Pet Services were to accommodate all the walks-at-noon requests we receive, we would need to hire dozens of walkers, with consistent availability at lunch time throughout the week. This would be the equivalent of hiring one walker per dog. It is as extreme as it sounds, and of course, we can't do that.
3. Driving distances, weather conditions and emergencies can affect dog walking times.
By now, I think we have explained why walks-at-noon requests are not always possible. But it is also important for clients to be aware that dog walkers work on the road and can be faced with many situations affecting their schedule. Driving distances between clients, weather and road conditions, and pet medical emergencies are all factors that can affect the time your walker shows up to walk your pup. It is very stressful for dog walkers to receive frantic texts, emails and calls when they are a few minutes late to their next walk. This is why most dog walkers won't guarantee a precise time for walks, but rather a visit within a certain time frame.
4. Dog walkers also need to eat and use the washroom... and may have personal appointments.
This one shouldn't require too much of an explanation. At Paskapoo Pet Services we promote a healthy work-life balance, and we don't believe in requiring our staff to work non-stop during dog walking hours without a bite to eat and a pee break. Walking dogs on an empty stomach and with a full bladder is not the most comfortable thing! Sometimes, it means dogs will be walked a little bit earlier or later than usual so we can attend to our own basic needs.
So why shouldn't dog owners care too much about the time their dog is walked?
First, a midday dog walk is a treat! Your dog will be ecstatic to get care, attention and a walk around the neighborhood with their very own dog walker, regardless of the time of visit. Trust us, we know! Every day, dogs welcome us with wide smiles and wagging tails.
Furthermore, dogs don't read the clock. Only humans stress about time. Exercises and nasal stimulation (like sniffing) are highly beneficial to all dogs, whether it is done at 10:15 am or 2:00 pm during the day. Walks at any time will help ensure good health, regular elimination and weight control.
For clients who may worry about a walk in the morning instead of later in the day, there are many benefits to walk your dog before the sun reaches its peak in the sky!
Coming in early in the summer when it's cooler is better and safer for brachycephalic breeds (pugs, boxers, terriers, etc.), working breeds (Huskies, Samoyeds, Malamutes, etc.) and senior dogs who don't do too well in the heat. In some parts of the USA, some dog walkers don't even walk dogs at noon during the summer months for safety concerns. It is just too hot!
As the streets are usually quieter before noon, it is a much better time for reactive dogs to be enjoying time outside! Coming in early will also help your dog relax and nap for the rest of the day while they are waiting for you to come home. Some dogs really like to sleep in the afternoon sun and can't be bother with a late dog walker!
The next time you inquire for a dog walking service, remember that being flexible on the time of the walk will increase your chances of being added to the dog walker's list of clients. You can rest assured that it will not compromise the quality of care and the benefits of the walk to your special pup!