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How do I politely tell an owner that they have to train their dog?

asked 2016-08-04 00:32:15 -0500

I have a client for which I am finishing up a second stay with tomorrow. I love their two dogs, they are very sweet and things are great while we are inside but then we go on a walk. I have to take them separately because I simply do not feel safe taking them together. The smaller one is totally fine, he stops sometime,s but listens well and walks fine. The large one however is a 70lb lab who is very strong and likes to leap away every time she gets excited, and she gets excited over everything. I mean a person, a squirrel, another dog, sometimes just something she smells so I can't even notice first and turn the other way. I'm not a very large person and she has already pulled me down once and almost did it again today, this time trying to run across the street. Both times I was walking just her. I do some basic training with her, having her sit and wait before giving her food etc. so that I can gain some control and respect from her. When I go on walks I've done some "heel" training and after about three days she does begin to get it and the pulling lessens dramatically. Because of this I do know that she is smart and responds really well to training but when I went back for this stay her bad habits are back. I want to keep taking care of the dog, but she also needs training for me to do so safely. I'm afraid that if I tell the owner this they will get offended and give me a bad review. How do I avoid this while still being able to tell the owner to train their dog?

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I would let the owner know and maybe consider a halti leash to help control the pup for you and the pups safety. I walked two big dogs every now and then but walked seperate. First walk together we went skiing on the grass

Jessa C.'s profile image Jessa C.  ( 2016-08-05 11:03:46 -0500 ) edit

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answered 2016-08-04 10:35:06 -0500

Basically, I'd have the conversation (and have had some similar ones) by focusing it on observation and safety.

Something like what you've already written: You really care about the dogs' well being and enjoy spending time with them. For safety reasons, you can't walk both of them at the same time as the lab is very strong and can overpower you on a walk, leading to an unsafe walk for both of you. You've done some training, and clearly the dog shows it is adaptable to change, but in order to be effective, it has to be reinforced on every walk. (I would not necessarily say that training & respect is needed b/c what you really mean is a change to safe walking).

When you wait & allow the owner to respond, they may be in complete agreement and ask if you can suggest anyone who can work with them to get results or if that's something you do. If they don't see the need, it could lead to them searching for another walker, but if you speak from a what's best for Rover standpoint, it doesn't seem likely that you'll get a bad review. If the dogs end up going to another sitter as a result, just know you did the right thing rather than continue, knowing the odds were stacking up against you , that one time it could lead to something tragic beyond your control.

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Thank you Deb! I'll definitely try to have a conversation with them today

Hanna P.'s profile image Hanna P.  ( 2016-08-04 17:54:49 -0500 ) edit
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answered 2016-08-08 23:20:12 -0500

Honestly its rare the owners will train if the dog is grown and misbehaving. Think. If the dog is 5,6,7 years old and they've had since a puppy....that means that dog has been doing that for years. Most dogs respond quickly to training, its the owners job to stick to it. So if the dog didn't have manners with you, imagine how they are with owners?! Yesh. Try it, but you might have to just skip them next time. Unless, of course, you're okay with retraining the dog. I've had some dogs where they got so used to my rules that even though they reverted back to bad manners with owners, when they came back to me they still remembered to be respectful. And after day or two were obedient again. Just depends on if you're okay with the possible bad behavior returning and retraining sessions.

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