Most city dog owners end up having to hire dog walkers or walking services to take their pups out. At least when the owners are busy or out of town. Many owners set up regular schedules, hiring walks every day.
This is a good thing. It means the owners are committed. I use walkers for my own dogs, at least several every week. Every behavior problem lessens when you give your dog more outdoor physical, mental, and social exercise. Most dogs can’t be fully calm, peaceful, and obedient without at least three long walks every day. For high-energy dogs, often more is required.
For fearful, “velcro”, or separation-anxious dogs, third-person walkers can be extra-valuable because they help the dog have fun positive experiences out and about with new dogs and people.
Pretty much every owner I meet who uses walkers — no matter how devoted, wealthy, conscientious, or knowledgable — buys only half-hour walks.
A half-hour is a decent amount of time to be outside, running, sniffing, and playing.
But that’s not typically what happens.
It takes up to 5-10 minutes for a walker to come into your home, greet your dog, perhaps uncrate him or her, leash up, and head out. This is especially true for high-story walk-ups, or elevator buildings. And it’s multiplied again if you hire a pack-walk, since the walker needs to tether up the pack at some point, and then untether on the way out.
It takes another 5-10 minutes to unleash at the end — do all the same rigamarole, give water/food/Kong, perhaps crate up, and leave.
So when you hire a half-hour walk, your dog is outside for around 10-15 minutes. (*Note: I’ve met ONE walking service in the past 10 years whose policy is to start counting the time from when they leave the front door of the building, and end time when they re-enter. Most don’t do this.)
Realistically, that’s barely enough time to go around the block. It basically amounts to a pee-break, sniff some air, and head back inside.
It certainly isn’t enough time to make it to the nearest dog park, and run around with friends.
Now consider the hour-long walk.
The same 5-10 minutes is needed on both the front and back ends. That leaves the extra half-hour to be PURELY OUTSIDE. So when you hire an hour-long walk, your dog is outside for around 45 minutes.
That’s THREE TIMES LONGER than they’re out on the half-hour walk!
Good mental stimulation, exploring and sniffing. Physical exercise getting their muscles moving. And long enough to hit nearby dog parks and run and socialize offleash with their friends.
As for cost, hour-long walks aren’t twice as expensive as half-hour walks. They usually run 1.2 – 1.5 times more. So for instance, if you’re paying $15 for a half-hr walk, you won’t have to pay $30 for the hour; instead you’ll pay something like $18-$23.
So you’re getting triple the walk for at most half more money! The 2x time that’s added to the original half-hour walk’s outside time comes at half-price; so for that extra time you’re getting FOUR TIMES the value! You’re paying at most half as much, and getting twice as much in return. That’s a great deal! Hour-long walks are between double and quadruple the value of half-hour walks, in terms of cost-per-time-outside.
It’s just math. But it can translate into how happy, calm, and peaceful you can help your pup become. Thanks, math!