Testimonial Robot reviews
Jenna and Smudge – Long Dog Walkies
A few years ago Jenna grew fed up of her job as a buyer in the oil and gas industry. After some encouragement from her family she decided to take a leap of faith and start her own dog walking business. ‘Long Dog Walkies’ was born and she hasn’t looked back.
Jenna explained that she “luckily” gained her first few clients to get her off the ground but one look at her Facebook page and it’s clear that there is more to her successful business than just luck. Her huge online photo albums pull you in and her multitude of positive reviews and returning customers gives you peace of mind. Dogs are immeasurably valuable to people’s lives so handing them over to a stranger can be nerve wracking. These pictures on Long Dog Walkies’ social media put customers minds at ease when handing over their pride and joy. I’ve included my favourite photos here – enjoy!
Smudge the dachshund was the inspiration for the name Long Dog Walkies and has been with Jenna since he was 8 weeks old. It’s hard to think of a dog with a better lifestyle than Smudge, he’s an only child with access to unlimited walks so you can hardly blame him for being picky about which of the 3 walk options he chooses each day. Jenna tells me he prefers to stay at home when its particularly wet and cold, which isn’t that unusual a trait for small dogs who’s bellies sit closer to the ground. If you have a sensitive dog then bear in mind that tiled or wooden flooring can pull the heat away from them, even if they are on top of a cosy looking bed or cushion. Try a raised dog bed if this is the case.
Off the Lead
The majority of Jenna’s clients are nine to five workers who are looking to break up their dog’s day and give them that much needed exercise but there are other reasons to use a dog walker. Dogs value time with their human family but they are social creatures too and need time interacting with their own kind. Going on a walk with Jenna allows them time to play and generally practice socialising with each other. If your dog hasn’t had enough of this type of exposure, especially in their earlier years, they are more likely to act up when they see another dog on the street or in the park. It’s also not that easy, if you live in a town or city, to find somewhere for your dog to run free off the lead. Jenna is well versed in the best routes to take her groups which often include a fully enclosed field that they can run around to their hearts content. No matter how fit you are, the best way to burn your dogs calories is always off the lead!
On the Road
Jenna’s van makes her instantly recognisable to existing and potential customers when she’s on the road. Initially it was Smudge that inspired the long dog logo but she told me it has probably had an influence on her clientele as she now has four regulars and two part time dachshunds in her pack. As the business continues to grow she has recently invested in a new van which will provide her with a bit more space. If you only have a small car for transporting your dog it’s not a bad idea to look into having a bespoke dog bed made to measure to the dimensions of your awkwardly shaped boot. Also consider segmenting your boot into smaller spaces for a safer and more comfortable journey for your dog.
I asked Jenna if more people staying at home through Covid had affected her business. She said that her clients had been supportive of her and with all the adjustments they’d had to make were actually appreciating not having to worry about the dog’s exercise schedule. It also means that when it is eventually time to go back to the office it will not be too disruptive as their dog’s daily routine has remained the same. Whilst you are in lock down with your dog you should practice leaving them alone for periods of time to avoid developing separation anxiety when you go back to your normal working life. If you have a chewer then be prepared to see their worst side when you’re out of the house, try a durable dog bed or guaranteed chew proof bed for piece of mind.
Dogs come in lots of different shapes, sizes and more importantly temperaments. Jenna described how some of the most rewarding moments she has had as a dog walker have been helping new recruits fit into the pack. Most are part of the gang very quickly but some are shy and require more affection or space to find their bearings. After four years on the job Jenna has become accustomed to reading body language and learning how best to introduce new starts based on their personality. She sometimes must start them on solo walks until they get used to her enough to be able to join the gang but she hasn’t had one yet that she hasn’t eventually been able to win over.
It’s clear from the way that Jenna describes her daily routine that she loves what she does, and that’s what makes her good at it. Three separate hour-long walks with excitable dogs involves lots of blankets, towels, water, biscuits and poo bags. A resilient sense of smell (waterproof dog beds will help with that!) and plenty of patience is required. Any tea and lunch breaks happen in Jenna’s van between appointments. She insists it doesn’t feel like a chore though and her day flashes by because she takes genuine satisfaction in the excitable faces at pick up time and content tiredness of them at drop off time. Jenna has found her perfect job and she told me she couldn’t imagine doing anything else, even if she does have to repeat these same phrases 20 times a day! “oh no don’t roll in that”, “oh please don’t eat that”, “did you just poop there?”, “no humping please”, “who lost the ball?”, “let’s just all have a biscuit then!”
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