Archive for April, 2010

Now hiring: Pet advisers!
April 11, 2010

On my job applications, I used to list one of my previous jobs as being a pet sitter and dog trainer. There is truth there: I have trained dogs, and done quite a bit of pet sitting. But I no longer try to find work doing either one. Why?

The markets for both are over saturated these days. Everyone and their mother is a pet sitter now. Some may be licensed & bonded, or have more contacts and references than I.

Dog trainers are everywhere too. Some have had formal training and have received certification from a dog training school. Some have more experience and knowledge than I do.

But I noticed one of the main problems pet owners have today is that they have concerns, but, without paying for formal training, they have no one to turn to for help. Due to money issues or doggie behavioral problems, many pet lovers today are sending their friend away.

They take the easy way out:  re-homing him on Craigslist, putting an ad in the paper, taking him to the pound, or even having him put to sleep.

Prospective pet owners have a similar dilemma – and yet may not even realize it! The aforementioned troubled pet owners  may not have gotten themselves into this sticky situation if only they had somewhere to turn to for advice – BEFORE getting the dog. One could ask a trainer or vet for help, but they charge so much and often have little time to spend on your individual needs.

People typically assume that because they had a dog as a child, there is nothing to getting  a pet. It doesn’t require any extensive knowledge. The majority of Americans feel this way – acquiring and owning a pet is the simplest thing in the world. WRONG! And overflowing pounds and newspaper ads are proof of this! People don’t know what they are getting themselves in for. And then, instead of working on the problem, they dump the pet. People are simply ignorant; they aren’t aware there are people out there willing to help them.

Thus, in the rapidly expanding pet industry, perhaps we need a new field: Pet advisers. People here to provide you with the answers and information you need. If they do not have the knowledge and expertise required to solve your problem; surely they know someone who does. They then obtain the advice from those individuals and pass it on to you, or put you in touch with the expert directly.

So this is what I have become. I’m not selling experience or skill, I’m selling knowledge and common sense.

I prefer to work with people before they even get a dog: Is a dog even suitable for you at this time? Breeder, pound, or rescue? Which breed or mix? Youth or adult? Do you have a home or apartment? Are there children, elderly, or disabled people in your home? Are the kids good with pets? How much time will you be spending with the dog? Do you have any tasks or work for the dog to do?

If they have already acquired the critter, I offer to start basic obedience training, and then put them in touch with a pro who can turn the furry brat into a furry friend. I can offer names and numbers of reliable and affordable vets. I suggest and even provide good books,videos, and web resources. I relay tips and tricks. I dispel myths. I teach them how to speak dog. If I don’t know the answer, I find it.

Community colleges offer extension programs that feature  a dog training course. How about a course on pet problem solving?

People don’t throw away a car just because a tire blows. Why throw away a living being when it is nearly always repairable?

Get your facts straight before taking action.