The Story Behind Finchley Dog Walker
My name is Del and I run Finchley Dog Walker and I started in 2011 after I was made redundant. In the beginning, I was walking with friends and neighbours’ dogs whilst they were at work. A year later I took the company online and have never regretted it
I have always been around animals and as a child, I grew up with Hamsters, Gerbils, Fish, stick insects, mice and budgies.
My parents owned a pub and had 2 German Shepherds, Tor and Beauty, who were failed police dogs (they wouldn’t jump over even a small picket fence). Despite the fact of incurring the odd dog bite (which was entirely my fault!) as an excited child running around and swinging arms the dogs thought it was a game. These two dogs taught me a lot as a child about how to react around dogs (including reactive dogs) and little did I know this was to set me up for working with dogs.
When I grew up, I got my own dogs. The first was a rescue Heinz 57 called Prince who was quite a loner when we got him but over time came out of his shell and my neighbours were able to walk him when I couldn’t and we even had doggy sleepovers. He was a big part of my life and if possible, came everywhere with me. Prince was 14 when he developed cancer and sadly had to be put to sleep. That day a big part of my heart was taken from me.
After Prince came another rescue called Missy who is now 10 and was shortly followed by Roxy also around 9.
We believe Roxy was just under a year old when she was rescued from the motorway having had puppies (probably a puppy farm) and a zillion allergies. These two taught me a lot about dogs, diet, and behaviour and was my inspiration for starting Finchley Dog Walker and studying behaviour and nutrition. As a result, I have realised just that a lot of dog foods are not good for our dogs including some well-known brands. Since researching the food industry and changing Roxy’s food to Barking Heads her coat and her temperament have both improved. There were days with Roxy when she barked at men, people with walking sticks, people in hoodies etc that I wondered why I had dogs!
Despite Roxy barking at what she perceived to be “odd people” this did not make her bad dog but was a result of the damage done to her in the early years. Whilst trying to reverse this damage I contacted various dog trainers and for one reason or another fell out with most of them. One class, we were asked to leave because she was” too naughty” and couldn’t be helped. Another trainer wanted to use electric-collars and so it went on until I met Sue Goulden from Tip Top Dog School who restored my faith in dog trainers (I have since met a couple of others). With Sue’s support (which Finchley Dog Walker still has today) I started to make small and positive steps which motivated me and gave me the inspiration to help other dogs enjoy walks on a one 2 one basis rather than in groups whilst the owner was at work
Roxy was the reason I wanted to go down the route of specialising in One 2 One walks to provide shy, nervous, reactive dogs (including rescues) an understanding person to walk them.
Missy is a collie and pulled on the lead something terrible. This was partly because she hated cars to the point of lunging at them. Over time, with patience and working her below the threshold, using the right harness, and marking good behaviour with treats she improved at lead walking. She is not perfect and still has bad days, however, when this happens, I take a deep breath and focus on the good days and remember the fun and companionship she gives me rather than dwelling on the bad times. So, you see the importance of socialising a dog to various environments when they are puppies and not just going to the park and back by car. Over the years many clients have asked me to help them.
The experience I have had with rescue dogs along with the training and helping out in classes at TTDS has developed my confidence and skill set enabling me to offer your dog a one 2 one bespoke dog walk which I am sure he will enjoy enabling you to relax knowing your fur baby is in safe hands.
When I am not working with dogs cats and other animals I am heavily involved in Scouts as well as running two groups of around 100 each (Beavers, Cubs, and Scouts) I am also a qualified Archery Instructor and NSRA (Air Rifle Instructor / Range officer with the National Small-Bore Rifle Association) instructor which enables me to enjoy the outdoors even further.
That is enough rambling about me and I hope you agree that your furry friend deserves a friend like me to walk them.
If you have any questions, please get in touch as I don’t bite (at least the scouts say I don’t).
Finchley Dog Walker Offers More than just a walk in the park – an enriched walk designed for your dog.