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Interview: Dogs Love Running

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Everyone knows that dogs love going for a walk. Even the laziest pups enjoy a leisurely stroll around the neighborhood! Unfortunately in today's hectic society, sometimes it is hard to make time to walk the dog every day, or walk the dog as far as he'd like to go. This can lead to an overactive dog with no way to burn off his extra energy, or even an obesity problem.

What can you do in a situation like this? You could hire a neighborhood teenager to walk the dog. But what if there are no trustworthy teens? What if you live in a quiet neighborhood full of retirees? The prospect of having a healthy, active dog may start to seem bleak. You may give up on your dream of owning a canine companion. NOT SO FAST!

Dogs Love Running to the rescue!

Dogs Love Running is a dog running and dog walking franchise that offers a variety of pet care services including pet sitting, dog walking, and...dog running! Yep, you heard me right---they will actually take your dog for a run. Imagine how tuckered out your dog would be after a long, satisfying run!

At the moment, Dogs Love Running is only available in Illinois and Indiana, but it's a quickly growing franchise and certain to spread throughout the midwest soon. Hey, if you're serious about pet care or fitness, you may even want to check out starting a franchise of your own! Though Dogs Love Running doesn't yet have a location in Wisconsin, they were kind enough to grant Mad About Pets an in-depth interview about their business.

Mad About Pets can't wait until Dogs Love Running is available here in the Madison Area!

Photo credit: thatmutt.com
(Mad About Pets) First off…why dog running? Is it better for dogs to run than walk?

(Dogs Love Running) We started this company and our flagship service, dog running, because we saw a need that many dogs have; they are naturally full of energy but their owners have very limited time/ability to really let their dog cut loose and expel that energy in a positive way.

Running can be great exercise for many dogs. Clients of ours that have sporting breeds like Labs, Retrievers, and other high-energy dogs absolutely love our running service. For them, running is a better option than walking just because it allows the dog to use up the energy inside them that otherwise might manifest itself in other ways (sometimes as bad behavior). For other clients of ours, walking is the better option due to the breed's nature, health concerns, or physical limitations.

 Do you find that certain breeds pop up more frequently in your business than others? Does it seem that some breeds *need* to run more than others?

(DLR) Certain breeds naturally have more energy than others and most of our running clients tend to be mid-size to larger sporting type dogs. We still have pugs and bulldogs and those types of breeds too, but they'll use our walking service, not the running. Although we wouldn't say that any dog needs to specifically RUN, many do absolutely need a way to use all the pent up energy inside them. Running with us is a safe, consistent, and reliable means to burn off that energy and make dogs tired.

Photo credit: 4pawsu.com
If a dog has never run on a leash before, is it something they pick up on easily? Does a dog need to be well-trained to walk on a leash before they can use your service?

We've never had a situation where a dog wouldn't be able to walk or run with us on a leash. Some dogs are more trained and used to being on a leash than others and that definitely makes our job easier. But even if they're not used to being on a leash, we always follow general dog training principles of keeping the dog on our left side and right next to us so that they get a consistent experience. They'll typically get used to this pretty quickly and it helps make for a more enjoyable experience for all since they know what to do.

What kinds of people do you think most frequently use Dogs Love Running?

85% of our customers are those that are at work during the day (or somewhere that takes them out of their home for 8-12 hours/day) and need us to come and make a mid-day visit with their dog. Sometimes we visit 5 days per week if it's a case where the pet needs a bathroom break in addition to the exercise. Some clients have us come 2 or 3 times per week mostly just for the exercise portion of what we do. Also, there are lots of people that don't necessarily need us for running, but still appreciate what we can do for their pets with our walking service. Pugs, toy breeds, and many other dogs make for great walking partners. The other 15% of our business is from pet sitting. When people are gone for more than a day at a time, we can come and take care of their pets at their home. This can be for dogs, cats, fish, rabbits, and most other household pets.

What kinds of safety precautions do you take so that customers know their dog is in good hands?

Pet and human safety is our number one consideration. As mentioned earlier, we adhere to generally accepted dog training principles while walking/running as well as during all other times when we have possession of a customer's furry friend. This helps keep people and pets safe since we're always doing the same things in a consistent and reliable manner. Our franchisees are people that run their business as their full-time job so they take it very seriously. They are always involved in dealing with the customers and keep a very detailed watch over their staff team members. All the people on our team go through an extensive interview and background check process as well as do a lot of training before they come in contact with customers' animals. Because of what we do and how we do it, we attract highly-qualified, responsible, trustworthy, and energetic staff members who truly love what they do.

Photo credit: petazon.com
You also provide dog walking services: how important is it for elderly and/or obese dogs to get out every day to walk? Can you provide service to special dogs like these?

Nearly every dog not only wants, but also needs, some type of routine exercise. For extreme examples that may include physical and/or health limitations, we need the client's veterinarian to sign off on what we're doing. Assuming that we have authorization, we can definitely help with dogs of all shapes and sizes. Not all our clients use us for running. Many use us for walking and even just backyard playtime. For an elderly pug, as an example, a run isn't going to be what they need. But some gentle backyard playing or a very casual stroll up and down the block in short distances may be just the ticket. We're very in tune with what the animal wants and can handle.

In your opinion, what is the most important reason people should consider checking out Dogs Love Running?

What we do that's different than 99.9% of all the other related services out there is that we try to help pets live longer and behave better through exercise. As a customer of Dogs Love Running!, you know that everything we do has a focus on exercise, healthy choices, and living an active lifestyle. And using our service is super-easy. We have the same team member visit your pet all the time, flexible scheduling, automated weekly credit card billing, and many other operational processes that make it a breeze for people to work with us. And, if someone is considering starting a pet business, they can join our team as a franchisee and we'll help them start and operate their own Dogs Love Running! business in their home town. We love what we do and both our human and animal clients love it, too.

People can find out more at http://www.dogsloverunning.com/ or by calling 1-877-PETS-RUN.

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