I have had a wide and varied career from simple admin to working for a Private Investigation company to doing web design.
I have had dogs since I was 8 and apart from my first dog they have all been rescues including my current two rescues, Missy a Border Collie and Roxy a Speagle (we mad it up as she is a Beagle/ Spaniel).
I was made redundant in 2010 and having always loved dogs and outdoors I was looking for something to get me away from the office. I was talking with neighbours and they suggested dog walking as I was good with dogs and so I started walking friends' and neighbours' dogs and enjoyed it.
Since then I have gone to pet first aid, nutrition and behaviour courses. I met Sue from Tip Top Dog through a One2One with Roxy and I know help on a regular basis in her Sunday classes
What makes me different? Umm for a start I don’t use vans or cars all my walks are on foot from the moment I pick up to the moment I drop off. I also only do One2One walks so that every dog has my individual attention
Where is your favourite local place to walk dogs?
One of my favourite places to walk both with my dogs and my clients is Dollis Brook – 14 miles of Green spaces including woodland walks. Dollis Brook runs from the Heath Extension up to Scratchwood. From here, it’s also possible to veer off to the open fields around Totteridge.
Do you have one tip to share on improving a dog’s recall?
Positive reward based training - so that you become the most important thing in the park while the dog will love to come back to you for teats and cuddles.
One tip to improve a dog’s lead walking?
When the dog pulls, simply stop until the dog returns to your side and he will soon realise he won’t go far. Another method is to change directions when they pull.
Tell us about the experience of the most challenging dog you’ve ever had to walk and why.
Due to the nature of the way I work doing One2One walks, I have experienced several challenging cases over the years but with the right positive training and attention, most will love to work and play with you. Oscar, a boxer that I walked, was attacked and badly hurt with the result that he became reactive to other dogs but over time using games and rewards he has become a lot better, and now would rather be with me than go running off after another dog.
Tell us about one of your favourite dogs to walk and why.
Obviously, all of my clients are my favourites for different reasons. Whippets are calm and easy to walk, whereas Terriers are full of character. They each have their own distinctive personalities.
Any tips on how to quickly and easily clean a dirty dog after a walk?
We find preventing them from getting TOO muddy is the biggest trick, but that’s not always easy, particularly during the winter months. Using a decent coat on a dog will help make life easier in the long run, while aiming to keep to less muddy areas for our walks, like Coppets Wood, also helps.
How many steps do you end up walking in a busy day of dog walking?! (Or most amount of steps walked in a day?) (The recommended government amount is 10,000!)
I have a Samsung Gear 3 and during an average week we do 26725 per day (busy days are around 33000) – perfect for achieving my fitness levels
Find out more about Derek on The Finchley Dog Walker website, in which he has a great library of interesting articles too.