Hi, my name is Patricia and I come from Spain, my boyfriend Lars is Dutch. I am 36 years old and I have had dogs since I was 11, all of them German Shepherds, not the easiest breed if you are a first time owner, but fantastic when you know how to handle them!!!
We currently own two shepherd mixes, Kiva, and Shake, they are both adopted. Kiva wasnt the easiest dog ever, she came with lots of fears, she wasnt friendly with dogs, humans, kids...she made us work our ass off!!! But it is very rewarding to see the social dog she has become! Shake however, is the easiest dog ever! He is good with all humans and all dogs.
Monday to Thursday we work (office hours) therefore we do not take new dogs in on those days. We can do exceptions with dogs that we know and/or with dogs that are used to be at home alone during working hours. We have experience with shy dogs, nervous dogs, dog to dog reactivity, resource guarding, food agression, etc etc. If your dog is good with our dogs, we are ok if he/doesnt like other dogs in walks. One important thing is, because we both work, we are unable to take care of dogs that do have separation anxiety. Even if the anxiety is under control in your own home, a change of environment can make the dog be back to his/her old usual. We have a webcam on when we are away, and we do not like to see the animal suffering. If you need a sitter during the weekend though (from Thursday evening) that would not be an issue.
About our house, we live in a quiet neighbourhood (Maarssenbroek), big house with garden. We have a dog toilet 5 min away from home and an off leash big park just 10 min walking. Weekends we take the dogs for a short walk in the morning, at midday we organize a packwalk (Check FB group Packwalk Utrecht ), that is a couple of hours walk and play with a group of dogs, and in the evening we do another short walk. If your dog is more active than that, we can bike or give extra walks. We also have brain games at home and well, Kiva is pretty good at exhausting any dog :p :p :p . If your dog is older and doesnt need a lot of exercise, we can also adapt to that: our dogs are non stop outdoors, but indoors they are very chill and they respect the space and wishes of the guest dog.
In our home we have a quite structured routine, walks, feeding, etc happens more or less at the same time. We have rules such us waiting politely for food, waiting politely to be leashed, etc. Our experience is that when our two dogs follow those routines, the guest dog ends up copying it :D . Routine also makes the guest dog adapt faster, he knows what to expect and when. Also, our dogs are used to have benches to go to when they want peace, and we always place one for guests to use it if they want to. With us benches are safe places, not places to "store" a dog. We make sure that all dogs have positive associations with it (for example, we feed the dogs in or next to the crates, and we give them snacks in there too).
In addition, we have a few safety rules: we do put a collar to all our guests with a tag and our phone numbers, also at home. This way if the dog would escape he will always have a tag. Also, we do not make loose any new dog, we use long leashes (10m) instead. This is because your dog might be very good at listening to you, but he might not listen to 2 complete strangers, specially if the dog is fearful. While in long leash, we do re-call training, and when we are confident that the dog will listen to us, we are happy to walk off leash. Of course, if you prefer the dog to always be leashed, not a problem for us.
Do you want to book us? No problem, but before agreeing, we would like to meet you and your dog. We prefer to meet you during our packwalk (even if you still do not have short term plans to travel). This way we can see how is your dog, and how does he/she interact with others.
If you have two (big) dogs, we can look into having both with us, but if we cannot, we made an agreement with another Pawshaker (and friend) that we trust: we can have one, and she can have the other one, and we will organize ourselves in a way that, at least during the weekend, and as much as possible during the week, we will walk all dogs together. You can find her profile here:https://en.pawshake.nl/node/3051356 (Tails on Trails with Viki & Ryan). Both Viki and ourselves share our visions and passion in dog care. Even more, she is, together with us, coorganizer of the Packwalk Utrecht.
If you have any questions, please feel free to ask!
Patty en Lars, zijn een geweldige oppas voor Hekkie geweest. Er is uitgebreid en goed gewerkt met Hekkie en dat heeft hij nodig en het voelde voor ons als extra, maar het bleek er echt bij te horen. Heb je een actieve hond die goed en duidelijk begeleid mag worden dan is dit een perfect adres. Dank jullie wel!
Patty and Lars are kind people with a heart of gold and a big love for dogs. They went out of their way to make sure my dog was happy, safe, healthy, and comfortable.
They followed my strict guidelines about diet and meds. They are extra careful and made their own decisions about safety issues. For example, although I insisted they could let my dog off leash in the park from the beginning, they erred on the side of caution, keeping him on a long leash until they were convinced themselves that my dog would listen. Although I said my dog isn’t supposed to wear a collar, they put a tracker collar on him, again erring on the side of caution regarding safety. I respected their decision and just asked them to make sure it wasn’t too tight and it didn’t cause irritation. Patty sent a photo showing there was plenty of space, that it wasn’t too tight. There was clear communication about it. And what’s most important is that my dog returned safely, was happy and in good health.
They responded quickly and in detail to messages and questions. They send photos and videos to show how my dog was doing, where he was sleeping, etc.
Lars took extra care to build trust with my somewhat fearful dog. In the end my dog was kissing him thanks/goodbye, something he almost never does.
Highly recommended. They take excellent care of dogs.
I am not a dog trainer but I read everything related to dog training, I follow FB groups, watch videos, etc etc. Also I have trained my own dogs to a level above the average pet owner
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