Backpacking Across Australia
Working with some very naughty Dobermans
By Crystal Cunningham
I cam from the UK to do some backpacking across Australia and it was always a goal of mine to make sure that I did a little bit of extra work here and there to save some money. I found a dog walker job before I left in Adelaide that was all about walking some unruly dogs, and in return I would be offered free accommodation by this really nice family. After arranging the details before I left, I soon arrived with the Hilliard's and they taught me all the things that dog walker needed to do. As well as walking the dogs I was expected to feed them and keep good care of them, and do some general cleaning around the house which I was very happy to help out with.
The main part of my dog walker's job was walking the dogs, and I would have to do this at least 2 times a day. They had 2 of the most beautiful looking Doberman's I had ever seen, and it was a joy to walk them. Well at least I thought it was at the start! Very soon I found out that these dogs weren't as well behaved as I thought, and soon one of the dogs would continuously become aggressive towards other dogs and even attack the other Doberman. Becoming a dog walker for these dogs was quite an embarrassing situation when I was out in public and this dog would all of a sudden start to growl and act out when confronted by another dog.
I made sure that I would take with me a large stick so that I could hold the dog back when things started to turn a bit aggressive. To become a dog walker for such unruly dogs, I had to be strict. However, this didn't work all that well in my case as I found the dog would soon then turn his attention to the stick and then sometimes even to me. I then tried walking the dogs separately to see how that would turn out. It started off ok and the dogs were alright when not together, however it wasn't the best when it came to time wise so I had to really try walking them together. In no way did I ever get angry at the dog as I knew this would only serve as a 'threat' to the dog when he was angry. I would try and pull the dog away from the situation immediately then reward him when he was good. It was a slow process but eventually it did work.
Dog training tasks can often be an innovative idea done by a dog walker. As a professional dog walkers in the neighborhood, I had tried various means through patience and intuitions.
The Hilliard family were obviously very pleased that I had resolved the issue and were forever grateful of my time in their house. It was one of the most memorable experiences that I had during my time in Australia as a backpacker and one that I would easily do again. Have a look out for some jobs like this when you backpack as you can always have an experience of your own!