Anyone who knows us at Minders Keepers will know we are very risk averse. It is a huge responsibility looking after someone’s home, let alone their precious pets and we take that very seriously

The risks of house-sitting are two way. Not only are we acutely aware of the responsibility we bear to our clients but also aware of the responsibility to our sitters.

With this in mind we come to the┬áissues of walking dogs. We tend to prefer our sitters to always keep dogs on leads. We have to bear in mind that whilst dogs might return obediently for their owners, there is no guarantee that they will do the same for the temporary sitters and the thought of a client returning from a wonderful holiday to find their dog has run away, been in a fight or run over doesn’t bear thinking about. Of course it is a client’s prerogative to opt that the sitters do let the dog off lead but the vast majority feel this is a sensible approach. Lots of ball play and extendible leads can usually provide the necessary exercise.

The difficulty can come when we are dealing with a dog, or dogs who pull hard on the lead. Constant pulling can cause considerable strain, and sudden unexpected tugs can be worse. Most of us at one time or another ill have had a sudden pull that can literally jerk us off our feet. Even small dogs can be remarkably strong when a squirrel or rabbit crosses the path.

We recently had a call from a sitter who had returned from a horrendous walk where every ‘trigger’ possible had come up. Her charge was highly excitable and she was exhausted and aching. The solution it appeared was the halite! The client had one but had not mentioned it, although it was obviously a regular walking aid.

Halties tend to use the dog’s strength against itself and tug the head to the side whilst closing the jaw. A simple but effective tool.

Our own dog is a 36k Rhodesian Ridgeback. Gorgeous, but young and often excitable, we have found the halite has been a kind but efficient way of reducing pulling and allow walks to be just pleasure. We would be interested in your thoughts and pleased to post any advice sitters or clients may have