What is the Cost of Free Advice and Care?

Having a pet can be expensive. First, the cost of bringing your pet into your home. Next, all of the gear and food. Third, vet checks, dog walkers, pet sitters, day care, and training.  It's understandable why someone would welcome free advice and pet care. But what is the cost of free, really?

Before you accept your friend's offer to watch your pet, communicate your expectations. Which behaviors do you and don't you allow? How do you want your friend to address misbehaviors? Your friend's philosophies regarding your pet's behavior may differ from yours. Don't assume that you're sympatico. Spell it out.

A free sleepover at your friend's house could end up costing you hundreds of dollars in behavior modification with a certified professional trainer and/or veterinary behaviorist afterwards.

Case in point, a lovely client contacted us for behavior modification. Turns out, our client's friend thought he was doing her a favor by introducing a shock collar to her dog. Every time her dog came back from being watched by her friend, the dog was worse. Her dog is now a year old and has many issues. She paid me to come to her home for a behavior consultation. Her dog's issues are going to take a long time to improve and the price may ultimately be higher than had she boarded her dog at a reputable facility or hired a professional pet sitter.

Another lovely client received free advice from her well-meaning dog walker. The dog walker’s free advice was implemented for 6 months. Unfortunately, this free advice was the exact opposite of best practices for that specific behavior issue. We're so glad she finally reached out to us!

Do your due diligence with any free pet care and advice. Since dogs are so commonplace, everyone has advice to share. Consider speaking to a certified professional force-free trainer before taking free advice. Damage done to your dog from free advice can be lifelong and quite costly. Here is a position statement from the Academy of Veterinary Behaviorists on The use of Punishment for Behavior Modification in Animals.  

Let this position statement guide you when interviewing dog walkers, sitters, doggie daycares, boarding facilities, trainers, veterinarians, and yes, even friends and family.

If you have a quick question about free advice or other behavior issues, we can set up a video chat! Contact us for more details. www.BehaviorUnited.com.