Offering secure fields for a pet's wellbeing?

Has anyone suggested to owners occasionally walking their (possibly anxious) pets in a secure field? There would be a usually modest cost involved, would it be ok to suggest passing this on to the owner, perhaps setting a ceiling or budget for this cost so that the service is transparent? If yes, did it all work well?

Yes! We were looking after 3 doggies and one day I decided, instead of doing the usual park loop, which was a little stressful for me, as it was off-leash, I was going to try the purpose built doggie field. It worked a charm and I was happy to pay. The owners were very relaxed pet owners, so I felt comfortable to try this. It really took a lot of stress off my shoulders. And there’s fun toys like rackets and many many balls you can whack around for the dogs to chase. I told the home owners afterwards and they weren’t aware of this place, although it’s very close to their home. They said they would definitely try it.
For those who don’t know how it works, you pre-book an timeslot and have the place to yourself for that slot. They provide toys, poopie bags, snacks even. You just need to clean up after yourself.

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Thank you, I thought it could only be an asset to do this from time to time.

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First encountered this when sitting in the UK earlier this year. Paying for a secure enclosed off-lead space.
In the US, ‘dog parks’ are almost all public and free. You do share with other dogs and people so need to watch behavior. I’ve only encountered 1 dog park in the US that charged a fee, in the Minneapolis suburbs - daily fee was about US$5 but annual was about US$20.
I do check with the HO before taking the dog(s) to a park - some prefer that I not do it based on dogs’ behavior or prior experiences.

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One of my HO and her neighbor reserved a time slot in a field where they would take their dogs every morning. It was very nice, but I’ve only heard of this in the UK. Wellies were a necessity and I borrowed my HO’s Aigles. They were so comfortable! Her neighbor wore Le Chameau wellies, another wonderful brand if you’re in the market for some.

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Kudos to you for organising this yourself but surely the hosts should be paying for this service? Not the sitter? If I’d been the host in this situation I’d have reimbursed your costs and been grateful for the heads up that such a place exists close to my home! At the end of the day you are doing the host a service and don’t know the dogs like they do so you made life easier for all of you…Just saying…

@Lokstar Yes, agreed. In all fairness, they did offer to reimburse us, although the words they used were different to how we would have offered, so we didn’t take them up on it. We would have said: “Please tell us how much it was, let me reimburse you immediately” (while grabbing our purse). They said: “Oh, that sounds very interesting, I had no idea the place existed. Did you want us to reimburse you?”
We were their first sitters, so I don’t think they really grasped the concept of the sitter being out of pocket for their dogs’ expenses. But you know what, the £9 we spent on the experiment was worth it for us. If we would have opted for a 2nd visit, I would have definitely sought reimbursement. But it was only a 6-day sit. Same with fuel, we had to drive the dogs to the walking area twice a day, but they didn’t offer fuel money…and we didn’t ask. At least it was a nice housesit, so it didn’t bother us! But thanks for making the point.

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@botvot That’s tricky when hosts aren’t automatically generous or fair (as we would be) Re-fuel costs I often see sits mentioning the need for the sitter to have a vehicle for the dog walks. One sit even mentioned that if the sitter was hiring a car they should make sure to get a big enough one with a large boot for their dogs comfort!! No mention at all of reimbursing fuel costs! I would not apply for such a sit.
We did a sit once which we thought was fairly rural-from pics & chat- at least dog walking from the door- but on arrival it turned out the 2 dogs needed to be driven 10 minutes to the nearest (extremely beautiful) walking place. We were on a long housesitting road trip and our car was pretty full of stuff which we did not want to unload it especially to take their dogs out. They were first timers and had not thought that through. They were so cool though, within minutes they’d come up with a plan to put me on their insurance so we could take the dogs out in their car. It made life so much easier. For shopping and all other purposes we used our own car. We sat for them 3 times over the summer and each time they made sure there was enough fuel so we’d have no extra costs to take their dogs out. That is how it should be. Any and all costs related to pet care should be covered by the hosts.

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No. The inference I took from the OP was that they discovered the park, which was unknown to the HO. The sitter decided it would be good fun to take the dog; how does that equate to the HO coughing up for something they had no knowledge of & didn’t ask for? Maybe sitters could book grooming sessions, buy the dog a fillet steak or take them on a gondola ride around Venice too, all the while assuming the HO will put their hand in their pocket later.
If I was the sitter, I would do the park trip(s) for the enjoyment of the dog and me, by my own choice.

PS; your other story about the car is a different matter though.

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@Saltrams The sitter said she felt rather stressed by walking 3 dogs off leash. She used the dog park to ease her stress and to be able to take better care of the dogs. That’s how I read her message. And she also agreed with the points I made. As a temporary guardian you do not have the same bond with the pets or the same knowledge and comfort level with them as the owners have. Your comment comes across as unnecessarily sarcastic. A responsible sitter, myself included, always aims to do the best for the pets in their charge. Which does not include the frivolous things you suggest…

Thanks. Actually we were thinking ahead to the proposal (and we and our owners are first time THS), that’s why it’s so useful to get feedback from the community. (We already use such fields in the UK for our own dogs as one is dog-reactive). We think it will be beneficial to our pet-client and ourselves but we’ll probably take the path mentioned by @lokstar and take a gentle approach to reimbursement as we didn’t rehearse it before we started. We’re all novices after all! :blush:

And by “novices” I mean the four of us on our first sit, nobody else! :roll_eyes:

I can’t retract my frivolity, it’s just the way I am to add some humour, often in the form of hyperbole.
However, if you extract the light heartedness the core of my point is that the HO didn’t ask the sitter to use a paid dog park & indeed didn’t even know about its existence. How is it reasonable for the HO to return to a “bill’ for something they didn’t ask for?

@Lokstar @Saltrams you are both correct! We didn’t push for reimbursement because the owners weren’t aware of the fields and it was our own choice to use the fields.
But if we were owners, and learned that sitters paid for something cool for our pets, we would definitely not hesitate to reimburse promptly.

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How interesting!
Has anyone heard of such a park for cats?