Frequently Asked Questions
Q: What’s the story behind your business name?
A: Molly named her business after Dakota, a husky mix who was her best friend and constant companion for almost seventeen years. Since Dakota was an extremely gentle and wise dog, her nickname was “The Doggy Lama” after the Dalai Lama, spiritual leader of Tibetan Buddhism. Molly also feels the name for her business is appropriate because as Buddhism teaches mindfulness, our pets set a wonderful example of lovingness and being in the present moment.
Q. What are your service areas?
A: We take care of pets who live in Oakland, Montclair, and Berkeley, primarily along the "triangle" of the 580, 24, and 13 highways.
Q: What are the requirements for my dog to go on group adventure hikes?
A: All dogs must be spayed or neutered and current on rabies and distemper vaccinations. We recommend the combination vaccination for distemper (generally denoted by the letters DHLPP, DHPP or DA2PP,) which also protects against some other transmittable diseases. We also recommend but do not require the bordetella or CVK vaccination for coronavirus, an infectious upper respiratory infection similar to the common cold in humans. Dogs must also have a history of being polite and social around dogs and people. You must live in our service area and we must have a space available with an appropriate walker and group for your dog.
Q: Do the dogs get dirty on walks?
A: Our walkers are happy to wipe your dog down with a pre-approved towel if needed, but if you have areas of your house you are concerned about getting dirty, please make arrangements with your walker in advance to keep them confined somewhere where a little dirt won’t hurt. Whether your dog gets dirty depends on several factors—where the walker takes the dogs, what the weather’s been recently, and whether your dog enjoys getting dirty. Most off-leash trails are dirt roads and therefore, prone to getting muddy on rainy days. Sometimes there are streams or ponds in the areas where we walk, and although we try to minimize muddy occasions, we can’t guarantee we can always keep playful pups out of the water.
Q: Do the dogs ever get fleas and ticks?
A: We advise our clients to keep their dogs current on flea and tick medication at all times. It is not uncommon for a flea or tick to be found on a dog that is currently protected but most often they will either die or jump off shortly after landing on the dog. We recommend a full-body application like Advantage or Frontline Plus or giving your dog Comfortis, which is an oral medication, rather than just a flea collar, which only protects the area around the head.
Q: Will the same person always walk or visit my pet?
A: Generally, yes. We will assign one primary caretaker for your pet. If you have a dog who goes on regularly scheduled walks, we have an official floater, who backs up dog walkers when they are sick or go on vacation, and Molly also "pinch-walks" sometimes.
Q: What is the policy on who’s financially responsible for a dog that gets injured during walks?
A: We have an excellent safety record and have policies and procedures to avoid accidents and scuffles from happening. That being said, while we do our best to ensure all our client dogs are already well-socialized with other dogs and people, dogs can be unpredictable at times, and accidents do occasionally happen. As specified in the service contract, any injury sustained to your dog during an outing will be your financial responsibility.
Q: What can I do to prepare my dog for off-leash adventure hikes if we don’t go off leash much?
A: Although we train our dog walkers and send them to the Dog Walking Academy, they are not doing official “dog training” on group walks. You can help your dog succeed in the pack (and gain off-leash privileges more quickly) by working with your dog to help strengthen good recall and basic commands. An easy way to train for recall is to reward your dog with a small, yummy treat, playtime with a toy, or your enthusiastic praise when they return at your command. We have recommendations for dog trainers and basic obedience classes. We have recommendations for dog trainers and basic obedience classes.
Q: Will you bill me for walks?
A: Yes. We like to get the first month of walks paid for up front in the new client meeting we have with you before we begin walking your dog. After that we will bill you monthly after the month of walks has taken place (for example, clients get a bill in mid-February for walks that took place in January). We usually send bills in PDF form via email. We accept payment in the form of a check or through Paypal. (Please note that payments made through Paypal incur a 4% service fee—that’s what they charge us.) Checks should be made payable to Doggy Lama Pet Care.
Q. What’s your cancellation policy?
A. We require 24 hours (business hours, please) when canceling a scheduled service to avoid being charged. We recommend you contact the walker or caretaker directly, especially if you are canceling or changing service that begins within the next 48 hours, and “cc:” the office.