If you’re a regular user of exclusive-use dog fields you have probably had more than one session cut short by people arriving early, people leaving late or people turning up at completely the wrong time. We have even had an unwitting person waltz straight into a field we were using, headphones on, dog off-leash – completely oblivious to the exclusive-use nature of the facility!
Why Crossover Times Are So Important
The only thing more stressful than being watched whilst you try to encourage an excitable dog who has no interest in going home, into a car, on a deadline, is trying to achieve the same objective with more dogs.
This is one of our biggest bugbears with using dog fields and the reason for this article.
And our dogs aren’t even very reactive. Some users of dog fields have far greater challenges than we do and getting a highly reactive dog into a car after it’s been distracted by a vehicle, person or dog, can be a huge set back in training.
There’s a message here for both dog field owners and field users and just a few simple things, can maximise your time in the field and avoid any unwanted contact with others.
Observe Crossover Times At Secure Dog Fields
You might have wondered why so many fields advertise 45 minute or 50 minutes sessions. This is to allow for a crossover – limiting the likelihood of you coming into contact with the next user. Sometimes this is necessary because the access route to the field is single track and sometimes it’s because your field owner is acutely aware of the stress caused when someone is waiting for you to leave the field so they can get in on the dot.
Well run dog fields build in a crossover time – asking you to ensure that you are loaded and leaving the field at the end of your session, leaving a clear gap of time when you have left the field, and the next user is yet to arrive. Depending on the ease of access, this tends to be between 5 and 15 minutes.
Annoyingly, there are two types of people in the world – people who have no trouble being on time and people who have enormous difficulty in keeping any to any kind of schedule!
There are of course occasions when something unusual happens – a dog turns deaf and a zoomie creeps in, just as you are trying to load the car to leave – running off as you frantically chase it down, hollering obscenities at it whilst panicking that you are going to delay the next person! These are exceptional circumstances and are perfectly understandable.
Equally annoying are people who turn up early. The usual reason given is that they weren’t able to time the trip and this too is understandable but easy to overcome.
Here Are Our Top Tips For Secure Dog Field Time Keeping
Know What You Are Booking
If your session says 50 minutes it is likely that there is a 10 minute buffer built in at the end of your session, with the next user not arriving until the start of the next hour. Make sure you are leaving the facility AT the 50 minute mark, not thinking about leaving maybe in 5 minutes if you remember. If your session says 1 hour and there is nothing in the communications that states there is a change over time, still leave 10 minutes clear at the end of your session.
Find A Place Out Of Sight To Park If You Are Early
There maybe a place that the dog field owner asks you to park if you are early – please read the terms and conditions and any information you are sent!
If you are visiting a field with nowhere to wait, find a lay-by or a safe place to park close by and hang fire until your session time.
Don’t Hedge Your Bets
We frequently visit fields where at the time of our session, there is someone in the field who obviously has no intention of leaving. These people have either lost track of time or are simply seeing how long they can get away with – hedging their bets that the next session is vacant. This is probably the most annoying thing you as a customer, have to deal with.
In this instance, we encourage you to call the field owner and ask them to communicate with the user still in the field. DO NOT APPROACH THE FIELD. You do not know what kind of dog is in the field and all dog field owners should provide you with a contact number in case such a situation arises.
If we’re in a new field, or have booked a slot that isn’t ‘on the hour’ we set an alarm on our phones. Depending on the size of the field we give ourselves whatever time we need to get back to the car, wash off, have a drink and get on the road. The alarm means we’re not clock watching and can enjoy the time focused on our dogs.
Latch The Gate From Within
This is something that all dog fields should have the ability to do. This is not so much to do with time keeping but it certainly gives you the user confidence that nobody is going to accidentally gatecrash your session.
The person running the dog field will likely only know that you have had a problem if you tell them.
Responsible dog field owners will welcome a snitch because it allows them to discuss the issue with the offender. It’s an uncomfortable conversation but a necessary one and often results in a better understanding of why the person was early or late – sometimes legitimate reasons with profuse apologies but sometimes this conversation falls on the ears of a user who had no idea that there could be an issue and it’s an opportunity to pass on some useful information about reactive dogs!
For Dog Field Owners
It is best practice to factor in crossover times in your daily schedule and it’s perfectly possible to do this without impacting your income potential. More information about scheduling and maximising daily income is available to Accredited Fields in the marketing and advertising resources. To find out more about Accreditation, click here.