Shell Family Dogwalkin'

[ sample rates | three dogs running | some popular details | a typical walk | ball dogs ]
[ pics of: greg | pics of cool places | pics of cool dogs | pics of ball dogs ]

email:    phone: (510) 219-7156   website by: G. Shell

Pictures of Greg Pictures of Cool Places Pictures of Cool Dogs

Does your Berkeley dog need more walking???

We specialize in midday walks for dogs in Berkeley, particularly North, West, and Central Berkeley, though we also have clients in South Berkeley and the Hills. By staying local, we can keep prices low, while delivering a very high-quality dogwalking experience to wolves whose pack leaders (that's you!) are busy bringing home the bacon, taking care of the primate part of the family, or otherwise unavailable.

Sample rates:
  • 20-minute midday visit, typically $10/day
  • 35-minute midday walk, typically $15/day
  • 60-minute midday walk, typically $20/day
Time is generally the actual minimum time spent walking, not time spent in the car. So, these are the minimum guaranteed times, actual times will usually be longer. Sometimes much longer, for instance when we pick up your dog first and then get another dog (or two). If you have a second dog, probably add $5. Let us know where you are and when/how long you want the dog(s) walked, and we'll give you an exact bid. Payment is usually made at the end of the week.
Otis, bone tired

Residential walks on the leash are the easiest option. Typically this would involve one or two dogs at a time, with a different route taken each day. Normally preceeded by a very short car ride to reach less-familiar territory, which dogs love! Occasional (or frequent) trips to local parks by car help keep things interesting, and the constant change in route keeps the animal engaged and the neighbors happy. High-speed walking, punctuated by many short stops to smell the roses, is the default mode, subject to client preferences. The client can also specify how important it is to spend time around other dogs, whether to visit dogparks, etc.

Off-leash one-hour walks at a local park are our most popular option. Maximum of three dogs per walk. We are blessed with some good off-leash areas in or near Berkeley, often just a 5-minute drive away. Does your dog like chasing squirrels? Mine does. Typical destinations are down by the Bay at the bottom of Gilman or University; Codornices or Live Oak Parks; or one of the local dogparks. (The Pt. Isabel dogpark, as it happens, is not on our list.) Tilden Park is another frequent destination, very enjoyable for the pooches.

Three Dogs Running!
Our "mission statement" might be described as: "Three dogs running!" Many dog walkers operate with more than three dogs, often many more, and it often seems that they spend most of their time walking slowly and/or standing around in a group. The dogs probably get a lot of social time that way, and the discipline shown by the dogs to stand around is impressive, but...that's not us. The off-leash dogs are generally running and playing, and for on-leash dogs, we keep moving to maximize the exercise. They still get plenty of social time in the vehicle (puppies are particularly fond of this), and we definitely try to mix up the destination, route, and routine to keep them interested and stimulated. And, the dogs will usually know all their canine companions, having shared walks together previously. The small group size also allows more precise matching of dogs (putting youngsters together, for instance), and selection of the destination to fit the particular dog.
On the way to the park

Scheduling can be very flexible. Some folks get on a regular schedule (ex: Mon-Fri, every Fri, etc.), while others specify what they'll need for the upcoming week (ex: Tues and Thur). It's great to have a regular schedule, but last-minute (even same-day) is usually OK, too. And, we have no cancellation fee. If you need to cancel for a particular day, just text or email. Easy as pie!

Weekends are usually available. Typcially, a client will be going out of town, and will want one visit on travel days, and two visits on days when they are away. Or sometimes just one daytime visit per day, with roomates attending to the dog in the evening. Feeding, and bringing in the mail, are also common.

Some popular details:
  • Three dogs maximum per walk at the park; two dogs when residential or on-leash.
  • Extremely flexible scheduling--last minute is OK, no cancellation fee. Some clients text in the morning for same-day walks. Occasional weekend walks are usually available.
  • Walks are typically at least a few blocks from the dog's home, idieally at a local park.
  • Notebook left onsite to record all pickup/dropoff times, with notes on destination, other dogs, successful pooping, payments received, etc.
  • We can text you with the expected arrival time,
    if requested.
  • Some clients want to know if the dog has "taken care of business"--not a problem!
  • Most communication is done via email and/or texts--very convenient.
Otis, bone tired

Boarding is not our main business, but is generally available, particularly for existing dogwalking clients. Afternoon boarding here in our lovely Berkeley backyard is another option, particularly for youngsters.

References are available, and numerous. From what we hear, they pretty much tend to glow....

A typical walk...
Might involve picking up the first dog, driving to the second dog's home and picking her up, driving down to the Bay (or a local park, or a new neighborhood) for a 40-minute walk (on- or off-leash), driving back to the first dog's home and dropping him off, then dropping off the second dog. Sometimes there will be three dogs instead of two. This works really well when the dogs live near each other, which they typically do. For clients who live further away (South Berkeley, for instance), or who have two dogs, they may be walked alone. Of course, some dogs don't play well with others.
On the way to the park


Greg is a reliable and trustworthy ex-computer programmer and lifetime Berkeley-area resident, with excellent references (dogwalking and otherwise) available. Most of our clients have provided for unattended daytime access, with zero problems. And, he simply adores dogs!

Pat is Greg's mother, the initial contact point for new clients, and a 40-year Berkeley/Oakland resident. She is in the process of moving in with her daughter up in Santa Rosa, so her role in the business may be coming to an end.

Ball dog?
Excellent! Not only will your pooch come home super-tired and satisifed, but the magic ball also allows easier control (and hence, off-leash ability) for dogs who are a little marginal with recall and voice commands. Many owners don't realize that their dogs are ball hounds. But they know--little furry objects are high on the happy list for a large number of our client dogs.
On the way to the park

Restrictions: Generally, we don't handle fighting breeds or violent dogs, though there are a couple of well-behaved pitbulls on our client list. (And a couple of dogs who like to fight--gotta keep 'em separated!) All dogs are fundamentally part-wolf, but some breeds were bred to be aggressive. Most dogs are fine with us, and even the best-trained dogs with the most placid dispositions usually have some combination of circumstances that set them off. That is usually not a problem.

Last-minute dogwalk?!?
Can't get home in time? Fluffy's about to do her duty, right there in the middle of the living room? Text us, instead....Once we've "established care," with an initial walk, and an access protocol (a housekey, in most cases), we can usually stop by for a last-minute bathroom break or walk. Evening visits are often available as well.
Klyde really wants to go...

Some client dog photos

Bud, a big beautiful Golden with hip trouble Otis, energy to power a whole city Josey, ball dog to the stars Peanut, small and sweet
Bud Otis #2 Josey Peanut

Giacomo, 'let's go to the park!!!!!!' Giacomo, one happy pug pup Allie, yellow lab to the stars Jen's fish: hey, what are we, chopped liver? ;-}
Giacomo #1 Giacomo #2 Allie Jen's fish

Sora, a bundle of energy Van Gogh (in March of 2013), living increasingly largely Leila, a pit full of energy Jen's fish: hey, what are we, chopped liver? ;-}
Sora Van Gogh Leila Juniper

Pita, one clever canine Bella, slow but beautiful? Flipper, old but not in the way Max, small in body, but not in spirit
Pita Bella Flipper Max

Kiki, wild child, but sweet-tempered Shuksan, big boy that he is Becky Mae: good things come in small packages Asa the wonder-dog
Kiki Shuksan Becky Mae Asa

Hunter, super-smart but high-strung Otis #3, small and spunky Goombah, too big for his britches (what are britches, anyway?!?) Lauren's Siamese cat
Hunter Otis #3 Goombah Lauren's cat

Chloe, a bundle of ball-dog energy Bailey, a super-high-energy Golden/Chow/mix Yankee, a big beautiful rambunctious beast! Luna, the world's sweetest pit
Chloe Bailey Yankee Luna

Basil, Luna's loyal sidekick Roy Dollar, Northern dog, Southern style Huck: small dog, big appetite Toby, aka super-cutie
Basil Roy Dollar Huck Toby

Sadie, a bundle of joy Sadie, a bundle of joy Otis, happy but wise and obedient -- RIP, old friend Shelby, golden (lab?) puppy pleasure
Lucy Lee Sadie Otis #1 (R.I.P.) Shelby

Rae Rae, high-strung but high-smarts, too Hazel and Toby, older but not grumpier Klyde, 'hey, anything to eat in the backyard?' Good 'ole Kelsey, 'what's my name? where am I?'
Rae Rae (R.I.P.) Hazel and Toby Klyde Kelsey

LT, French bulldog extraordinaire Beacon, high-smart and high-strung Kika, Baltimore's finest
LT Beacon Kika

Jampo, weady to hunt some wabbit... Buster, high-energy jump monkey Peanut, small and sweet
Jampo Buster Barb's cat