Anyone can become a dog walker without any special qualifications, so how do you know who to trust with your canine companion? If you need to hire a dog walker to walk your dog, then you need to know how to look for one that is perfect for your needs, and most importantly your dog’s needs. Exercise and mental stimulation are important for every kind of dog, so if you’ve got a busy schedule some days, a dog walker could help you with that.
Just like choosing a babysitter for your children, choosing a dog walker is no light matter. They will be responsible for your dog’s safety and wellbeing during the time they are together. You should also remember that you will need to have trust in this person as they will be in your home, sometimes unsupervised. The two biggest factors in choosing a proper dog walker for your pooch are trust and safety.
Here are some things to keep in mind to make sure that your dog walker is a good, qualified match for your furry friend.
Before you pick a dog walker…
You should have clear requirements for what you are looking for. Just because someone loves animals it doesn’t mean they will be a great dog walker. You should be clear on what your requirements and expectations are. It’s best if the dog walker has experience working with all kinds of animals and dog breeds, different sizes of dogs and different personalities. It will also be helpful to find someone who can read your dog, and is perhaps trained in animal behaviour. If your dog’s handler does not understand when your dog is scared or stressed it could lead to an unsafe situation while on their walk.
In addition, be aware and know what your dog’s preferences are and how they behave during the walk. This information will help you better find a suitable partner for your pet. For example, if your dog likes to chase squirrels you will need someone who is ready to handle that. Or, on the flip side, maybe your dog is older and only needs to go around the block a few times. Letting your potential dog walker know this can help see if you would be a good match for each other.
You will also want to know how often you need a dog walker’s services. Most likely, your potential dog walker will need to know this to see if your schedules will work together.
Lastly, determine your budget. How much you want to spend will also help narrow down the search for you and change who is available for you. It will be helpful to conduct some research on pricing in your area.
How to Choose the Right Dog Walker for Your Dog
You can start by conducting some basic searches on the internet. Dog walking companies typically have a website that has all of their information on it. But keep in mind that there are some great dog walkers out there who also work independently.
You can also tap into your immediate network. You can ask your friends or family if they’ve got any recommendations. Furthermore, you can even AST your vet, groomer or local pet store owner for their suggestions.
We suggest that you hire someone who walks dogs for a living rather than hiring someone who is just passionate about dogs or doing it as a hobby. Dog walking is a big commitment, and you need someone who will keep reliably showing up for months or even years, no matter what the weather is like.
Hiring solo dog walkers is a little different compared to dog walking companies. Solo dog walkers should be seen as more of a local, boutique type of service. With a solo dog walker you have the opportunity to build a more personal relationship with them, they also offer flexible service. With a dog walking company it is more like a big box store. They will have more convenience and accountability, but it comes with more rules and regulations and be less personalized of a service.
Before you decide on whom you want to hire, you should be interviewing your candidates and asking some following questions:
- How long have you been walking dogs?
- Where will you walk my dog?
- Will you be walking multiple dogs or one at a time?
- Can you provide client references?
Among any other questions or concerns that you might have.
And before you make the final decision, consider scheduling a meet and greet beforehand to see if you and your dog can get along with the dog walker. It’s important to watch how the two interact and to see if you will be able to continue a relationship with the person.
After you have chosen it’s a good idea to prepare a few things to give to the dog walker that they will need such as your contact information, your vet’s contact information, info and instructions about any medication or injuries your dog might have, alarm codes and instructions and the location of supplies and leashes.
It’s also not unusual for dog owners to want to keep the lines of communication very open between them and the dog walker. You can ask your dog walker to give you a daily update when they take your dog out. This can be in the form of a post-it note, or a short text message.
Be aware of any warning signs that things might not be going so well. If you feel like something is not right, ask the dog walker. You know your dog and how they behave during a walk, so you can ask the walker about your dog’s behaviours. This will help give you information on whether they are attuned to your dog’s needs. Always remember that if the service is less than satisfactory you can cancel at any time.
Karthik Talwar is a content writer for BreezeMaxWeb that helps businesses showcase their brand through enticing copy. When he is not working, he enjoys exploring new places and trying new foods.