When You Got To Go, You Have To Go!
Choosing A Dog Walker That Is Right For Your Dog
You need someone to walk your trusted companion while you’re away. Of course, you want a person who’s trained in animal care and knows dog first aid. But you also have a few questions. How do you find someone reliable? Should you go with an individual dog walker or a dog walking service? How much time will they spend with your pet? We’ll help navigate these questions and others with some factual information to get you started.
Dog walkers will usually pick your animal up at your home and return it there. They should also check the food and water dishes to make sure your dog has enough of both. Sometimes they walk several animals at once. A professional walker should have a license or permit if that’s required in your city. They also need to be fit and have enough stamina to control several dogs at once, including breaking up fights.
Questions to Ask a Prospective Dog Walker
How many other dogs will be walked along with mine?
Experienced walkers can handle several animals at once, but you probably don’t want your dog to be walked in a group of ten or twelve. No one can give enough attention to each pet with that many of them on leashes at once. Dog walkers who only care for one dog at a time will cost more, but this is another option if you’re skittish about your dog being walked with doggie companions.
Will the walker feed and water my dog, and how will it be secured when the walker is returning another animal to its home?
The answer to the first part of this question should be an automatic yes. After exercise, your pet will be thirsty and hungry. This is a routine part of the job. You’ll also want the walker to explain in detail how they’ll secure the others when they return each animal to its home.
Where will my dog be walked? Will he be on a leash the entire time or transported by vehicle to a dog park or walking path?
Some dog walking services collect the animals in a van and take them to another site to be walked. Others pick them all up door-to-door and keep walking. This is an important question to ask, especially if you have a preference for leash walking or dog parks.
Does the walker offer water and doggie treats during the walk? Will they give your dog medication if needed?
Both of these things are standard and reasonable expectations for your dog walker. Pets need water when they’re being walked or allowed to run free. Your dog will be exercising for about an hour and will need to stay hydrated.
Is the dog walking service licensed and insured? If a walk has to be cancelled, is there a backup plan?
You’re giving a person you don’t know a lot of trust by allowing them access to your home to pick up your canine companion. A professional will be licensed and insured against accidental damage or theft of items in your home. You also need to know what the procedure is when an emergency comes up and your appointment is cancelled. Will another service take over? If not, will you have plenty of time to make other arrangements?
How much does the service cost and when will you pay for it?
Some services ask to be paid up front each week. Find out if they take credit cards and be sure to get a receipt. This is also a good time to ask for references.
Your Responsibilities as an Owner
Be prepared to answer some questions from your walker as well. They’ll want to meet your dog and make sure that he or she is trained to behave. You’ll be expected to show updated vaccination records and your dog will need to wear a current rabies vaccination tag.
Dogs behave better when they get enough exercise. They also crave companionship with humans and other animals. Hiring someone to take your companion for a walk each day while you’re working will benefit both you and your dog. Your dog will be happiest if you hire someone who has an established routine so the pup will know what to expect. Most importantly, you want to find someone who likes your dog. The best walkers love animals and will establish a rapport with every animal they walk.