Dogs needs to be exercised every day in order to stay healthy. This is essential for their physical and mental well-being so if you are unable to walk your dog daily you will need to find a suitable dog walker.
This can be a difficult decision because although anyone can call themselves a dog walker, it doesn’t mean that they have the experience, qualification or expertise to be the right walker for your companion.
Take a look at this guide for choosing a dog walker that meets all your pet’s needs:
Getting good recommendations from other dog parents is probably the best way to start when looking for a dog walker of your own. Ask them what their experiences have been, talk to other dog owners at the park or ask your vet if they have any particular dog walker they are happy to recommend.
If you do get a good recommendation then be sure to check them out thoroughly before deciding to hire them.
Meet and Greet
Always invite a potential dog walker to meet your dog because your dog needs to be comfortable with them. If your dog feels shy or wary when they meet new people you need to keep this in mind and give them some time. However, the walker should not be phased by this. Ideally, they will be calm, assertive and able to read your dog’s behavior and body language.
The sort of thing you need to know is what will be happening while your dog is with their walker. Consider the following questions:
- Where will my dog be walked?
- Can you accommodate my dog’s needs? If your dog is not particularly well socialized, for example, would the walker be willing to walk him/her alone? Would they be able to introduce your dog to others gradually?
- How long will my dog be walked? Make sure you are clear about the specific amount of time your dog will spend walking with their new companion.
- Will anyone else walk my dog? Many dog walkers work alone, but some are part of larger businesses. If this is the case you’ll need to know who is likely to be walking your dog.
- What training do you have? If you are employing a dog walker you want them to have some experience of dogs, ideally professional experience. This is a crucial question to ask or you could end up with someone walking dogs just to earn some extra cash.
- Have you been walking dogs for long? You need to know how much experience this person has in walking dogs.
- What training methods do you use? If their training methods do not dovetail with your own you might want to choose someone else.
- Do you have the relevant licenses and insurance? A legitimate dog walking business is required to have a license and proof on insurance.
- Are you able to deal with emergencies?
- Are you trained and certified in canine first aid?
And finally, take the walker for a test walk:
Ask the walker if you can come along for the first walk. Although they will obviously be on their best behavior you can still get an idea of how they interact with your dog and if your dog likes them. See how they relate to your dog’s needs, for example, are they sensitive if your older dog needs to walk slowly?
Look to see if they are a good fit. Look at your dog – how is their body language? Do they look happy and comfortable with this person? Never feel rushed into making a decision, it is important that your dog feels happy and comfortable on his or her walk and that they are safe.