Trust is the first thing you need in a relationship.
This applies to your friends, significant other, babysitter, and even dog sitter.
I was once in the market for a dog walker and so I wanted to share my experience of researching and finding a dog walker I could trust.
When you think about it, it’s more than just a dog walker. You are trusting this individual to take care of your baby. (If you are like me, your pup is like a baby to you!)
Before I hired a dog walker I did my research and met the person before hand so I knew my pup was in good hands. Here is what I learned and what I suggest.
Ask for recommendations
Ask for recommendations when you begin searching for a trustworthy dog walker. To name just a few people who would know about great local dog walkers are your local pet store, vet, groomer or even friends who have dogs.
If the dog walker has a website Yelp page, be sure to check the reviews.
My vet recommended a a dog walking app that I am currently using and it is great!
Once you find a well-respected dog walker/app, be sure to have a meet up before you just let them take your dog.
Make sure during the meet up your dog is introduced and make enough time to go for a test walk. This is beneficial because you can then see how they interact with your dog and whether or not your dog responds to their authority. The last thing you want is to put the dog walker in a situation where they or the dog could get hurt.
The dog walking company I chose had a meet and greet with my pup and me. We went over discipline, emergency procedures and they answered all my questions.
Questions you need to ask
- Where would you walk my dog and at what times?
- Do you walk a group of dogs? If so, what are the breeds and sizes?
- Can you accommodate special needs?
- Are you the walker or does someone else walk the dogs?
- Are you licensed and insured? Can you show proof?
- Are you part time/full time?
- Do you transport the dogs in a car?
- Can I track my dog during the walk? (Most dog walking apps will have this option and they can even tell you if the dog peed!)
Being comfortable with asking questions is so important. Whether you are going with an individual or dog walking app, ask all the questions you can to make sure it is the right fit.
Anyone can walk a dog, right? Well, I guess that statement is true, but when you are trusting a stranger to take care of your precious pup you want to know about their training background. Do they work with all types of dogs, and if so have them show you their training techniques. Are they the same as yours?
I had the dog walker go over simple training procedures such as stay, sit, down to see how my dog would react. Other training techniques may include how they walk the dog, how they discipline and how they reward your pup.
Be sure to go over all this during the meet and greet.
The test walk
Go for a test walk. I can’t stress to you how important this is!
Have the dog walker do a practice walk with you and your pup.
Does the dog respect and respond to the walker? You will want to make sure the dog walker has complete control. Try to cross the street, walk near busy areas or to a nearby dog park that the dog walker may visit during the day. You will also want to have the dog walker enter the home and see how the dog reacts to their presence. The last thing you want is your dog to be nervous and aggressive when you are not around.
Check the paperwork
Is it necessary to have a professional service contract between you and the dog walker? If you are hiring an individual dog walker rather than through a company or app, you will want to make sure there is a contract between both parties to explain the insurance policy and major details.
If you are going with a dog walking app you will more than likely have insurance coverage through them. This will give you peace of mind that if anything happens in your home or during the time the walker is responsible for your pup that you have all your bases covered.
Review the emergency protocols and what type of canine first aid experience they have. When you are trusting someone to walk your dog, you want to know how they will respond if a situation occurs. If they walk multiple dogs at once, you will want to make sure they have an emergency plan for all pups if something happens to go wrong.
Note: If you are looking for a more ‘one on one’ walk for your pup, make sure you notify the individual or company that you don’t want your pup to participate in group walks.
How to prepare your home for a dog walker
- Show them where the food is kept (if they will be feeding during the time of the visit)
- Get a copy of your key
- Explain the boundaries of your home
- Have a leash, treats, and emergency info accessible
- Get alerted when your dog walker picks up and drops off your dog with security cameras
Before I wrap this up I want to just give you a few of my top picks according to each country:
I would recommend going through a trusted dog walking app, that does background checks, is insured and does ‘one on one’ walks (rather than group walks), as there is less risk if anything were to go wrong. This doesn’t mean that hiring an independent dog walker is the wrong choice, just remember that it comes with more risk.
For more information on how to monitor your dog during the day, visit Cammy!