Whether your dog is an energetic pup that needs a few miles of running every day or a lazy sloth, physical and mental stimulation are essential for all dogs.
So what if you work long hours, have an unpredictable schedule, or are physically unable to provide your dog with the necessary exercise? As a caring and responsible pet owner, you should think about hiring a dog walker. Choosing the correct dog walker is a serious business, similar to hiring a babysitter; he is responsible for your dog's well-being and safety during the amount of time they spend together. Furthermore, you are essentially offering your house to a stranger. When it comes to selecting the best dog walker, trust and safety are the two most critical factors.
Make Sure You Are Prepared Before You Hire A Dog Walker
Knowing and understanding the requirements does not make someone a good dog walker. To be a professional dog walker, you must have expertise working with animals of different sorts, breeds, sizes, and personalities. Dog behavior is how dogs interact and show things like love, frustration, and stress, and if a dog handler does not recognize the distinctive and subtle characteristics, the dog and anybody around him might be in danger.
Understand your dog's interests. Some dogs enjoy exploring (and urinating on) every inch of grass they come across. Others rush off when they spot a squirrel. Some dogs are calm when walking on a leash, while others may be hostile. Your aging Dachshund may go a few blocks and be ready for a nap, but your neighbor's Border Collie requires a nice run. You must first understand your dog's behavior before you can find the right dog walker.
Evaluate how frequently you will want the services of a dog walker. Do you do it every day, every two days, or every three days? Only when you're obligated to remain late at work? Inform a dog walker when you require his services.
Prepare a budget. The amount of money you're ready to spend may influence who is available to you. You should conduct some research to determine the pricing range in your location.
How to Pick A Professional Dog Walker
Make use of your network
Recommendations are a fantastic place to start. Consult with friends and other dog owners to see if they can recommend someone. There are numerous websites that may help you locate a dog walker in your region. Scout is a wonderful example of a website to visit and start with.
In interviews, ask the relevant questions
Once you've identified a few possible dog walkers, interview them all and ask them some critical and specific questions. What do you love most about being a walker? is the most critical question. This usually results in solutions to the most frequently asked questions. Because not all dog walkers are as human-social as they are dog-social, short replies may just reflect their personality rather than their performance. On the other hand, you must feel at ease, so communicate your expectations clearly.
Other questions to consider:
- Where do you plan to walk my dog?
- Do you walk multiple dogs at once or just one?
- How long will each walk with my dog last?
- Do you have any experience with dogs like mine?
- How long have you been walking dogs? (If they work for a dog-walking service, ask how long they've been with the company.)
- Do you have a license, bond, and insurance?
- Can you give references from clients?
- Have you taken any pet-care classes, such as pet first aid?
- What is your cancellation policy, and what happens if you are unable to appear on a scheduled date due to illness?
Once you've narrowed down your list of possible dog walkers, it's important for them to meet your dog; it's critical to see how the two to communicate. Seeing how your dog reacts to the person when they first meet is a perfect way to make sure you've chosen a competent dog walker. Does your dog appear happy or excited, or does he cower? We humans can learn a lot from a dog's signals. You could even want to do a test walk together to see if the dog and people are a good match.
You've Made a Decision on a Dog Walker. What now?
Congratulations! You believe you've made a good choice. Confirm that you've given the dog walker all of the necessary information. In fact, write everything down and leave it somewhere for him to refer to. Include the essentials:
- Provide your contact details (phone number, personal email)
- Veterinary Supplied Information.
- Medication information and instructions: specify what the medication is for and, if necessary, specific instructions on how to administer it.
- Instructions for feeding your dog if he is the one who does it.
- Instructions and alarm code: Some alarm providers offer smartphone wireless connectivity. Take advantage of this feature if yours has it; this way, you won't have to share your code.
- Supplies' location (leashes, treats, cleaners, pee pads, etc.)
Maintain open lines of communication
It's not unreasonable to require a daily update from the dog walker. This might be written on a tiny whiteboard, on post-it notes, or even in a text message.
Keep an eye out for any indications that things aren't going as expected. If anything does not feel right, ask. For example, if you know your dog regularly shows specific characteristics on a walk, ask the walker whether he's noticed that. His response will reveal if he is truly connected to your dog and knows about dog behavior—or not.
It may take some time (and effort) to find the right dog walker for your dog, just like finding a babysitter or someone to monitor your house while you're away, and that's okay. You want your dog to be secure and comfortable when he or she is in the care of others. A good dog walker is the next best thing to have while you are so busy with your career.