Life is busy, so it is important to ensure your dog is getting adequate attention when you can’t be there. A good relationship with a dog walker will help your pup lead a healthier life, and create a less stressful one for you.
First, answer these questions to find out what kind of walking service your dog needs:
- Are they social with other dogs or do they prefer to be by themselves? Group walks aren’t for every dog, especially if your dog has any form of aggression. Solo walks allow for more structured outings and can provide more exercise for those dogs who prefer human companionship.
- Does your dog have any formal training? If going on an off-leash walk is something you want for your dog, good recall is a must!
- What is your dog’s energy level? A tired dog is a well-behaved dog! Dogs need 30 to 120 minutes of exercise a day. For working breeds, a 30-minute walk around the block just isn’t going to cut it. Puppies and senior dogs may also have different exercise needs. Maybe you’re able to walk your dog in the evenings and you just need a dog walker to let them out to the bathroom during your 10-hour work day. Finding the right amount of time for a daily dog walk can be hard. A dog walker can give you peace of mind that your pup is getting what he needs.
Next, find a dog walking company that is right for you and your dog. Here are some tips to consider in your search:
- What are their qualifications? Not all companies have qualified walkers to take care of your pups. What kind of training do they have? Are they insured and bonded? Have they been trained in Pet First Aid? Anyone can advertise themselves as a dog walker, but that doesn’t mean they have the ability or set-up to keep your dog happy and most importantly, safe.
- Read their reviews. The internet is an open book where anyone who had a less than perfect experience can post it for all to see. Do some research on the company you are looking at. It is impossible to please everyone, but you will get a great idea of who you are hiring based on what other clients have to say.
- What steps do they take to ensure the safety of your dog? Qualifications are great, but be sure your dog walker has some procedures in place to keep your pup safe from step one. How do they transport the dogs? Are the vehicles air conditioned? Do they ever leave the dogs unattended? Once at the park, do they just let all the dogs off leash or do they take steps to ensure your dog responds to them? How do they handle emergencies?
- They need to like your dog and your dog needs to like them! Try to be there the first time they take your dog out. See how the walker interacts with your pup. If your dog is cautious and takes a while to warm up to new people, watch to make sure the walker is calm, gentle, and not pushing them out of their comfort zone. Also, your dog should be excited when the walker comes by!
Every professional dog walking company should have your dog’s best interests at heart. We all want to do everything we can to keep your best friend healthy and happy, but selecting the perfect dog walker is a little more challenging than you may have expected. It is hard to put that much trust into someone you have just met. By doing some research, taking these simple steps, and asking the right questions, you will ensure a happier dog and your peace of mind.
Written By: Rachelle Biever CPDT-KA