How to find a dog walker?
A balanced diet and regular exercise are necessary for maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Dogs are not exempt from this. Exercise is an important way to ensure your dog stays mentally and physically fit.When you decided to get a dog, you made a commitment to cater for all its needs, but life happens right? You've been busy lately and cannot take your dog out as often as you used to. Or maybe you've noticed some behavioural issues, and you think regular exercise and stimulation will iron them out.
Whatever your reasons may be, hiring a walker to spend time with your dog while you're away isn't a decision you should take lightly: You wouldn't just leave your best friend with anyone, would you?
Here are some steps for finding the best person to walk your dog and potential questions to ask:
What are your dog's needs?
The first step towards getting a good walker is to determine what your dog's needs are. Before you even begin the search ask these questions to help you clarify and narrow down your options: Does my dog need long walks or just a quick stroll around the block? How often and how long will I need assistance? What's my budget for a dog walker?
Narrow down your search
There are as many dog walkers in your city as there are dogs. The best way to quickly scale down this number and find potential candidates is to use our search functionality to find the best candidates close to you –it's quick and easy.
Let candidates meet your dog
After you've narrowed down your options, ensure your dog is present when meeting potential candidates. While it is essential to choose a person that your dog will feel comfortable to be with, the relationship between your dog and the walker doesn't need to be "love at first sight."
What you're looking for is someone that acts calm, is assertive and will watch out for your dog.
A lot can (and will) happen while you're away. It is essential to ask questions that concern your dog's health, safety and type of activity they'll be getting. So here are some questions you need to go over with any potential candidate:
- What is your experience with dogs? You need a dog walker that is conversant with dogs' body language and behavioural patterns.
- Are you a trainer, what are your training methods? It is important that your dog receives only positive, reward-based training. Be ready to move on if you don't agree with their methods.
- Where will you walk my dog and how do you intend to get there?
- Will you be walking more than one dog at a time? Can you break up dog fights? This is important if you have a shy or troublesome dog.
- Will you be the one to walk my dog, what happens if you're sick or out of town? You need assurance that whoever is walking your dog is well trained and won't bail on you at the last moment.
- Are you licensed and insured?
- Are you certified to provide canine first aid?
Going for a test walk
Now that you've gone over all the necessary questions, it is time to go for a test walk. Your dog walker will definitely be on their best behaviour, but you can still pick up cues during this walk. For example, you should be able to tell if your dog walker is focused on the dog, constantly reading its body language and the environment.Trust your dog and your gut feeling; you should only finalise the deal if your dog seems comfortable and happy being with them.
So,you've hired a dog walker, now what?
Even when you've found the right person it is still a good idea to keep a watchful eye on both walker and your dog. While most dog walkers are kind and trustworthy people, you should enlist neighbours and friends to look out for your dog, as well as report any unapproved behaviours.If you notice behavioural or physical changes in your dog that you do not like, ask for explanations.
Once you've found the right dog walker, they can easily become like family, after all a "friend of your friend is your friend." You need to treat them right, so they enjoy being around your dog: be kind, tip them often, leave a review on their page and offer a simple thank you. Oh, and remember to leave your dog's leash where the walker can find it.