18 Aug How to find a good dog walker
For some people maintaining a regular walking routine with your dog can be difficult. Especially if they need a good couple of hours outdoors a day. But what do you do when life takes over? Find yourself a good dog walker!
Although a regular walking routine is essential when owning most breeds of dogs, it is inevitable that sometimes life can get in the way of ensuring our pooch is walked properly.
The importance of walking your pooch
Dogs need regular exercise, not only to keep them fit and healthy but also to introduce a regular toilet routine that doesn’t ruin the carpets!
A good walk is also great for burning energy. Dogs that aren’t exercised as often as they should be, tend to become restless and misbehave.
Walking your dog also is key to building social skills with other people and other dogs.
For those who need a little helping hand with getting their dog out, a dog walker is a great solution. However, dogs are a part of the family, and that means we won’t just leave them with anyone!
We want our chosen dog walker to be trustworthy, safe, caring, knowledgeable and confident in handling dogs – especially if they’re caring for more than one pup at one time.
What to Look for in a good dog walker?
When you leave your dog in the care of a professional dog walker, it’s their legal responsibility to look after your four-legged friend.
This means that finding someone you trust to keep your dog safe and happy, is essential.
Here’s what to consider when picking the right walker:
What experience and training does the walker have with handling dogs? Think about how they would handle varying breeds and temperaments.
A dog walker isn’t legally required to have insurance however when choosing a dog walker you’re far more likely to trust someone who does. Ask yourself, what if an accident happens on the walk, what if your dog gets hurt, or gets lost etc. You can find out more about the insurance available to dog walkers here.
A dog walker with insurance should have the correct policy for the number of dogs on the walk. However, policies can also account for accidents and emergency vet fees too. It’s better to be prepared in case something goes wrong – so ask away!
The best way to get to know how a dog walker works is to ask for references and speak to them yourself. Previous or existing clients can give you a clear idea of their level of service and notify you of any previous issues you’d want to address with them.
Where To Find A Good Dog Walker
Start simple, your veterinary surgery or local dog shelter usually promote the services of trusted local dog walkers.
Alternatively, you can look on the internet for ‘dog walkers near me’ which retrieves a variety of services in your area.
Important things to discuss with your dog walker
There can be no stone left unturned when it comes to what you expect from your dog walker once you’ve found one. Here’s some things you should discuss:
A formal contract should be in place outlining the schedule, insurance information, payment details and emergency protocols as well as what is in place in case they can’t make it. Do they have a replacement they can send that you’re happy with?
Make sure everyone involved is clear on what to do in an emergency, including your contact details, veterinary information and degree of authority. Why not also ensure their knowledge is up to date with the current rise in dog theft by referring to our previous blog?
What (if any) level of access do you want the dog walker to have to your home? Will you take your dog to them or expect them to come to you?
Do you expect your dog to be cleaned if they get wet and dirty out on a walk? If so is there any specific requirements in regards to this? For example, your dog needs a certain shampoo or can’t be brushed etc.
Harness vs collar
Every dog is different, and it’s not up to the walker to decide what your dog likes. Make sure to provide them with the right information and equipment to walk your dog safely.
On or off the lead
Are you confident that your dog will return to a walker before advising whether they should be allowed off lead? You should also check with your dog walker about the area they are walking in.
Solo or group walkies
Not all dogs behave well around other pooches, is your dog suitable for walking with a group of dogs of different breeds and temperaments?
Length of walk
Different breeds of dogs require varying amounts of time exercising based on their size and age. Some require a few hours a day, such as Cocker Spaniels and Border Collies. Others such as Chihuahua’s and Pugs may not need as long. So make sure your dog walker is clear on the length of time to be out with your dog. This benefits both the dog and your wallet!
Treats and food
Make sure you agree with the dog walker what treats you allow your dog as well as how many they’re allowed.