It’s not about where you walk, it’s about the soft pitter-patter of your pup’s paws as they stroll joyfully through the neighborhood. Every pooch requires daily exercise in order to maintain their mental and physical well-being. If we’re being realistic, sometimes our professional obligations interfere with our ability to provide our pawsome furballs with a healthy amount of exercise. What does that mean for you? Guilt. Endless guilt.
The good news is there’s no need to feel shame or remorse – a professional dog walker can help you out. I know what you’re thinking: “I can just have my neighbor’s teenage son take her outside.” If you take a second to paws and reflect on that line of thought, you’ll realize there are some issues with traveling that route. First, they’re likely not equipped with the knowledge needed to handle an emergency (doggie-heaven forbid something happens). Do they know what commands to use or how to handle unforeseen situations that may arise while on a walk with your pooch?
Instead of putting your su-paw-star pup in potential harm’s way, your safest bet is to hire a professional dog walker who has the training and experience necessary for the job. There’s a multitude of reasons why a human may decide to hire a dog walker – from the desire to help your pooch lose weight to frequent puppy potty breaks to everything in between. But how do you find a dog walker that is trustworthy, reliable, and credible?
Here are some vital tips to help you partner with a caring and professional dog walker.
Tap into your Network
If you have family members, friends, or co-workers who are also dog owners, check to see if they’re currently using a dog walking service or if they have any recommendations. Your inner circle is always an effective source to leverage as it’s filled with people who genuinely care for both you and your pooch.
Check if your Dog Groomer or Trainer has any recommendations
Individuals who are already in the dog care business likely have relationships with dog walkers. What’s more, many dog trainers offer a walking service as an additional form of training. Not only is it ideal for ensuring your favorite tail-wagger gets his or her exercise, but if you’re struggling with behavioral issues or leash training, you’ll receive additional support in those areas.
Ask your Vet
You may not have noticed before, but your vet’s front desk is likely loaded with business cards from reputable dog walkers. I Shih-Tzu not. Additionally, there are numerous veterinarian nurses out there who offer dog walking services – it’s the paw-fect side hustle for them.
Summon the Magic of the Internet
As with anything you search for via Google, do your research. Look for services that provide trained individuals, and pay close attention to reviews from other pet parents who’ve utilized the service. To help you get started, here are a few resources that can help you find the right dog walker: Pet Sitters International and Sitting for a Cause.
Questions to Ask Yourself Before Hiring a Dog Walker
What’s my budget? You’ll first want to determine what’s feasible for you financially. By doing so, it can help narrow down your search and ensure you’re clear on budget expectations.
What are my dog’s needs? No one knows your pup’s likes, dislikes, and quirks quite like you do. Maybe your pooch is the type to spot a squirrel and run towards them with lightning speed. Perhaps your dog has a penchant for claiming every single tree as their own by marking their territory. There are all different kinds of furry personalities out there – from aggressive to polite to overwhelmingly eager. In order to select the best dog walker for your four-legged friend, take some time to truly understand your dog’s behavior.
How often do I need a dog walker? Will you need someone multiple times a day? Just on Tuesdays and Thursdays when you work late? You’ll want to make sure you’re connecting with walkers who have the availability you’re looking for.
What Should I Be Asking Potential Dog Walkers?
It’s important to be prepared when delving into the interview process with your roster of potential dog walkers. After all, this is your BFF who you love furry much – and before they go emBARKing on a wonder-fur adventure with some “strange new human,” you want to clearly communicate your expectations and ensure they tick off all items on your “must-have” list.
Here’s a peek at the questions you’ll want to ask:
Are you licensed, bonded, and insured?
What type of training have you had? (you’re looking for someone with training in pet-care, behavior, and first aid. You’ll also want to request copies of their certificates for your records).
What’s your experience with my dog’s breed/traits/personality type?
How long have you been a dog walker?
Can you supply me with a few client references?
Do you walk one dog at a time or multiple a-dog-able pups at once?
Where do you plan on walking my dog?
How long will each walk with my dog last?
What’s your cancellation policy? If you’re sick or unable to make it at any point in time, what will happen?
By investing time in doing your homework and asking the right questions, you’ll be able to identify a dog walker who fits your pup’s needs the best.
Do you use a dog walker? Feel free to show them a little love by giving them a shoutout in the comments below!