Just as important as finding a great park for your pooch, in fact more so, is picking the right dog walker to take them there. After all, you’re likely going to be entrusting your best friend (and possibly your house keys) to someone you don’t know, so it’s important to get it right:
Get references. Even if they’ve been recommended, make sure you have full contact details (not just a mobile number) and some background on your prospective walker.
Ask about their experience. How long have they been doing this? Are they just in-between jobs (and likely to be unavailable soon – or worse, effectively unemployable, so not someone you’d want to trust your dog too.)
Do they know about training dogs? It’s certainly not essential, but it’s good to know, although do check that their methods aren’t diametrically opposed to yours.
Check insurance. If they’re professionals, this should be standard, and even with friends of friends it’s advisable. Stuff happens – dogs can run off, get hurt, hit by traffic attack other dogs. You should be covered, and so should your dog walker.
Following on from that, check if they’re good in a crisis. What will they do if your dog runs off or gets hurt? Some dog walkers are even trained in canine first aid.
Make sure you know what’s expected of each other, how used they are to dogs of your breed and temperament,
Always agree rates, times and frequency of walks in advance. There’s a big difference, especially with certain breeds with a quick walk round the blog and a long outing in the park.
Will they always be the one walking the dog? With professional organisations they may well not be, so do check.
Let your dog meet and have a trial walk with a prospective walker. That way you’ll all know if you’re likely to be right for each other.
Is your dog ok walking with several other dogs, or would they be better on their own? If the latter, make sure the dog walker is ok to do this – and expect to pay more.
If your dog is going out regularly with other dogs then check if they’re vaccinated and don’t have problems with fleas or worms – otherwise your dog could soon be sharing those problems.
Ask where the walker will be taking your dogs. If it’s unfamiliar territory and they’re going to be allowed to roam, check for security and safety.
Follow these steps, and you and your dog could enjoy a long and happy relationship with a dog walker. Happy hunting!
At Outlet we help people and their dogs, cats or other pet find a home they can rent, together. This service is called Lets with Pets and it covers pet advice for tenants, why landlords should allow pets and also some touching pet rental success stories.
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