If you’re looking for a dog walker, this post is meant for you. Hiring a dog walker is great for busy professionals or those with no regular work schedule.
But choosing a dog walker is not as easy as it seems. To make it easier for you, we’ve compiled some questions you should consider before hiring a dog walker. These questions will make it easier for you to determine if the dog walker offers preferred services, runs a legitimate business, has the necessary experience, has put emergency measures in place, among others.
Let’s get started:
1. How Long Have You Been Walking Dogs?
You’ll surely want to ensure that your dog walker can handle any situation, and an experienced full time dog walker can handle a situation better than others.
But! Any dog walker has to start somewhere, so do not automatically eliminate walkers with less experience - just follow your instincts when you meet them.
2. Are You Trained in Canine Body Language, Learning Theory and Pack Management?
Your dog walker needs to know how to read body language and take necessary actions to prevent fights, use proven training methods, know which dogs to place together, and be able to handle quarrels over space, toys, or play styles.
Basically, your dog walker needs to have professional knowledge and skills to keep the dogs under control. While love for dogs is vital, it may not be enough without professional training.
3. Is Your Business Licensed, Bonded and Insured - Can You Provide Proof of Coverage?
Bonding and dog walking insurance protects you and the dog walker in case something wrong happens. Liability insurance protects you against accidents and negligence, whereas bonding covers you against theft.
Anyone can claim to be insured and bonded, so be sure to ask for proof of insurance and certification.
4. Are You Qualified to Offer Canine First Aid?
Your dog can get injured during a walk. What will your walker do? Are they certified to provide first aid? If so, what are their emergency procedures?
If they’re walking multiple dogs when your dog gets injured, what will they do to the rest of the group?
Your walker needs to carry emergency contact information and know the easiest route to the veterinary clinic. Many dog walkers, however, do not think about these things until they happen, so ensure yours has plans for this beforehand.
5. Do You Offer a Free Consultation?
Most dog walkers offer a free meet and greet at your home, with no obligation to take their services. Through this, you’re able to determine whether they are the best fit for your pup.
6. Do You Provide Daily Updates About My Dog’s Behavior During the Walk?
You want your dog walker to update you about what your dog is doing while you’re not around. Many dog walkers include a short daily post-walk note in their policy.
Some walkers even use software that allows them to send daily updates to their clients, a potty report and a picture once they have completed the walk. This will let you know how your dog is taken care of and alert you to any unusual behaviors.
7. How Many Dogs Do You Walk at Once?
Some local laws regulate the number of dogs a walker can walk at a time. Others do not. Therefore, some dog walkers take out eight or fewer dogs, while others escort 15 or even more dogs in public spaces.
Whether the dogs are on a leash or not, the more dogs a walker has, the more chances of lost dogs, conflict, injury, and distraction.
8. Do You Walk Dogs of Different Sizes Together?
Big dogs should be taken out with other big dogs, and the same for small ones. Small dogs can easily get injured when grouped with their larger pets. Besides, the risk of predatory drift, where one dog preys on another, is much higher than it is generally.
Many times, this unfortunate incident happens between dogs who are familiar with each other. To be safer, we would advise you to follow the 50% rule - if your dog weighs 20 pounds, her playmates should not weigh more than 40 pounds.
9. How Do You Transport Dogs?
In case of an emergency, you’ll want to know that your dog is transported in a well-maintained vehicle and one that has maximum airflow.
The dogs should be separated within the vehicle for maximum comfort and to avoid conflict during transport.