Choosing a Dog Walker
Dog walkers provide a valuable service for dog owners who are always on the go or who have busy work schedules that don't allow for a midday walk. But it's not easy for most dog owners to entrust the care of their companion to just anyone - even for such a short amount of time.
Dog walkers can be individuals or dog walking service companies. Each has their own benefits: For example, if your individual dog walker gets sick you may not have a replacement, but with a dog walking company you may not have the same dog walker every single day.
Any dog walker - regardless of whether it’s an individual or company - with a happy client base will be happy to provide references that you can and should contact.
Interview your potential dog walkers as you would a potential babysitter. If possible, ask to follow along on a walk to see how the dog walker handles your pup, especially if they have problematic tendencies like pulling on the leash.
Questions to ask a potential dog walker
Not all questions have right and wrong answers, but they might give you a better understanding of your personal comfort level when it comes to someone else walking your dog.
How many dogs do you walk at one time?
A dog walker may offer private walks for just your dog, have small groupings of dogs based on each dog's behaviour, or have a large mix of dogs on their walks at one time.
Where do you walk dogs?
Some dog walkers will come to you, while others work in a designated service area. Some may only walk dogs in specific parks, which necessitates a a car ride you may or may not be comfortable with. Others will walk your dog around your own, familiar neighbourhood.
What will you do if my dog…
Ask the dog walker what they do when a dog jumps up, doesn't come when called, growls, wants to go greet another dog, etc. It's more than likely you can find a suitable fill in the blank for this question based on your dog's behaviour, and it’s good to know in advance that your dog walker is prepared for it.
What methods of training do you use?
It's likely that a dog walker will have to use some kind of training, such as positive reinforcement or obedience training, while walking a dog depending on what happens along a walk. You'll want to know that your training methods and standards are being upheld on these walks, so your dog is constantly getting consistent training.
Use these questions to make sure you feel comfortable with your end choice - after all, the whole point of a dog walker is to make life easier on yourself!