Dogs need daily exercise to stay in top physical shape as well as keeping them mentally healthy. However, not every dog owner can provide the amount of daily exercise their dog needs, which is when hiring a professional dog walker can be a great option.
Finding the best dog walker is no easy feat. It’s an unregulated field of work, meaning that pretty much anyone can advertise as a dog walker – even if they lack the necessary experience or know-how.
Your dog’s safety and happiness should always be the most important factor when hiring a dog walker, so it’s vital to find a professional that can accommodate this.
Here’s some handy tips for how to choose the right dog walker:
Recommendations are a great place to start
There are many places where you can find a recommendation for a decent dog walker. It could be a friend that already uses such a service, someone that your vet would recommend, or even an individual that is recommended from a fellow owner at the dog park.
There are also well known dog walkers in specific areas that are known to be very good, for example in the Matlock area Peak Pets are great.
Always arrange a meeting between the walker and your dog
Not only will this allow you to gauge how well your dog reacts to a person they will be spending a lot of time with, but also help get a better idea of the walker themselves. Most dogs have an immediate connection with skilled walkers as they know how to act around dogs of every temperament thanks to a keen understanding of a dog’s body language and behaviour
This isn’t a guarantee however, so you will want to ensure that your dog is comfortable being around this new person before hiring them!
Ask the right questions
First time users of a dog walker may be unaware of what questions they should be asking, but it is important to know more about the person and how they work. Some good questions worth asking includes:
- Where will the dog be walked?
- How long will each walk be?
- How do you accommodate dogs with particular behavioural or medical issues? (if applicable)
- Will you be the person walking the dog? (Some larger businesses use several employees)
Furthermore, asking questions about a dog walkers qualifications is highly recommended as it highlights their capabilities and experiences. Remember, you want a skilled professional, not a self-confessed dog-lover looking to make a few bucks on the side.
Try asking some of the following:
- How much experience do you have walking dogs?
- What training methods do you use when walking? look for someone that uses training methods that you agree with and use yourself)
- Do you have a licence and insurance? (professionals should be fully qualified, own a business licence, and evidence of relative insurance)
- How do you react to emergency situations and are you trained to provide canine first aid?
Invite them to a test walk
A test walk is one of the best ways to see the person in action. It provides the perfect opportunity to see how they deal with your dog in various situations, particularly when in the presence of other dogs or possible distractions.
Additionally, it offers and idea of how they treat your beloved dog. Always look for a walker who is caring and focuses on the dog’s needs and behaviours.