How to choose the right dog walker

Choosing a Dog Walker

As a caring owner, you only want what is best for your pet. At the same time, life is hectic, and sometimes there aren’t enough hours in the day to do everything you need to for Fido. Proper exercise is crucial for dogs of all ages, but if you work a full-time job, it can be hard to take your dog out for the walks her or she needs. That’s where professional dog walkers come in. But with a bevy of options, it’s hard to decide which walker is best for your dog. If you are looking to hire a dog walker but don’t know where to start, here are some helpful tips to guide your process.

Get recommendations. Getting an honest opinion from a neighbor or friend can go a long way toward helping you find the right walker for your dog. Similarly, asking local dog owners at dog-friendly places such as the park or the vet can give you an idea of what other people’s experiences are like. While this shouldn’t be your only criteria when hiring a dog walker, it can certainly provide you with insight on what to look for and what to avoid.

Set up a date. Your dog’s comfort level with its walker is crucial, so it’s important to set up a time for the two to meet. Conversely, it is also important to see how the walker treats your dog. There might not be an immediate connection, and your dog might act shyly towards the walker at first. However, pay attention to the walker: is he or she composed? Are they assertive in their interactions with your dog? Answers in the affirmative mean that you can move on to the next steps in the hiring process with this person. Furthermore, a dog walker who understands your dog’s body language is important, as well, as this helps foster a positive relationship.

Ask the right questions. This goes beyond understanding when and where your dog will be taken and how much the walker charges per outing. Confirm that the potential candidate will be the one and only walker of your dog, as consistency is key. Knowing their training background and technique is a significant step to take, as well. This helps you to understand if they can handle any problems that arise, as well as if you are comfortable with their methods. Asking to see proof of insurance and proper licensing will ensure that your dog walker is running an upstanding business. It always helps to know if your dog walker knows canine first aid, for peace of mind in the case of an emergency.

Schedule a test walk. Before hiring a dog walker, ask if they can go on a trial walk with your dog alone. Your dog acts differently when you are not around, and so it is vital that you take this last step to see how your dog’s behavior holds up when alone with the walker. If the potential walker takes his clients’ dogs in packs, make sure that your dog is taken with them— just to be sure that your dog is comfortable with the arrangement.

Go with your gut—and your dog’s. In the end, trust your instincts when selecting a dog walker. If you are considering multiple, equally qualified walkers, go with the one your dog seems to like best, and whose demeanor best aligns with the way you believe your dog should be treated.

How to Find the Right Dog Walker [Cesar’s Way]

The Dog Walker’s Guide to Choosing a Dog Walker [Notes From a Dog Walker]

10 Questions to Ask Your Dog Walker [Whistle]

How to Choose a Dog Walker [Dog Walker]