How To Choose A Dog Walker

I am the proud fur-mama of two adventure pups, Leia and Vader. I'm fortunate to own a dog walking company in Colorado, so my pups are with me all day – it's take your dog to work day, everday. What I love most about having the pups with me is they help me socialize and exercise other dogs as well as, provide companionship to me on our drives from one client to the other but it wasn't always this way.

Vader is our first rescue pup, at the time I worked an office job that required me to drive home on my lunch breaks, take Vader on a quick walk, grab fast-food and rush back to work. Some days I would take him to doggy daycare and other days I would have someone come and take them for walks. Along the way I've learned lots of do's and don'ts when it comes to finding a profession care taker for my pups. The most important, any body can advertise themselves as a dog walker, but that doesn't mean they have the experience or compassion to keep your dog(s) safe and happy. 

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Here are some steps you can take to ensure that your dog walker is qualified and a good match with your adventure pup. 

  1. Ask for a Meet & Greet!

A meet and greet is an opportunity for you to not only meet your prospective dog walker but to ensure that they are the right fit for your schedule, your dog(s) needs and temperament. 

Things to consider and ask:

  • Is the dog walker insured? 
    • If something was to go bad on a dog walk; your dog bites a person running by or a loose dog approaches and bites your dog, you want to make sure that those expenses are covered, and that your dog receives immediate medical attention. 
    • Does your dog walker have reliable transportation to take your dog(s) to the vet? 
    • Who's responsible? Are you expected to pay for the damages or are they covered in your walker's insurance?
  • Can the walker accommodate your schedule?
    • Flexibility in a dog walker's schedule is important. If you say yes to overtime, who's going to check on your pup? I would recommend finding someone that is a full-time dog walker and can accommodate for last-minute request. Of course, you don't want to make a habit of booking your dog walker last minute but in an emergency situation you can be reassured that your dog(s) are in the best care.  
  • Will your walker also need to administer medication? 
    • Does he/she have experience/training in administering medication?
  • Does the walker have a backup employee?
    • If your dog walker is overbooked, ill or on vacation, do they have a backup dog walker or partnered company they use? You do not want to hire a dog walker that is only available in the summer and has no plans or accommodations for clients in the holiday seasons when you might need them most. 
  • What is the walkers background with animals? Have they received any formal training?
  • Look for a walker with a background working with local shelters, animal hospitals, etc. 
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         2. Request Referrals 

    Ask your prospective dog walker to provide at least 3 referrals. You want to make sure the person you are allowing in your home is trustworthy of your personal belongings, in addition to taking care of your pet. When contacting their references ask about the walkers' timeliness and their personal experience with the walker, including how long they've used the walker.

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         3. Go for a test walk

    Preferably during the meet and greet, show the walker the proper way to put on the dog(s) harness and or collar. Then, take the walker and dog out on a test walk. Allow the walker to be in control of the walk, pay attention to how the walker holds the leash, make sure they have a secure grip on the handle. Additionally, walk them through any corrective commands you use on your regular walks that they should use. 

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    Safe Places To Find A Pet Sitter – 

    • Petsit.com
    • Thumbtack.com
    • Angieslist.com
    • Local newspaper ads
    • Facebook community groups

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