We live in a day and age where hiring a dog-walker has become a necessity for many people. The majority of adults lead busy lives trying to juggle work, kids, family time, etc., and often it is the pets that are neglected. Fortunately, we can now hire someone to make sure our loyal Labrador gets his exercise before we even come home from work! Be on your guard though, there are plenty of lazy phonies that are just looking to make an extra buck, while putting in the least amount of care and effort into walking your pet. Before you sign someone on, here are a few things to consider about your prospective dog-walker:
Questions to Ask
- What credentials do they have? (Do they have a certification, or at least substantial experience working with animals?)
- Are they naturally invested in spending time with animals? Do they volunteer at shelters, and do they genuinely seem concerned about the well-being of pets in general?
- How many dogs to they walk, and how will yours be a priority. (Also find out what hours they work, and if they walk dogs on the weekend.)
- Ask how much their rates are to see if they are competitive.
- Do they have references? Are they in connection with a veterinarian, in case of an emergency?
- What training techniques do they employ? How will they correct behaviors and work with your dog while walking him?
- Do they have liability insurance? (Make sure you aren’t going to get sued if your dog gets aggressive and nips the person.)
Be sure to get both a professional and a personal reference from your potential dog-walker. When in doubt, ask around to your pet-pal loving friends and get recommendations on who they use.
Have a trial walk with your dog and the new dog-walker. See how they interact and how your dog responds to their leadership. Remember, if your dog is suspicious of someone, chances are you should be too!
Make sure there is some accountability in place for when the walker is scheduled to arrive. Let your gardener or neighbors know when the walker will be coming by, or have them text you when they arrive and when they depart. While it is always important to expect the best in people, remember that your dog is precious, and his health and care should be a priority.