How to Choose a Great Dog Walker

February 27, 2014

The easy part is done--you have decided for your dog's well-being to hire a dog walker. Now you have the tough task of choosing just the right one! 

So what are the criteria you should use to make the right decision?

Here are a few questions you should ask before hiring any dog walker: 

  1. Is the business licensed and/or bonded? Many dog walkers do not have bonding but they usually do have insurance.  If your dog walker has bought this they are usually going to be a trustworthy partner for your pet.
  2. Will the dog walker come for an interview so that you can talk to him/her and allow you a chance to see how your dog interacts with them? This visit is essential as it is vital that you see the chemistry between the potential walker and your dog. Does the walker seem genuinely concerned about your dog?
  3. What kind of training has the dog walker had? Many dog walkers have completed special training courses such as Pet First Aid and other basic needs courses. Be sure to ask how many dogs are walked at a time - and if so, are there any behaviour concerns regarding the other dogs? As well, if your pet requires medical attention such as administering medicine, ask the dog walker about experience in this area.
  4. Does the dog walker have experience and references? An experienced dog walker will be able to provide references which you can easily check. Don't be afraid to ask for references. Your pet is a member of your family - you are right to be cautious in regard to trusting your pet's care to someone else.
  5. Will the dog walker give you a phone number so that you can check in on your dog from time to time if you are on an out-of-town visit? This can be a pre--arranged time or day.
  6. Does the dog walker provide a back-up plan in the event where he/she cannot look after your dog? In the event that your dog walker is unavailable for a visit, who would they send as replacement? Is that person insured? Always provide a contact person in case that your dog walker cannot reach you, especially if you are going out of town.
  7. Does the dog walker agree to sign a written contract that outlines your specific needs and  definite fees for his/her services? A specific well-written contact is essential for both you and your dog walker. This contract should be detailed including such things as length of walks, dates and times of walks, dietary needs etc.
  8. What additional services will the dog walker agree to offer?  If you need other things done find out if she/he will do them and if there is an additional charge. This would include such things as  bringing in your mail, newspapers, etc. 

Hiring the right dog walker can be a difficult decision. The pet care industry is growing rapidly, affording you many more choices as more dog walkers are available than in earlier years.With careful investigation on your part, and asking the right questions, you can choose an excellent dog walker for your pet!