Someone to Walk your Dog or a Professional Dog Walker?
How to choose the right person for the job
Dog walking is fast becoming a very desirable career. It provides exercise, the great outdoors and most importantly lots of time spent with gorgeous dogs. With so many people offering the service, it is really important to establish that the walker you choose is going to provide what you need for your dog. It is also important that they have the necessary experience and tools to carry out the job. This is where a professional dog walker comes in.
There are some people who provide the service on a part-time basis, to earn some extra income or possibly because they have some spare time in their day. If that works for your situation that’s fine, however, to ensure your dog is your walker’s top priority you should really look at someone who provides this service as a full-time business.
The key things you really should ensure your dog walker can provide are:
- A genuine love and passion for dogs (you will know with the initial interaction they have with your dog and how your dog reacts with them)
- Experience (don’t be afraid to ask)
- Fully comprehensive business insurance (which you should have sight of)
- A clear, recent DBS Certificate (which you should have sight of)
- A contract with terms and conditions to ensure all parties are protected
- A canine first aid certificate – this is not essential but may help in an emergency situation. If they are canine first aid trained, do they carry a first aid kit?
- A vehicle (insured for business purposes) and accessories to ensure the safe transportation of your dog. This can include a dog guard, dog seat belts with harnesses, fixed and secured crates. The vehicles should be regularly cleaned and disinfected, with good ventilation and temperature control. At For Our Love of Pets we only use SUVs or estate cars, no dog vans. That way your dogs are transported in the manner they are accustomed to when travelling with you.
Other things you should consider are:
- What type of walks your dog will go on and whether they will be solo walks or with other dogs – if so, how many? How many is manageable? Some Local Authorities allow up to six dogs to be walked at a time. To us, that is far too many. At For Our Love of Pets, we always say no more than three dogs with one walker so that all dogs are getting the attention and care they need and will be manageable in a difficult situation.
- If they are being walked with other dogs how does the walker evaluate which dogs will get on?
- Aside from a first aid kit, what else will they carry with them when walking and caring for your dog?
- If you are having puppy visits to begin with, ensure your dog walker is going to be able to accommodate the time of walks which will suit you once the puppy is old enough. A puppy bonds with all its “people” at an early age and it is quite unsettling for them to have a puppy sitter and then have to get to know someone new when they begin walks.
- How much information your walker gathers from you at your first meeting. Your walker should want to know everything about your dog. This is not just the legal bits e.g. dog tag, microchip etc but also your dog’s likes, needs, fears, health issues, should there be any restrictions to their walks due to age, health or behaviour, how do they react when meeting other dogs, people or children. There are many questions to be asked so that your dog walker knows as much about your dog as required to ensure they are properly cared for.
- They should then provide you with the opportunity to provide additional information and for you to ask them questions.
- Ensure they can provide the service you want not what works for them or their schedules.
- Do you like and trust this person to care for your dog and have access to your home?
- More importantly, does your dog like them?
- When things are going well – great BUT if something goes wrong, will your walker have the experience or processes in place to be able to cope with the situation – whatever that may be?
- Don’t be led by price. Generally professional dog walking businesses will set their prices based on the local market rates. The cheaper option is unlikely to be the best choice. Your dog is part of your family and deserves the best care you can find.
- Read testimonials, see what third party people say about them. If you would like to talk to some existing clients, ask if that is possible.
There are plenty of other things you could consider but I hope this is a snapshot of the key points when considering employing someone to care for your four-legged friend.
For further information on the services For Our Love of Pets can offer for your dog or other furry or feathered family members please contact Jacqui on 07787 543555 or Jacqui@forourloveofpets.co.uk. https://www.forourloveofpets.co.uk/services/#dog-walking