It’s not difficult for anyone these days to market themselves as a Dog Walker – but how would you know how to choose a competent, qualified person if you’re faced with this task?
Before you hire a professional dog walker, they should offer you references, a contract detailing their rates and cancellation procedure, liability insurance and any certificates showing membership of dog walking associations such as Pet Professional Guild. You need confirmation of who will pay any Vets bills if your dog is injured during his time with the dog walker and if they are trained to carry out canine first aid in such an event. Ask for confirmation in writing of all this important detail.
Initially, I would recommend that you ask the following basic questions to help you make your decision:
- Will you be the actual person walking my pet? Sometimes a company uses several different walkers, so that your dog doesn’t have the opportunity to bond with the walker. You need to know the time your dog will be walked – at the same time each day is preferable. Let them take your dog on a trial walk, and observe how both the walker and your pet interact with each other – your dog should be happy and cooperative around this new person.
- How many dogs are taken for walks at the same time and are they all of a similar size and temperament? This is important if your dog is timid or unsociable around others. Make sure you stress the importance of your dog being allowed off the lead or kept on a long leash if this is what you would prefer.
- Do you have any previous experience or training when walking several dogs at the same time? As an owner, you need to know that your pet is in safe hands during your absence, or if an emergency arises. Give the dog walker your authority to act on your behalf in a crisis situation.
- Where will they walk your dog? It’s much better for your dog to walk different routes, to relieve their boredom, on different terrains such as grassy fields, woodland and also on pavements.
- If you cannot make the walking appointment for any reason, do you have alternative arrangements? Of course you wouldn’t want your pet sitting at home with crossed legs, waiting patiently for the walker who never turns up.
- Does your dog have behaviour or medical issues? Don’t be afraid to mention them to the walker. You need to know that your dog walker is capable and responsible enough to handle an aggressive dog, and likewise, if they’re able to administer required medication to your pet, all the better.
Be honest, and don’t try to keep anything from them. A professional dog walker will also have many questions to ask you too, to help them understand your dog’s character; if you have any training methods in place; where you would prefer your pet’s walks to take place; does your dog have any behavioural triggers.
At some point, once you’ve made your choice of walker for your beloved dog, you will have to hand over the keys to your home, which in itself is major judgement of character as you will probably only have known this person during a 30-minute interview. A professional dog walker will recognise your worries and fears and will do their utmost to make sure you feel secure and confident with your choice.
If you have any queries or would like advice from a professional Dog Walker, please contact me at https://www.finchleydogwalker.co.uk/