How to Find a Reliable Dog Walker

Mary Simpson
by Mary Simpson
Need a little help to get your dog off the couch and moving when you’re not around? Here are some tips on finding a reliable dog walker.

For pet owners, there’s no question that the fur-kid is a big part of the family unit. And just like one of the kids, he needs someone looking out for him at all times. Whether he’s hurt, sick, or lonely, he’s counting on you to help him get through it. This same dedication to his well-being should extend to those non-family members who come into regular contact with him. Whether this person is caring for your pooch while you’re on vacation or simply walking him while you run errands, you want to know that he’s safe and feeling loved, right?

Related: Should You Hire a Dog Walker for Your Pooch?

So, finding an ideal dog walker who will be in your lives for the long haul is going to require a little more work than simply handing the leash over to the local teen who’s looking to earn a few bucks.

Here are some tips on what to look for when hiring someone to walk the family pooch:

  1. From the moment they leave your property, your dog walker becomes legally responsible for your pet. Do they have insurance, have they received any training in dog handling and are they licensed (if required in your region) to walk dogs?
  2. Have they received first-aid training in case something happens to your pet while they’re out? If they are pet-sitting while you’re away, do they have a means of getting your pet to his vet if he becomes sick or injured?
  3. Will they be walking him solo, or as part of a group? This makes a difference in the level of attention he will receive and it also heightens the potential for doggy altercations if they don’t all get along.
  4. Do they plan to take your dog to a leash-free park? If so, ask to see the mode of transport and ask how many dogs will be included in this outing. You want to see that it’s clean, safe, and sufficiently sized to hold the number of pooches planned.
  5. Do they have references, are they part of an association, and if they have an employer, can you check out their website for recent reviews by pet owners?
  6. Are they able to walk your dog at a time that is most beneficial to him? For larger dogs, that should be at least one hour after eating due to the possibility of bloat. What is the duration of the walk – endurance differs between large and small dogs. And what routes do they plan to take because not all dogs are comfortable around traffic.
  7. Can they be available for a quick meet and greet with your dog to ensure there is good chemistry between them. This should include a short walk with you attending to gauge how well they interact with one another.
  8. Unless your dog walker is also a certified trainer, they shouldn’t be attempting to modify his behavior. During the meet and greet, review the commands he does well with, and ask for a report card after each walk so you can work on any challenges yourself.
Mary Simpson
Mary Simpson

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