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It can be exhausting trying to find a suitable dog walker that can be trusted with your furry family member. A lot of us cannot go home during the lunch hour to take our dog out for a walk. Some of us also have a long commute and get home later than most people. If this sounds like you, then a dog walker might be a good option.
Before you hire a dog walker, there are many questions to be asked. You do not want to hire just anyone to take care of your dog.
Questions To Ask A Dog Walker
Ask For References
Ask friends and family if they can recommend you to a good dog walker. You could also ask people at the local dog park or veterinarian and see if they have anyone they could recommend.
Ask any potential dog walkers for three job-related references, and make sure you contact them to find out what kind of person you are dealing with. You do not want to just hand over your dog to anyone claiming to be a dog walker.
There have been lots of bad stories about people who didn’t do their research before hiring a walker.
Proof of Insurance, Business License, And Criminal Background Check
You should be asking if the dog walker is licensed and insured. If the walker is running a legit business, then they will have no problem showing you their business license and proof of dog – walking insurance. You do not want to leave your dog in the hands of someone who does not have insurance or business license, even if they have shining reviews.
A criminal background check is important as well because if someone has a history of animal abuse, you want to know about it before leaving your pet in his or her care.
If someone is serious about being a dog walker, then they will have the proper insurance and business license.
Are You Trained In Pet First Aid?
Ask the dog walker if they have first aid for canines. I know, seems like a weird question, and I’m sure a lot of people don’t even think about it. But what if something happens, will the walker be able to assist your dog? Will they know what to do? It is important to hire a dog walker that has pet first aid training as it could save your dog’s life.
Knowing that the dog walker is certified in pet first aid will let you know that the dog walker is serious about their job, cares about the dogs they walk and will be able to help your dog if something were to happen.
How Many Dogs Have You Handled at Once?
This is a good question to ask. You want to know how many dogs they have walked at once.
- It is essential to know if they can handle multiple dogs as most dog walkers take at least two or three dogs for a walk.
- There is a limit to how many dogs you can walk at once (numbers vary depending on where you live). You wouldn’t want to hire a dog walker who is breaking the law by walking more dogs than allowed.
Walking too many dogs can cause an issue like not being able to handle them, some dogs may not get along, and there is a potential for the dogs to get hurt, or even get away and become lost or worse.
How Long Are the Walks?
Ask about the duration of the walk, not including transportation time. You don’t want your dog only going out for a 5-minute walk. The dog needs time to do its business and get some exercise while outside.
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Some dogs take longer than others to do their business. I know from experience. My dog Kiki never goes number 2 right away. It can take her up to ten minutes to do her business.
If your dog takes longer than the average dog to do its business, than this is something you should mention to the dog walker so that they are aware.
Where Will You Be Taking My Dog?
Asking a dog walker where they will be taking your dog is a common question. It’s good to know where your dog is going on its walks.
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Most dog walkers will take dogs to the local dog park. Dog parks are an excellent place for dogs to get exercise and socialize with other dogs.
If you do not want your dog going to a dog park, then let the walker know where you would like the walk to take place. Your dog is probably used to a route, so advise the dog walker of the course, and let them know not to take your dog to a dog park.
Can You Accommodate Special Needs?
Is your dog unsocialized? An unsocialized dog should be slowly introduced to other dogs. It is not safe for your dog, other dogs, and the walker if your dog has not been socialized with others before.
Does your dog have a disability or health issue that special treatment? Some dogs cannot walk with a pack due to health or disabilities. You should advise the dog walker that your dog needs to requires private walks.
Ask them if they provide private walks. Knowing that there are private walks provided will put you at ease and makes walks stress-free for your dog.
Will You Be The One Walking My Dog?
The majority of dog walkers are sole proprietors of their business. But some larger dog walking corporations have lots of walkers, so you need to be sure of who is walking your dog. It should be the same person that walks your dog on each of its walks, so your dog does not get confused.
Be sure to ask them if they will be the one walking your pup, and request to have only one dog walker your dog if they will not be the one taking care of your dog.
What Training Do You Have? What Are Your Methods?
Ask the dog walker what kind of training they have with dogs. It is best to hire a walker that has training for dog walkers. Ask them if they have training in:
- Learning Theory- How Dogs Think
- Aggression Dogs
- Dog Fights- Prevention & Resolution
- Running a Dog Walking Business
- Emergency Planning and Prevention
- Walking Puppies
- Socializing Dogs
- Walking More Than One Dog
- Field Trips
- Special Need Dogs
- Dog Communication
You want to know what their training methods are, and agree with them, as they will be taking care of your dog.
Once you have gone through all the questions with the dog walker and are happy with their answers, and they have provided you with the required documents, then it is time to set up a meet and greet.
Meet And Greet
Request to have the dog walker take your dog for a walk on the route they will be taking. It would be best that you go along. You want to know how they are with your dog, and if your dog is comfortable with them.
Most dog walkers that are serious and care about the wellbeing of a potential client will not object to a meet and greet. In the meet, and greet the dog and the walker will have lots of time to get comfortable with each other and even become good friends!
Do not become discouraged if the first dog walker you meet does not pan out. There are many dog walkers out there, and you will find the one, it just takes patience.
Rember to ask lots of questions, as you are leaving your dog in the hands of a stranger, and want to make sure you pick the right one. Take your time and do your research on potential dog walkers.
How Dog Walkers Charge For Their Services
Most will charge per walk. If you want only one walk a day, then you can expect to pay around $15-$20 for twenty-minutes, and $30-$45 for a half-hour walk. Expect an additional $5-$10 for each more than one dog.
Do I Need A Dog Walker Every day?
If you are away all day, then it is a good idea to have a dog walker take your dog on at least one walk during the day. This gives your dog exercise that is important for your dog’s health.
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