Finding a dog walker can be a stressful task, especially if you have a dog that isn’t totally comfortable with strangers, or if you need to give the dog walker access to your home when you’re not there.
It’s important to get it right and choose a dog walker that both you and your dog feel comfortable with.
Here’s our top tips for choosing the right dog walker for you:
1. Search the dog walker directory to see the selection of dog walkers in your area
Take a look at each dog walker listing for your local area and send an enquiry to any of the walkers that sound suitable. Ask them some basic questions such as:
- what lengths of walk do they offer?
- what rates do they charge?
- will they walk your dog alone or in a group? (you should be able to specify what you want for your dog)
- do they walk dogs off-lead? (you should be able to specify whether or not you want this for your dog)
- what’s their procedure for emergencies? (for example if a dog is lost on a walk or becomes ill)
- whether or not they will be transporting your dog in a vehicle, and if so, is the vehicle properly prepared for transporting dogs, and will the dog be secured?
2. Don’t judge a dog walker by their listing alone. Contact them with some questions.
It’s a fact of life that not everyone is great at writing a ‘blurb’ about their business or their love of dogs, so even if you’re unsure on someones dog walker directory listing, it’s worth contacting them for more information.
Someone can be bad at writing about their dog walking business but be highly experienced and caring when it comes to looking after a dog.
3. Check the dog walker’s references and credentials.
Many of the walkers listed in our dog walker directory state that they are CRB checked (Criminal Records Bureau) and have other references and qualifications. This is important because you know if the dog walker has gone this extra step they are serious about their job.
Most walkers with these checks done will give you a copy of their documents, but if not, you should always feel free to ask to see a copy.
There are some walkers who work more casually and don’t get such checks done. This is not necessarily a deal breaker, you should judge each walker on their own merits, but if you are giving the dog walker access to your home, choosing a walker that has had a CRB check is defintely an extra safety precaution.
4. Ask walkers to visit you for a face to face chat.
Sometimes you never can tell what a person will be like until you meet them face to face. Any dog walker that’s serious about their job will be willing to visit you to talk face to face and meet your dog, before you decide whether or not to hire them.
From this visit you can watch how the dog walker interacts with your dog, evaluate how your dog reacts to this person, and decide whether or not they seem comfortable together.
5. Discuss your dog’s individual needs in details
All dogs are different and you know yours better than anyone. Make sure you discuss in detail your dog’s individual needs, likes/dislikes and temperament, especially if your dog has any issues with:
- other dogs
- cats and other animals
- pulling on the lead
- over-excitment when on a walk
- toilet troubles
- seperation anxiety
- basic training
Depending on the walker’s experience, they may be able to help train ‘problem behaviours’ out of your dog, and regular exercise can help to calm many dogs that are experiencing problems with aggression or over-excitement.
What do you want to do next?