How to find a good dog walker?
When a professional dog walker is caring for your dog, they are legally responsible for them, so it’s important that your dog walker understands what this means. If you are searching for a dog walker, here’s the key requirements to look for:
1. Fully Insured
Having an insurance shows that this person is professional and serious about his/her business. Insurance protects you and the walker should something unexpected happen to your pets. It’s also a good sign if the dog walker is willing to set up a contract between the two of you, defining services, pay rate, rules, etc.
Since you'll probably be handing your property keys to your dog walker, it's very important that you can trust this person. To get an idea of whether a caregiver may be trustworthy, check run a background check before hiring by doing some research online and read reviews of the dog walker. Remember, if you get a bad feeling after meeting someone, always trust your gut.
Ideally this should include up-to-date evidence-based knowledge of dog behaviour and dog handling. Dog walkers should also have canine first aid certificates. In case of an emergency or in the event your dog becomes sick or injured while in the care of a dog walker, you need to outline what level of decision-making your dog walker can have – for example seeking veterinary attention.
4. Equipment You should agree what types of equipment you would like to be used when your dog is on a walk – for example specific leads or harnesses, and if required, muzzles. You should also agree who will provide these. It may also be beneficial to discuss the types of enrichment toys your dog prefers.
5. Schedule and timing
You should agree the length of walks your dog requires and implement a schedule indicating where/when pick-ups, drop offs and walks will be occurring. Ideally, walks should be varied to increase interest and stimulation. Dog walkers that are flexible reduce the stress you face as a dog owner as you know you can always count on them when you are in a pinch. This ensures your dog always has someone caring for them.
6. Group Numbers – it’s important to ask how many dogs your dog will be walking with in their group and have a maximum limit of 6 dogs per walk according to UK Law. Unfortunately this number is not kept to by many dog walkers which leads to an unsafe and uncontrolled amount of dogs in one space. Make sure your dog is getting the care and attention they deserve on daily walks as mental stimulation and cuddles are just as important as exercise!
7. Last but certainly not least – Passion! Dog walking should not be just a ‘job’, it’s a passion and a lifestyle. Make sure you hire a dog walker that shows a genuine connection with dogs and loves what they do!