How to Choose a Dog Walker
Know what questions to ask when you choose a dog walker for your four-legged friend.
Today, Sarah R. Parker of The Dog Walking Company has kindly furnished a guest post detailing what to look for when choosing a dog walker. Enjoy…
How to Choose a Dog Walker by Sarah R. Parker
When you’re looking for someone to walk your dog, you have a lot of choices to make. From how to find a walker – a website, a friend, a referral, a flyer in a coffee shop – to who to ultimately trust with your pup. At The Dog Walking Company, we believe it isn’t so much about the “how” as it is about the “who.” Whomever you let into your home and your dog’s life should be someone you can trust. Here are the Top 7 questions we recommend you ask when choosing a dog walker:
1) What is Your Experience with Dogs?
Loving dogs or having one for a pet doesn’t necessarily qualify someone to care for your dog. Ask your candidate if they have previous professional experience with dogs. Have they volunteered with rescues or shelters? Do they understand the time and effort needed to care for a pup? Can they handle your dog’s specific needs?
At The Dog Walking Company, we verify our walkers’ experience so you don’t have to. A “Verified Badge” means you can trust that they are who they say they are.
2) Do You Have Any Dog-Related Education?
Pet-care education can come from a variety of places: college degrees and certificates, trainer apprenticeships, volunteering, books, videos, and websites. These can all give a dog walker more info on caring for your dog, spotting potential health problems, curbing unwanted behavior, and keeping your dog safe and healthy while entertaining and loving them.
The Dog Walking Company offers all our walkers the chance to participate in education events each month. Professional trainers and highly experienced walkers demonstrate their techniques, discuss the best ways to handle common problems, and answer all our walkersâ€™ questions with tips on ways to further their pet-care education.
3) Can You Provide References?
One of the best ways to get to know a potential dog walker is to hear first-hand accounts of their work from previous and current clients. Glowing reviews from pet parents and happy pups who love their walk-friend are a great indication that you’re making the right decision!
4) What Techniques Do You Use?
Knowing how your walker will relate to and teach your dog is super important. There are a variety of techniques out there when it comes to training dogs, including positive and dominance training. Make sure your walker understands the technique you’ve chosen and can reinforce it during their visits. Understanding a walker’s own technique is even more important if you’re looking for someone who can give your dog additional training, like how to heel or interact safely with strangers. (Editor’s note: Pet Health Care Gazette always recommends positive training.)
5) How Do You Communicate with Clients?
Make sure your candidate asks YOU the right questions from the start. Does your dog have any special needs? How well does he walk on the leash? Does she have any aggression triggers?
Find out if your candidate will call, text, e-mail, leave a note, or send you photos or video. Make sure your walker plans to communicate with you in a way that meets your expectations and gets you all the information you need.
6) What is Your Rate?
Ask for a rate up front. If a walker’s rate sounds too good to be true, double-check answers to questions 1-5. An inexperienced walker might give you a super-low rate, but is it worth it? On the other hand, someone who is just out to make a buck might quote you a high-end rate for low-end care. Never base your choice solely on someone’s rate.
7) What is Your Availability?
You may have found the most awesome dog walker on the planet, but that doesn’t mean they’ll always be available, especially last minute. Most really excellent walkers need to be booked well in advance, so make sure you know what your walker’s schedule is like and how to ensure you can get on it.
This article is posted and shared through the courtesy of the Pet Health Care Gazette