• Shannon Hellyer Gibson

How to choose a dog walker

Updated: Aug 23, 2019

Choosing the right dog walker for your dog can seem simple for some, yet completely daunting for others. Your dog can’t tell you if the walker is doing everything they’re supposed to do, if they’re showing up at the right time, if they’re getting their full amount of time at the park, if they’re being bullied etc.

For some it’s as simple as here’s my dog, he’s friendly and easy going and everything will be fine. For most of us we want to make sure that the person we choose cares for our dogs as much if not more than we do.

Ask your friends and neighbors for referrals. You’ll be surprised how many of them know a good dog walker.

Ask for references, I’m always surprised how many people don’t ask me for references How much experience do they have? How long have they been in business? Just because they’ve been around for 10 years doesn’t necessarily mean they are the best walker for your dog, conversely a new walker might be perfect.

Make sure they are insured for dog walking etc. and licensed with the city. In our area commercial dog walkers that use CRD parks must hold a dog walker permit. Ask if they have one.

It separates the professionals from the hobbyists.

Are they trained in pet 1st aid? Have they had any other dog handling training?

How many dogs do they walk at a time? Some dogs do well in a pack of 6-8 dogs others no more than 4. I have seen amazing dog handling skills by walkers with 8+ dogs and others who couldn’t handle 3. Ask what your walkers comfort zone is. For me its 8 dogs (depending on the makeup of the group). Know what your dog’s comfort zone is.

What happens if your walker is sick, injured or on goes on holiday? Is there a plan in place for coverage?

Are there contracts to be signed?

Do they come to your home to do a meet and greet? Beware the walker who will just show up to take your dog with no formal meeting first! Ask lots of questions at your meet and greet. Your walker should have lots for you as well.

What type of vehicle do the dogs travel in? Is it climate controlled for extreme temperatures?

What type of dogs will your dog be walked with? Are they all vaccinated or titer tested?

Where do they walk your dog? How long are the walks?

How do you stay in touch with your dog’s progress?

Will they let you know if your dog is happy or suitable for their pack?

Lastly and most importantly GO WITH YOUR GUT INSTINCT!!! If you feel uncomfortable even after all your questions have been answered keep searching. The right walker is out there for almost every dog.

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