Raising a dog and working to make a living, can have it’s challenges. How do you master raising a puppy and being gone all day? Dog walking services can come in handy to help you on those busy weeks or challenging developmental stages. Getting a dog walker can help you manage developing a schedule with your dog. Here are a few simple things to consider before you hire one. Hiring a big dog walking service can have its pros and cons. For example, there are many individuals that provide a reliable unique experience that can meet your needs too! How do you know what you need? Here are a few thoughts to help you assess what’s best for your lifestyle.
Bigger dog walking companies hire many dog walkers or sometimes have vans servicing many people. Sounds great at first, but your dog may be sitting in a van half of the day, as the service drives around town picking up other clients. Once at the park, puppies usually will play hard with each other, while older dogs often just stand next to the walker waiting for the walk. It’s really up to you to assess your dogs needs and what’s best for your lifestyle, budget and work schedule. Is it to get exercise, go potty, or to be socialized? The main thing you need to note is your dogs age, housebreaking needs, energy level and your hours gone, which will tell you what type of service you really need. Many middle age dogs or senior dogs benefit most by individual one-on-one walks, as opposed to the larger companies that offer park pick-ups. Sometimes, a nice long walk, 10 minute game of fetch and a potty break will do the trick! The best place to find a great dog walker is at your local vet’s office, pet store, or a friends referral. Once you’ve found a great dog walker it is a good idea to interview them properly.
1. Make sure they are insured or bonded. This seems obvious, but you’d be surprised how many people forget to ask. If the person works independently and is not bonded, then always ask for referrals. Use your best judgement. Referrals can come from trainers, vets and other clients they walk. If the dog walking service is a big company, then ask to see their current certificate of insurance, as they often hire many dog walkers to service larger areas. Also, you may not get the same person walking your dog. Discuss your needs, concerns and safety rules with the company and make sure the people they have as walkers, fit your needs and have experience.
3. Go on a walk with the walker, once. Observe how they handle your dog, making sure they use the same commands you use, keeping training consistent.
4. Give your dog walker a window of time to arrive. Remember, you aren’t their only client. Two hours is more than fair, they will appreciate the flexibility, and you will get consistent service.
5. If you provide the leashes, training collars etc., it is imperative that YOU regularly inspect them and keep them in working order. Keep them in the same place, and back-ups are always a good idea, especially for specialized gear. Make sure your dog has current tags and information on it’s collar.
6. Provide your walker with your vet’s info in case of emergency. Keep a credit card on file at the vet, along with a signed declaration stating that your walker is allowed to bring the dog in for treatment.
7. Don’t forget your budget. Hiring a dog walking service can add up! However, remember it does not have to be a forever thing. You can cut costs, too. Those of you who own pup’s can use a service for a few months, to get you over the hump of housebreaking issues. Other’s can begin a service with the end goal to-be, to use the service as needed! In other words, eventually, only use the service for your dog during those busy weeks at work. You have options.
Also, remember that your needs may change from needing one type of service to another, over the course of raising your dog!