Dogs absolutely love going for walks, but sometimes work or family obligations don't let you break out the leash as often as you'd like. In these instances, a dog walker can be a life saver, as long as you choose the right one. These questions to ask a dog walker before you hire them will help you feel confident in your decision. After all, you're hiring someone to help out with an important member of the family, so a little vetting is smart.
For starters, it's awesome that's you're considering hiring a dog walker. Regular walks are not only great for your dog's health, but they also stave off boredom, as noted by the Animal Foundation. Basically, regular walks benefit both your dog's body and mind.
And as it turns out, dog walking is pretty serious business. In fact, the dog walking services industry as a whole pulled in $1 billion in revenue in 2017, as explained in IBIS World. The whole world of professional dog walking has grown over the past five years, as IBIS World further explained. And this is great news for you, because it means there's more choices than ever before. You can be choosy and pick the dog walking service that's right for your family.
1. Do You Have Insurance?
Because you're often giving the new dog walker access to your home, as well as trusting them with your precious pet, it's important to have some peace of mind. Finding a dog walker who is bonded and insured is crucial, as explained by Bizfluent. It means you're dealing with professionals.
2. How Do You Communicate With Dog Owners?
Your dog walker should have a reliable way of reaching you, whether that's by phone, text, or email. And some dog walkers will leave detailed notes letting you know about the dog's behavior, food situation, or bathroom habits for the day, as explained in DogWalker.com. Decide the method and amount of communication that works best for you.
3. What's Your Bad Weather Protocol?
This can be a tricky situation. In general, bad weather policies take road conditions and potential hazards into consideration, as well as the health and safety of the dog walker (and dog), as explained in Purrfect Pet Sitting. Be sure to ask how your potential dog sitter will handle a sudden snowstorm or torrential rain. Will you still be charged for a cancellation due to bad weather?
4. How Long Are Your Walks?
Don't forget to consider the more logistical aspects of the walk. Ask about the duration of the walks, as well as where they'll take place, as noted in Cesar's Way. Make sure you know all the details.
5. Will The Same Person Provide Daily Walks?
Having the same person walk your dog each time can be beneficial. For the most part, dogs like the consistency, and you can come to trust the individual over time, as explained in Whistle. It tends to work best for everybody.
6. How Do You Deal With Behavior Issues?
Even well-trained dogs may give a little sass when they're adapting to a new person. Make sure you agree with your dog walker's approach to discipline, as noted in Cesar's Way. You want to make sure the dog is getting consistent messages from everybody.
7. Are You Certified To Provide Pet First Aid?
It's scary to think about, but you do want someone who is prepared for an emergency. Really, a dog walker who is familiar with pet first aid may be a literal life-saver, as noted by Brooklyn Bark. It's worth investing in someone who has the training.
8. How Many Dogs Do You Walk At Once?
Sure, it's always impressive to see a half-dozen leashed dogs managed by one person. But your pup might prefer a little more individualized attention. At the very least, your dog walker should know his or her own limits when it comes to taking the whole pack out for a stroll, as noted in Vetstreet.
9. Can You Provide References?
Like any interview, it's common to ask for references. Don't be afraid to follow-up, either, and see how those clients felt about their service. Make sure your dog is getting the best exercise buddy around.