Posted by Lora Shaw on June 26, 2013
A dog walker is just what your dog needs to break up their day, giving them a much needed potty break and a respite from being home alone all day. Some dogs can go up to 12 hours without a potty break, but having a dog walker can provide more that just a quick trip outside for their business. You’ll be letting this person into your home and your dog in their hands, so it important you find the right person who you can trust with your pet at home and on the street.
Ask around at the dog park to see if there any individuals or companies that are recommended by your fellow dog owners in the area. Additionally, local pet stores or doggie spas tend to have a community board where dog walkers can advertise. Professional dog walkers should be licensed and you should be able to check references, if you’d like. Companies should be both bonded (meaning they’ve done background checks on employees) and insured (meaning that they carry some form of liability insurance.)
Communicate Up Front
Consider your dog walker like a nanny for your pet. They are your partner in training and training maintenance, your dog’s advocate and your pinch hitter when you can’t be home during the day. Communicating at the start is essential to getting your relationship off on the right foot. Make sure to share your dog’s commands, personality quirks and fears, as well as what they are and aren’t allowed to feed your dog. Also, it’s important they know who else should have access to your home, such as cleaning staff or lawn care professionals, and what to do if they see something abnormal. No one likes to think about emergencies, but they can happen. It’s vital you discuss what you want the dog walker to do in the event of an emergency, including which vet or animal hospital they should take your pet to and how much or what care they can authorize without your presence.
Keep Your Walker Happy
Keeping all the pet supplies, such as poop bags, a leash and collar, treats, and winter gear, close to the door shows that you value their time. Checking in on your dog’s behavior and progress shows you value their expertise. Small tokens of appreciation and a tip at holiday time are also great ways to express your gratitude. Showing them that you value their work and efforts in helping care for your pet is key to keeping your dog walker happy.
About the author
Lora Shaw is currently the Vice President of Operations at Pet Palace.