Selecting a dog walker is a big decision. You will be trusting someone with your pet’s well-being as well as possibly the keys to your home. Ideally, you will want to find someone who has been recommended by a friend or your veterinarian. Not only will you be getting a character reference, but you will also be assuring yourself of getting someone with experience as a dog walker for hire.
Dog walkers can be trained professionals
It is one thing to be able to walk your own dog. But a professional dog walker must be comfortable handling many different dogs and sometimes multiple dogs at once. In fact, that is one of the first things to ask – will your dog be walked alone or with a group of other dogs? If there are multiple dogs walked at once, what is the maximum number? You and your dog may be comfortable with a group of six dogs, but 15 could be another matter. The more dogs the dog walker handles at one time, the less individual attention your dog may receive. Some places now have regulations limiting the number of dogs that can be walked at the same time by one person.
What if the weather is bad? Dogs will not take a rain check when it is time for them to go outside, so a dog walker cannot expect to take a rain check, either. Find out what the contingency plans are for bad weather, particularly if there are transportation issues that prevent the dog walker from making it to your home. If you think transportation is a potential issue, you may be better off finding a dog walker who lives in your neighborhood.
Dog walkers may be a primary job
You will want to know if the same dog walker will always be walking your dog. It is one thing if your dog walker has a backup in case of illness or transportation issues. But if it is some sort of shared arrangement in which someone else will also be walking your dog on a regular basis, you will want to meet that person as well.
Find out if dog walking is a sideline or is the dog walker’s primary job. Someone for whom the dog walking is secondary to a fulltime job may put the fulltime job first and be less reliable in keeping appointments.
See if the dog walker has a license and insurance for dog walking, which may be required in some places.
Lisa Swan writes for pet sites like MetroDog.com.