Many pet parents treat their dogs the same way they would treat any other family member. So when it comes to finding the right someone to look after their pup, it’s only natural for owners to seek the best care possible when they hire a dog walker. If you’re looking to hire a dog walker, consider these tips before you commit.
Friend vs. Dog Walking Services
According to Sally Morgan, pet physical therapist and pet behavior expert in Hatfield, MA, “Many times people have a friend… or a neighbor walking the dog, and this can work well,” but if you are looking for that extra piece of mind that comes with hiring a professional dog walker, that may be the best choice.
When deciding on the dog walker that is best for you and your pup, a professional dog walker can offer more frequent potty breaks at specified times, as well as specialized attention that a neighbor or friend cannot. Since the needs of every dog are different, it is important to select a well-qualified and experienced individual or choose from reputable dog walking services to keep your furry companion happy and safe during a walk.
Choosing the Right Dog Walking Services
When seeking a professional dog walker or dog walking services that will treat your pup just as well as you do, “The best way to find a good dog walker is with a referral,” says Morgan. “Short of this, you can ask dog training centers for recommendations.”
Before you hire a dog walker, conducting adequate research and asking the right questions is a critical first step. When interviewing dog walkers, you should inquire about the qualifications, relevant experience and references of each potential candidate. Consider setting up a meet and greet before any official walk takes place to formally introduce your pup to the new person—especially if your dog is shy—to make sure it’s a good fit. The encounter will also give you the opportunity to assess the professionalism of the individual and will allow you to ask any necessary questions about the pet care services they can offer. “Not all walkers take dogs in groups, but this is something people should know,” says Morgan. “Also, dog walkers often offer different prices… so make sure you are clear about what you would like for your dog… [You may also specify] if you expect a [photo or] note each day, and perhaps leave a notebook for written details about the [walk].” Additional questions may include whether the individual has their own reliable transportation and if they are open to accommodating any special needs your pet may have. “If your dog is a senior… walkers [will] sometimes take a special slow walk,” asserts Morgan.
Setting Up Your Dog Walker for Success
Once you have decided to hire a dog walker, it’s important to help set the assigned individual and your pooch up for success by providing the proper essentials for walking the dog: a dog leash and dog collar. The PetSafe Premier Martingale Dog Collar is a nice example of the martingale dog collar, which is designed to lightly tighten and adjust to your pet’s movements to give the dog walker greater control while also reducing the risk of your dog backing out of his collar and escaping. You can also try the PetSafe Easy Walk Dog Harness, which will discourage your dog from pulling the leash. A leash like the Four Paws Nite Brite Reflecting Dog Leash is a great choice because it is equipped with sewn-in reflective material that is visible from up to 200 feet away. The Frisco Solid Nylon Dog Leash is another great dog leash that could do the trick.
In addition to the right type of dog collar and leash, it is a smart idea to make sure your four-legged friend is properly tagged. “It is all too common for a dog to get lost when the dog walker comes in… so it is important that you have preparations to make sure your pet is easy to find and identify if he does get lost,” says Morgan. The Platinum Pets Pawsitively Safe Pet Finder Tag is a durable, scratch- and water-resistant option that has a unique code on the back. When the code is entered into the Pawsitively Safe site, it can help your furry family member return home as quickly as possible.
In addition to equipping your dog with the best tools possible for a safe walk and a happy return home, it’s also important to consider your neighbors as well as the environment. For the inevitable potty breaks, Frisco Handle Dog Poop Bags are a durable and leak-proof option. These bags are available in scented or unscented and designed with convenient handles that make cleaning up after any size dog easy.
Taking the time to hire a dog walker that is right for your dog will be worth it in the end. A professional dog walker can be a helpful resource for years to come, and you’ll enjoy peace of mind and security knowing that your pooch is in good hands.
Dominika is a Chicago native who graduated from DePaul University with a bachelor’s degree in English. Having nearly a decade of combined experience in the fields of marketing, journalism, UX and social, she thrives in the fast-paced and ever-changing world of digital media. When she is not working, Dominika can be found at the beach, traveling the world or cuddling her female Rottie named Ezra.