Just like you look forward to a break during a hectic day – maybe to go outside, breathe in the fresh air, and enjoy the sun on your face – your dog craves time outside while you are gone. A dog walker can quickly become your dog’s daily walking companion: Taking her for walks so she can get exercise and socialization with other dogs and people she meets along the way.
Dog walkers have access to your home and to your dog when you aren’t there. You have to make sure you choose a reputable dog walker and interview him before you sign a contract.
Ask as many questions as possible, including:
What is your experience?
A dog walker should have experience with dogs, so he knows how to effectively handle dogs of all sizes, ages, and temperaments.
Can you provide references?
References are a good source of information if you take advantage of them. Call the references and ask questions. What did you like about the dog walker? What didn’t you like? How long have you been using the dog walker? If you’re no longer a client, why did you stop using the dog walker?
Are you insured?
A professional dog walker will always carry insurance.
What are your emergency procedures?
Accidents happen. What immediate action does the dog walker take if your dog is in an accident or gets injured? Find out the exact emergency procedures and make sure you are comfortable with them.
Do you have a backup dog walker in case you can’t make it?
Ask what happens if your dog walker can’t make it. Will you be reimbursed if your dog’s walk is canceled or will a backup be there to walk your dog?
How many dogs do you walk at a time?
Does the dog walker offer personalized one-on-one attention as with Pet Sitters Ireland, or does he walk numerous dogs at one time? If he walks more than one dog at a time, how many dogs does he walk at a time? Are dogs all the same size or various sizes? How does he deal with conflict between dogs?
Where do you generally take dogs?
Does the dog walker have plans for where he will walk the dog each day? Do you provide information about walks?
How long are walks?
How many minutes will actually be spent walking the dog and how much does each walk cost? If your dog walker drives your dog to a walk, for example, that travel time should not be considered part of the walk itself.
Make a list of questions prior to the interview. If you forget to ask a question, call the dog walker later. It’s important that both you and your dog feel comfortable with the dog walker.