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Guidelines for Hiring a Dog Walker

A dog going on a walk in a field with their new dog walker

Long work days and high-energy dogs can be a tricky combination. The simple solution is to hire someone to walk and care for your dog while you’re away. However, first, you need to hire one. And deciding which dog walker is the best fit for your dog can be a tough decision. You want to trust that they will arrive on time to walk and feed your forever friend. Additionally, you want to be sure they know how to handle unforeseen circumstances. 

Hiring the right dog walker will give you peace of mind. Here are some guidelines for making the right decision for your dog.

The Most Important Questions to Ask Yourself Before Hiring a Dog Walker

Before interviewing potential candidates, you need to know what you want the dog walker to do. This can range from feeding your dog to administering medication. Some dogs may need a bit of extra walk time, while others may prefer some one-on-one attention.

What will your dog walker need to do?

The main task will be walking your dog and giving them a little exercise, along with a bathroom break. This is pretty easy and straightforward. You will probably want them to refill the water dish if needed and you might want them to feed your dog as well. They should check on the condition of your dog and note anything that might require the attention of your vet. 

Administering Medications

If your dog is on medications, they need to be able to give those to your dog as well. This can be difficult if your dog needs some kind of injections–they need to be trained and qualified for this.

Additional Mental Enrichment

It is always good if they will give your dog a few fun and mentally stimulating activities before they go so your doggo doesn’t get too bored waiting for you to return. 

When does your dog need to visit and how often do they need to visit?

Your dog walker needs to be available when your dog needs to be walked, so let them know when you leave for work and when you return so that they can stop by at the best times for your dog. It doesn’t make much sense for them to show up an hour after you leave or 30 minutes before you return.

If your day is long or you will be out of town, you will need to schedule multiple visits. Make sure that they will be available at the times and days that you will need them.

Questions to Ask a Potential Dog Walker

After you’ve sorted out what you need your dog walker to do, you can begin interviewing paw-tential candidates. Here are some questions you will want to consider asking: 

Do they have someone to fill in if there is an emergency?

In life, stuff always happens. You need to make sure that they have someone available in case they get sick or have some sort of emergency. That way, you won’t have to take time off work to care for your doggo if your walker is sick or needs to care for a family member.

How much do they charge and are they licensed, bonded and insured?

Hopefully, nothing bad will happen, but just in case, you want to make sure that your dog walker is licensed (if one is needed in your locality) and bonded and insured. This way if there is an accident or incident, you will be covered.

Do they have references?

One of the best ways to get a feel for if a dog walker is a good fit for your dog is to talk to other dog owners that have used them. They will fill you in on their experience with the dog walker, what to expect, and if they were satisfied with their service.

Additional Questions and Considerations

Talk to them about their experience and get to know them. Some questions you’ll want to ask are:

  • How long have you been walking dogs?
  • How long have you been with the company currently employing you?
  • How much time do you plan on spending with my dog?
  • Where are you going to be walking them?
  • Do you have experience with dogs similar to mine in size and temperment?
  • Do you have any pet-care training, like administering medications or first aid?
  • What happens if you are sick and unable to come on a scheduled day?
  • How do you handle things if I have to cancel at the last minute?

Schedule a meet and greet with potential dog walkers

A meet and greet with a potential dog walker

Before you hire a dog walker, it is best to meet them and make sure that they are the right person for you and your doggo. This also gives your dog the opportunity to meet the walker with your supervision.

You will want to watch how your dog interacts with the candidate and vice versa [1]. Dogs can be great judges of character, and they often know best when it comes to making friends.

What are the personal qualities of a good dog walker?

Some of these might be obvious, but others might not. Make sure that they are the right type of person that you want caring for your forever friend when you are gone.

They should:

  • Love and understand dogs
  • Have a professional appearance and attitude
  • Provide references from other dog parents
  • Have experience with dogs similar in size and temperament to your dog

Personality-wise, they should be:

  • Honest and trustworthy
  • Able to deal with your dog’s specific needs
  • Compassionate and patient
  • Calm in an emergency
  • Dedicated and reliable

And most of all, your dog needs to love them almost as much as they love you!

Preparing for Your New Dog Walker

Set your dog walker up for success. Be sure to check all of these off before your dog walker arrives:

1. They will need your information in case they need to contact you or in case of an emergency. Give them your name, phone number and additional contact information in case there is an emergency.

2. They will also need the name and number of your vet, and you might want to contact your vet in advance and let them know the name of your dog walker if they need to bring your dog in if there is an emergency.

3. Remember to provide a spare key and the code for your alarm

4. Make sure that they know where you keep the meds and what to give your dog and when to give it.

5. Keep things like your dog’s lead, collar, food and meds in a safe place that is easy for them to access. You should also let them know where their cleaning supplies are if your doggo has an accident.

6. Give them clear instructions on feeding your doggo along with filling their water.

7. Communicate with them regularly so that you both stay on the same page and you are aware of any problems that might be developing.

Keeping your doggo happy and healthy: Hire the Right Dog Walker

dog hold its leash happily in a field

It takes a lot of time and effort to keep your furry friend happy, and if you have a busy schedule, you will probably need help. Hiring a dog walker that is competent and dependable will do a lot to keep your doggo entertained while you are away and help prevent many of those little potty accidents if your day lasts too long. A good dog walker will love your dog and care for them almost as much as you, and they will give you peace of mind while you are at work or if you have to travel away from home and leave your forever friend behind.