How To Find a Great Dog Walker
Where to look, what to ask, what to expect – my advice on finding a great dog walker. After all it takes one to know one!
About a year ago I wrote a guest blog for my friend and local dog trainer. The brief was to write something that would stop and make dog owners really think about how to find a great dog walker and what questions MUST be asked.
After an old pal recently contacted me through social to ask for my advice on the same subject I though I’d revisit the topic. This time without all the sass.
Ok – without some of the sass!
How to find a great dog walker – DO YOUR RESEARCH
This is someone you’re not only going to trust with your dog but also your keys, alarm codes, holiday dates. Surely its worth putting some time in and not just going with the first randomer off Grumbler!
WHERE TO LOOK
Your local pet shop, your groomer, the vets, if you’ve ever been to dog training classes – these are all places you could ask for a recommendation. These guys will no doubt hear the good, the bad and the ugly when it comes to local dog walkers.
Go online – look at websites and reviews. A decent website should tell you about their experience and any training they’ve had along with a bit of background so you can get a feel for the person behind the business.
SOCIAL MEDIA – BE AWARE!
Social Media is great for photos and reviews and getting an idea of the types of walks the dog walker takes their dogs on. That said, if you ask on a group, please be mindful of just taking all the recommendations at face value. Who are these people commenting? Clients, dog owners who meet a lot of dog walkers out and about, other pet professionals?
If I was looking for a dog walker for my dog I’d want someone who is rated by their peers. After all its us dog walkers that actually see the good, the bad and the ugly.
I’m not on many dog related groups on Facebook. It can get a bit silly when you see newbie dog walkers who’ve clearly roped in all their family and friends to rave about them. Thats not to say someone who has a new business is going to be useless (or that someone whos been around for years is automatically great). Like I say, do your research and then before you make contact write a list of questions.
WHAT TO ASK
- What are their credentials?
- Whats their experience?
- Have they done any training?
- What handling methods do they use? You want to hear reward based/positive reinforcement not pack leader vibes.
- What do they know about canine behaviour and body language?
- Are they canine first aid trained?
- How will your dog be transported?
- Who will be walking your dog? The business owner or one of their team?
- Where will your dog be walked? Footpaths and bridleways? Local playing fields? A hired, enclosed half acre field with 15 other dogs?
What to expect from a great dog walker
A decent dog walker should have a lot of questions to ask you too. When I take a new enquiry I’m working out how it would fit with my current clients and commitments. I’m assessing whether the dog is going to be comfortable and cope with being in a group situation. I’m assessing whether the dog is well trained enough to join my walks – I walk out in the countryside therefore don’t accept dogs that are tone deaf with zero recall! If its a youngster, is the owner committed to keeping up with training and seems like they will listen and take advice?
What to agree and check
- Ask to see proof of insurance
- Agree timings for walks (I usually give clients a ‘window’ rather than set time)
- Agree what equipment your dog will be walked in – collar, harness, what type of lead
- Check what would happen in an emergency – what if your dog picked up an injury
- COVID 19 – make sure you clearly understand what measures are in place so that the dog walker is operating safely and securely and that you understand your side of the arrangement around collection and drop off of your dog.
If you’re just starting your search for a great dog walker, I hope this helps. I promise I really tried to dial down the sass this time(!)
You can read the full, sass on full volume version “A Grim Dog Walkers Tail” over at Clicking with Canines click here
To find out more about about our dog walking services click here