As a proud pooch parent, your pet’s health and wellbeing is no doubt something you take very seriously. Depending on the breed of your dog, they might need anywhere between 30 minutes to 1 hour of walk and exercise, once or twice a day. Younger and more energetic pooches do need more exercise than senior dogs.
However, we totally get that working full time and getting everything you need to get done each day can sometimes make it difficult to give your precious baby the recommended amount of exercise every day of the week. That is where a professional and trustworthy dog-walker can be really useful.
But how do you go about choosing one who fits the bill? Our friends at The Pooch Concierge have come up with a list of tips to help you make the right choice.
- Figure out what you need: The first step to finding the right dog walker is to work out your specific needs. Are you looking for someone to help you out once a week or every day of the week? Does your pooch prefer groups or do they like their own space? What time of the day is the best for your needs? Are you also looking for other services such as doggie daycare and overnight sitting?
- Go local: Use Google, Yellow Pages and online platforms to look up all local dog-walkers. Make a list along with their names, addresses and contact numbers and you are all set for making calls.
- Have a conversation: The dog-walking industry has a number of operators, from one man or one woman show to businesses with teams of carers as well as online platforms where you can hire freelance pet carers. They are all great, depending upon where you live and what is your specific pet care need. The best way to decide is by having an in depth conversations with a number of providers and choosing the one that feels right.
- Go for quality and fit over price: Some people tend to go by price as the chief deciding factor when choosing a pet carer. We would advise you to look instead at the quality of the service being provided and how well it meets your specific needs. When you are going to trust someone with the care of your furry friend, the wise thing to do is to go for someone who is going to do their job and do it well!
- Meet and Greet: For both pooches, parents and walkers, the ‘Meet and Greet’, offered for free by many dog walkers, is a great way for everyone to get to know each other in a relaxed environment. This is the opportunity for you as well as the pet carer to decide whether the arrangement is right for both of you as well as your pooch.
- Compassion and Care: While you are at the ‘Meet and Greet”, you need to observe closely how your prospective carer interacts with your pooch. Do they show compassion, patience and care? Your pet’s comfort and wellbeing is important. So, do not hesitate to go by your gut feelings.
- Ask about the essentials: Dog walking like any other profession requires certain standards of service. As a minimum, dog walkers need to carry water, collapsable bowls, treats and pick up bags. Sometimes extra leashes and towels might be needed as well. And do they pick up after your pooch for the benefit of everyone? Make sure to ask.
- Reference Check: Most dog walkers are very professional and trustworthy. However, when someone else would be accessing your property in your absence with a spare key, establishing trust and reliability are absolutely essential. So asking for a couple of references will help ease your mind a lot.
- Insurance and police checks: Under Australian law, the pet carer is responsible if a pet causes injury to another person or animal while in their care. In order to obtain public liability insurance, they must not have had any convictions in the past 5 years. It might be a good idea to check if your prospective dog walker is keeping up with regulations. This can save some legal hassle down the track if unfortunately something does go wrong.
- Spare Keys: If you were planning on giving your dog walker a set of spare keys, do ask about how they intend on storing their keys. Professionals often use coded labels such for client keys, so in case of loss or theft, it is not possible to figure out whose door it will open.