Top Tips to Finding a Fabulous Dog Walker
Many of us would love nothing more than to spend all day, every day in the company of our beloved dog or dogs. If this isn’t possible, perhaps due to work commitments, then who do we trust to care for our precious pets? Here’s how we have managed to find THE BEST dog walker for our furry family.
What type of dog walker do you need?
Firstly, think about what style of day care you need and your dog’s personality. Some walkers take groups of dogs to a secure field for pack play, others have your dog in their home, and some may come to your home and walk your dog on their own. An anxious dog, or one who is nervous of other dogs, will probably struggle in a crowded, noisy environment so pack walking or field play may not be appropriate. Perhaps an 1-1 walker would be a more positive experience? A dog that does not easily mix with other dogs, or react well to children, may not suit going to somebody else’s home with their family. A relaxed dog with fewer anxieties when away from home may be fine with any environment- make the type of dog walker suit your own dogs needs.
DO YOUR RESEARCH:
Whatever type of dog walker you have decided to use, Google the relevant local companies and ask around. Reviews of pet businesses are really helpful to get a flavour of the ethos of the service and to help you judge if it is right for your dog. Local Facebook groups are great for this too, and you can often get very honest personal recommendations.
Ensure that the carer has the appropriate insurance and DBS checks. This person will be in charge of your loved one and a key holder for your home so this is vital. Also check the dog walkers experience with dogs. Quality dog carers often have lots of experience with dogs with many issues so will have the skills to be able to support and reassure your pet in your absence.
Make sure that you follow up your research with a face to face meet. By meeting face to face, with your dog, you will be able to gauge if this is a kind, warm person who your dog will love spending time with. Before you meet, consider what you want from a dog walker? Whatever ‘type’ of care you opt for (field play, one to one walking on lead, or in another home setting) you are probably seeking somebody who is reliable, trustworthy, patient, experienced, kind, and caring.
Discuss with your dog walker how much exercise your dog will be getting in their day-care setting. This is important for them to feel calm and stimulated in your absence, but equally not be over exercised if they are not physically used to it. Their usual level is ideal to keep things as normal as possible for them. Your dog walker needs to know your expectations and equally you need to know what your dog needs when you get home. If considering leaving your dog to stay in another home, check that the premises are safe and secure, for example if they are prone to escaping check that the garden has secure fencing.
A THOROUGH HANDOVER:
Before you start the relationship, discuss your dog’s quirks and routines. If the person that is caring for them knows the usual timings, routines, habits (like being a reluctant walker!) then they have a much better chance of being able to offer a settled and positive experience for your dog. The dog walker may find their own versions of these routines but it gives them a positive start to their role of temporary owner and can help them understand your dog.
HOORAY FOR A BRILIANT DOG WALKER!
Through trial and error, we have now discovered two really amazing dog walkers. They offer oodles of patience, kindness and plenty of TLC in our absence and I don’t know what we would do without them quite honestly. Our dogs are our family so why wouldn’t we make an effort to make sure that time away from us is as safe and lovely for them as we can?
I do hope that this has been useful reading and would love to hear your experiences of finding a dog walker in the comments below.
Read more of our daily dog friendly living posts here.