If you could have things your way, you'd probably choose to spend every second with your pup. But someone's gotta go out there and bring home the bacon treats! Hiring a dogwalker to spend some time with your dog is an important decision you shouldn't take lightly. After all, you don't want to leave your best friend with just anyone! Here are some tips for finding the right human to walk your dog.
Where to Start?
When I went looking for a dog walker I started my search where I start every search… Google! Living in a big city like Toronto I was overwhelmed with the options available. This guide will help you find the perfect pawtner for your furry buddy.
Ask Your Neighbors
If you own a dog, there’s a good chance you’ll meet people in your neighborhood that are also dog owners. Ask them what they do with their pooch during the day and you’ll be surprised by how many different answers you’ll get. You’ll find some owners do daily walks, some do every other day, and some send their pups to doggy daycare. By chatting with these neighbors you will be able to get a sense of what will work best for you and your dog, and you’ll have first hand reviews of the companies and walkers that they use.
Instagram is a great place to see what kind of experience your dog will be getting. Most dog walking companies will have their own Instagram account and if you're lucky, most of the dog walkers that work for that company will also have their own personal Instagram accounts that will feature pictures from their walks. Instead of taking the dog walking company's word for it, you'll be able to scroll through their Instagram account and to see where your dog goes, what kinds of dogs your dog is playing with and how dirty your dog is getting.
A few good examples of companies that have an active presence on Instagram are:
Happy Dogs Boston
Unleashed In The City
The Barking Meter
If you’re comfortable with using a private dog walker your Vet will likely have a community corkboard with listings for dog walkers, as will your local pet store. Also, a site like Craigslist is a good place to find a private walker. If you choose to go this route, make sure to do a proper background check that includes multiple references and obtain a copy of their identification to keep on file.
Once you think you’ve narrowed your search to a dog walker that you think will be a good fit you should arrange a meet and greet with the walker and your dog. If your dog gets along with the potential walker, you should ask them the following questions:
Where will you be walking my dog and do you have a GPS tracker?
How will you be traveling there?
How many dogs at a time do you walk?
Do you use software that sends me updates?
How long will the actual walk be?
You should also be upfront with your potential dog walker if your dog has any particular quirks. Does your dog not get along with certain breeds? Is your dog scared by loud noises? It’s important for you to be honest with the potential walker to ensure the best care for your dog.
Seal the Deal
If you’re happy with the answers to your questions and your dog seems to enjoy the company of the potential walker, it’s time to make it official. If you decided on a company or a private walker, it’s important to work out a payment schedule and cancelation policy before handing over the key to home. The only thing left to do is warn your dog that they won’t be able to sleep the entire day away anymore!
Featured image via @swiftonyc