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How To Choose A Dog Walker

Choosing a dog walker can be a difficult decision. I get it! Your pets are part of your family and it can be scary just handing over not only your beloved dogs but also access to your home to. Luckily due to the recent surge in dog ownership as a result of the pandemic there are now more options out there than ever before. But with all this choice it can be daunting and confusing on how to choose the right one for you and your dog.

Here are some tips to help you make the best choice for you:

  1. Think about your dogs ideal walk: What situations do you're dogs thrive in? Where would they choose to walk? Who would they walk with - alone or with friends? Do they mind travelling in a vehicle? How long do they like to be out for? Would one person or a team of walkers be better for your dog? If your chosen walker only offers group walks it might not be the right fit for your nervous/ reactive dog. However if your dog is super social, then that same walker might be a great fit. If your dog has separation anxiety and needs to be out for longer periods of the day is it an option to do longer walks or maybe a half day adventure? Do you need frequent but short toilet breaks for puppy training or for an older dog? if so then look for someone who specialises in shorter visits who will be able to pop in and out regularly.

  2. Research the options: Once you have decided what you are looking for it is time to see what's out there locally. Research different dog walkers in your area to find one that is experienced and has good reviews. Google and Facebook make it super easy to find walkers locally, then have a snoop - check out their social media, have a look at their website to get a good understanding for who they are and what they offer.

  3. Contact them: Once you have shortlisted a few potential walkers then its time to contact them for quotes - let them know about your dog, their personality, their age, size, and breed. Its also a good idea to include your scheduling needs so they can check their availability for you.

  4. Arrange to meet in person: Most walkers will offer meet and greets either for free or for a small charge to cover the walkers time. This is an invaluable way to get to know what kind of person the walker is and gauge whether this is someone you want to work with. The walker will want to understand your dogs needs in more detail and do a behavioural assessment, they should get you to fill out some emergency contact info, find out where their belongings are and how to access your property. Avoid anyone who doesn't insist on meeting a dog first before taking them out and prepare some questions ahead of time to get the most out of your session, be honest and open with any behavioural issues or triggers your dog has.

  5. Check their paperwork: Whilst there isn't any legislation to say what dog walkers must have I would suggest making sure the dog walker has the proper insurance as a bare minimum. Other things like a 1st aid certificate, relevant dog related qualifications and a recent police check (DBS) are also nice things to look out for. Any prospective walker should be happy to show these to you.

  6. Observe: Observe how the dog walker interacts with your pet. Make sure they are comfortable in the walkers presence. This doesn't mean that the walker should be all over your dog dog showering them in affection, it can be that they are respecting their space and allowing them to initiate the interactions at their own pace. Whilst some dogs love a good fuss, a lot of others find strangers in their personal space overwhelming and intimidating. What you are really looking for is whether the walker responding to your dogs social cues and 'speaking the same language'?

Once you have followed all these steps you should be well on the way to be finding the perfect walker for you and your dog.


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