Your furry friend is your all, your everything, your best friend, so it makes sense that if someone else is going to be looking after him, you’re going to want that person to be the perfect fit. Many of us work full time jobs and lead busy lives, which means we often need a hand keeping our fur babies happy. For some people that involves a pet sitter, for others, a dog walker – it all depends on your individual needs. What’s important is if you do opt to hire a dog walker, you get the right one.
Here are 12 important questions to ask your potential dog walker:
1. How Are You?
OK so this isn’t really about the question as much as it’s about the person. You should be able to have a good old chat with your dog walker. If someone is looking after your beloved pooch you want to know they’re happy to do so, and happy to talk about dogs. You want to know you’ll hear about any behaviour that needs attention, or any health issues that crop up during your dog’s walk. You don’t need to love your dog walker, but you do need to feel there’s an open line of communication so tip one is – don’t be afraid to ask questions and chat.
2.Where Are You?
If you live in Wandsworth you will more than likely look up ‘dog walker Wandsworth’ in order to find someone local. With your results, do check the proximity of the dog walker to you as some companies can charge extra if they need to travel further to get to you. So wherever you are, try to find a reputable company close to you and ask them if your proximity to them affects how much you pay.
3. Can I Trust You?
When you hire a dog walker you are trusting them with access to your home, and with your beloved pooch. Can they be trusted around your belongings, family and dog? Most reputable dog walking companies will have done extensive background checks on all their employees so expect a CRB to have been done.
5. When Are You Available?
If you have a schedule that changes all the time, you need to know how available your dog walker is and if they can handle last minute changes to the schedule. Check if they are available on weekends, evenings and if they have an ‘earliest’ and ‘latest’ start time. It’s also worth asking how much communication you can expect from them. Perhaps you want a text or email to say the dog has been walked, or you’d like to be able to get a response straight away if you’re arranging a walk time – the more you know about the walkers availability the easier scheduling will be.
5. Can You Meet My Needs?
It’s important to know if your needs for dog walking will always be met. Expect the company to have a replacement walker if your regular walker is ill or on holiday. When you’re busy you simply don’t want to be dealing with last minute let downs all the time.
6. Do You Know About Dogs?
Many people believe dog walking is easy and can be done by anyone and that simply isn’t true. Dog walkers should have a good knowledge of canine health, canine behaviour, training and general well being. You need to ensure your dog walker will be handling your dog responsibly, so don’t be afraid to ask if they are qualified.
7. How Much Attention Will My Dog Get?
For some owners, the emphasis is on the dog getting lots of love and attention from a walker, for others it’s more important the dog gets a good long walk. It may be the case that your dog will be in a car for a time while other dogs are being picked up, or it may be the case they are walked one to one. You need to ask about this because the situation may not suit your needs. You may feel you don’t want your dog walked with 6 or 7 other dogs, or you might prefer your dog will be walked with other dogs. Ask what will happen when your dog goes for a walk, and how long their walk will be. If you do want your dog to have one to one care you may have to pay more.
8. Are You Insured?
Reputable dog walking companies are insured, so if anything happens to your dog or home whilst it is in the care of a dog walker you will be suitably compensated.
9. Do You Have References?
Good dog walking companies should have lots of experience and be reputable. If you’re not sure, look up reviews of the dog walking company and ask them if they have references for you to check.
10. How Do I Pay?
If you don’t mind leaving the money out for the dog walker in an envelope, you shouldn’t have much of a problem. However, if you want to pay by card or Paypal online, you will need to enquire about this. Most modern companies have various ways for you to pay now, including direct debit set ups.
It’s worth asking the dog walking company if they offer any extras. Some have GPS tracking now, as well as ‘doggy cam’ so you can see where your dog went on his walk. These extras aren’t essential but they’re pretty nifty if you can get them.
12 . Are You Cheap?
Of course you shouldn’t ask this question, but you should be wary of particularly cheap dog walkers. When it comes to someone having access to your home and looking after a treasured family member – you really do get what you pay for. You might have to pay a bit more for a trustworthy company, but it’s money well spent if it means your pooch will be looked after properly.