Last Updated: 2 months ago
Let’s face it—owning a dog is a lot of work. And, for some owners, they just aren’t available all hours of the day to walk their dog when it’s needed.
Some dogs need to go outside during the day, especially if they’re older and have some health concerns.
Dogs on special diets and exercise regimens also probably need some additional outside time during the day. And, for dog owners who don’t have a fenced yard, finding a way for their pup to spend time outdoors safely is a huge concern. Enter a dog walker! But not just any dog walker.
You want someone who is dependable, has a bright personality, and truly cares about all the pups they work with. Here are some of the best questions to ask your new dog-walker candidates when you interview them!
What Experience Do You Have With Dogs?
Many people choose to walk dogs as a way to make some extra cash. And, while that’s perfectly understandable, you probably want someone who’s in it for a bit more than the money. A good dog walker should be someone who knows how to stop puppies from biting on leashes, what treats to avoid, and how much walking is too much walking.
How Many Dogs Do You Currently Walk?
While this might seem like a funny question to ask, it’s an important one. A dog walker who’s walking seven dogs at one time can easily hurt one or lose one. It’s a lot to be responsible for so many pups, and only the most experienced dog walkers should be trusted if they answer more than two or three. It’s important you find someone who can give your dog some quality time besides just taking them out for a walk every day.
Do You Have Liability Insurance?
If you’ve booked the dog walker through an agency, this isn’t as big of a deal. Since they’re employees of the agency, the agency accepts responsibility for the walker. However, for anyone who’s walking dogs as a solo businessperson, it’s important they have the proper licensure and insurance to ensure they, you, and your pup stay safe.
Do You Walk Dogs, Even In The Rain?
It’s important to know whether or not the dog walker will still provide services if it’s raining or snowing outside. Be sure to ask them about whether or not they provide services in inclement weather.
Of course, it’d be a bit unruly to ask them to come over in a blizzard or hurricane (chances are you’re off from work in those cases and can take care of your pup yourself!), but it’s still good to know whether or not they’ll come over when it’s raining to take your fur baby for a walk.
What Is Your Stance On Unleashing Dogs?
This question goes to your preferences as a dog owner. Some dog owners are comfortable with having their dogs play at a dog park unleashed—especially those who’ve placed dog tag trackers on their dogs’ collars—and others aren’t. Ask this question of the potential dog walker candidate because you want to be sure their stances match your own.
How Do You Communicate With Your Pet Owners?
Some dog walkers leave notes every day for you to read. Others will send a text afterwards or even send you a picture of your dog on their walk! It just depends on the dog walker. Knowing how the dog walker communicates upfront will ensure that you get the most out of your experience with them.
How Do You Discipline Dogs That Misbehave?
This is an important question. Your dog walker shouldn’t ever just let unruly behaviour o—that’s not good for teaching your dog anners—but they shouldn’t ever immediately jump to hitting or smacking your animal, either. Instead, look for a dog walker who focuses on redirecting the behaviour and then using positive reinforcement to teach them good ones. This will help you find the best dog walker for your pup.
Is There A Trial Walk?
If available, always request a trial walk. It’s a great way to see how your dog does with a specific handler or dog walker and for you to determine if this is the person you want handling your dog while you’re not around. Use it as an opportunity to see firsthand how the dog walker will handle your dog or interact with them.
Animals, especially dogs, are highly intuitive.
They can sense others’ emotions, and they can even tell whether or not people have positive or negative characteristics. You’ll know fairly quickly whether or not the dog walker is someone your dog wants to be around just based on your own dog’s behaviour during the trial walk!
Are There Any Other Services You Offer?
Some dog-walking services provide other services as well. This includes grooming (what better way to get those pesky dog nails cut?), boarding, or even pet shopping! Knowing what services your dog walker offers beyond simply taking your pup out for daily walks can ensure you’re getting the most out of the service and spending money in the best way.
Will Anyone Else Ever Handle My Dog?
If you’re hiring a service rather than an individual, this is an important question.
With a staff that sometimes rotates, dog walking services are more likely to switch off staff than individually owned walking services. And, while most services agree that dogs do best with the same person consistently, a service that has multiple staff could potentially send someone else in if the regular is sick or unavailable.
Knowing whether or not your dog will be handled by multiple people is a good way for you to determine whether or not the service will be a good fit. You might want to ask this even of individual walkers, because they’re humans too and can get sick or have an emergency pop up.
Will they send someone else in their stead, or will they cancel for the day and reschedule?