Looking for the perfect Dog Walker

Dog Walker

How to find the perfect dog walker for your pooch!

The Holiday Season is approaching, and you are ready to take on those New Year’s resolutions.

In 2019, would you consider hiring a dog walker for your pup this year? After all, you work long hours and it saddens you that he’s home alone all day. You’d really like to enrich his life, just as he’s been making yours better for the last couple of years!

Forget about getting a basket of fancy treats, or expensive toys that just end up in the garbage. Hiring a dog walker is not just the latest trend in good pet ownership- it’s the right thing to do!   

First, let’s look at the benefits of hiring a walker for your dog.

The adage is true: a tired dog is a happy dog. But you don’t need to go on a 5-hour hike in the mountains to have his mood improve! A brisk walk around the neighborhood will do just the same.

Some may argue that a half-hour walk may be not enough to “tire” a dog out, but make it a daily occurrence and it is hours and hours of additional walking in your dog’s life. Now that’s something!

There are plenty of other benefits to a mid-day walk:

  • Having a dog walker stop by in the middle of the day is also a good way to prevent your dog from “holding it” for too long, and will promote healthy elimination while increasing appetite for picky dogs.
  • An additional daily walk will also provide plenty of mental and “nasal” stimulation while helping to curb the boredom of long days at home.
  • In the long-term, all this additional walking and exercise will help with weight control, and ensure healthy joints and heart and overall, a better longevity
  • A private dog walker is also a safe alternative to crowded doggy daycares, and often a less expensive alternative.

So where do you look for a dog walker?

A Google Search is a great way to start. However, a Google Map search to find dog walking businesses near you can help too! Most dog walkers will accept clients within a certain area of town to limit driving distances, and therefore maximize the number of dogs they can walk on any given day.

When searching, look for professionally-designed websites. Dog walkers who put decent effort in their website are conscious about their online presence and reputation, and this will likely show in their quality of work.  

There are online business directories such as Rex in the City or Pet Sitters International, where you can search for dog walkers based on the quality of their practices, or membership with a professional organization. Your veterinarian may also know a few local dog walkers. Finally, many will turn to their trusty Facebook to ask recommendations from other dog owners.

Should you look at the widely advertised uber-style on-demand dog walking apps too?

Unless you want to put your loved ones and your pets at risk, our position on this question is a big fat no.

We get it. You can get a very cheap dog walker come walk your dog, on very short notice, at the touch of a button. To some, it sounds good – but is it worth the risk?

Uber-Style dog walking apps are what they are. They use everyday people, looking for an easy way to make extra cash. This isn’t their job or their primary income. You can rest assured that their dedication to your dog and the service they are providing will go as far as the paycheck they receive, and their ability to deliver the personalized care many owners want for their pets just isn’t there.

Walkers listed on these on-demand apps like to claim that they are insured, but the scary truth is in the fine print. Both parties, walker and owners, are not always as protected as you (or they) believe.

The internet has hundreds of horror stories of injured, lost or killed dogs under the care of walkers hired from these on-demand dog walking apps. Most of the time, the walker at fault will be quietly removed from their roster, while the app representatives will issue an apology and a promise an investigation. Unfortunately for the pet owner, it often ends there. 

So, let’s step away from the scary stories for now, and determine what you should look for when hiring a dog walker.

As we mentioned at the beginning, a good place to start is to look for a professional, legitimate business.

You should be looking for an experienced dog walker with a proven track record, with records of existing clients, online reviews, certifications and other experience that goes way beyond their own household pets.

Genuine dog walking insurance is a must.

Your dog walker should be doing this for the right reasons. Now, the “right reasons” can vary from one professional to another, but if it’s for extra cash or because they have nothing else to do between jobs, these reasons are rarely a good foundation to start a successful and long-term dog walking business.

Keep in mind that the professional, highly sought-after dog walkers are worth their weight in gold, and will charge accordingly for their services. If your walker charges below the average in your city, she or he might not be around for long.

A good dog walker will always prioritize the safety of the dogs under their care and act accordingly. It can mean limiting the number and size of dogs taken on a walk, not using flexi-leads, and avoiding off-leash areas with reactive dogs. Professional dog walkers should also know when to recommend training and when to decline taking a dog on a walk until the behavior concerns have been addressed.  

Your dog walker should insist on performing a consultation or a “Meet and Greet” before taking your dog on walks. A true dog walker will want to ensure he or she is a good fit for your dog’s needs and ultimately, be able to build a relationship with their clients and dogs. 

Now, one can expect a good, reliable dog walker to be busy. Busy is a good sign! Some dog walkers have established set schedules, while others will perform their walks randomly, within a certain time frame throughout the day. It is a bit unrealistic to request walks at a very specific time of the day (like the popular “walk at noon”) when hiring a professional and established dog walker.

In order to be accepted by a busy dog walker, you may have to be willing to compromise or be more flexible on your end. Believe us, your dog will be happy to have a walk, regardless of the time!

Now, are you ready to take on these New Year Resolutions?

Your dog is a family member and deserves to be in the hands of a capable and trustworthy dog walker.

If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to ask us at Paskapoo Pet Services. We were recently awarded the title of “Top Three Dog Walkers” in Calgary and we will be accepting new dogs in our walking schedule in early 2019.

Don’t miss the opportunity to join our great Paskapoo family! 🙂

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