As a pet parent, it’s your responsibility to ensure your dog gets its daily dose of outdoor exercise. Even if you don’t have time to play fetch you should at least make sure your dog gets to see the outside twice every single day.
For a lot of busy parents, that’s easier said than done. Overburdened by work a lot of people routinely need to stay late at the offce. There are also social events and parties that are often unavoidable. Then comes travel. Whenever they are traveling without their pets, pet parents need to make arrangements to walk their dogs.
A simple solution to all of these is hiring a reliable pet walker. However, trusting someone with your dog and, at times, your home can be challenging. On the surface, the job of walking a dog seems simple enough, but dog walkers need to be patient, compassionate and have a genuine connections with dogs. Dog walkers also need to be assertive and ensure they are always in command when out on the road without being aggressive or abusive. The following are 7 questions you need to ask before hiring a dog walker.
Do You Have Experience?
Being good with dogs is something that comes naturally to a lot of people. However, taking care of the little things when walking a dog needs experience. Everything from cleaning up after the dog to keeping it safe from other pets that are showing signs of aggression comes with experience. Dog walkers also need to have leash skills to control the dogs’ movement when out on the road to prevent them from getting too close to dangerous objects.
Since a lot of these come with experience, it’s imperative that you select a dog walker who is known in the neighborhood and has significant dog-walking experience under his or her belt.
Do You Have Insurance?
Things can go wrong when walking a dog. Your dog can get injured or may cause injury to others. That’s why there are specialized dog walker insurances that come with general liability cover. Ask the dog walker if they are covered. If not ask them to get a dog walker insurance at Next-Insurance.com or any other reputable insurance site online. This will ensure you remain protected from any claims if your dog ends up hurting anybody during these walks. These policies also have medical coverage for your dog. Therefore, if your dog gets hurt or infected as a direct result of the walk, you can seek compensation.
Do You Offer Free Consultations?
Most dog walkers offer free consultations where they come in and meet your pet at your home. This presents a great opportunity to see how they interact with your pet or more importantly if your dog likes this new person. This is a pretty standard offering and the dog walker should be okay with it. Apart from asking all the questions, you can observe how he or she plays and interacts with your pet. Some even agree to go for a short walk to see how the pet reacts. The last thing you want is a person who is doing this just to pay the bills and has no real connect with dogs.
How Do You Handle Emergencies on the Road?
The test of a veteran dog walker comes when there is an emergency. Most good dog walkers would not only have the vet’s number handy but they would proactively take decisions on the road to save time. For instance, they should know the nearest emergency vet clinic and simply take your dog there if something is wrong and not wait for your approval. Ask if the walker ever faced an emergency when walking a client’s dog and how they managed the situation.
What Are the Charges for Solo and Group Walks?
While there are other services such a pet sitting and grooming, most dog walkers charge differently for solo and group walks. Ask the rate for both. Whether you want to choose a solo walk, or a group really boils down to your dog’s temperament and the temperament of other dogs in the group. If your dog doesn’t play well with a particular dog, ask if that dog is in that walking group.
How Do You Provide Updates?
Some dog walkers create messaging groups to keep the parents informed while on walks. This is critical if you are traveling and want to know if your dog is being walked every day or not. Providing updates might not be a standard service for dog walkers, but many won’t mind sending the occasional snap to keep their clients happy.
Do You Have Any References in the Neighborhood?
If you are dealing with a reputed and experienced dog walker, then chances are they have happy clients in your neighborhood. Ask for a few numbers and have a casual chat about their service. Being a neighbor gives you an edge as you can have a revealing discussion as compared to regular formal reference calls.