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How do I choose a good dog walker?

If you’re a dog owner, you understand that your furry companion deserves the best care and attention, even when you can’t be there to provide it yourself. In this scenario, professional dog walkers can save the day. As mentioned in our previous blog article, a reliable and caring dog walker can make a world of difference in your pet’s life. They ensure you pups get the exercise, socialization, and mental stimulation they need.

Your beloved four-legged friend deserves the best so how do you pick the right one? To help you make the best choice for your beloved pup, we’ve compiled expert advice from trusted sources like the American Kennel Club (AKC), Dogs Naturally Magazine, and Preventive Vet. Read on to learn how to make an informed decision when choosing a dog walker for your four-legged friend.

1. Start with a Thorough Search When You Try To Choose a Good Dog Walker

Begin your search for a dog walker by gathering a list of potential candidates. You can do this through various means, including:

  • Word of Mouth: Ask friends, family members, neighbors, or fellow dog owners for recommendations. Referrals often come with personal observations.
  • Online Resources: Online Resources: Utilize online platforms like Yelp, Next Door, Google, or Facebook Community Groups dedicated to pet owners in your area. Use ratings and reviews to narrow down the choices.
  • Professional Organizations: Pet Sitters International (PSI) and the National Association of Professional Pet Sitters (NAPPS) are both professional organizations with databases where you can search for dog walkers. Membership can indicate a commitment to professionalism and high standards of care.

2. Interview Potential Dog Walkers

Conducting interviews is the next step after compiling a list of potential candidates. This step is crucial in assessing the suitability of each dog walker for your pet’s specific needs. During the interview process, ask the following questions:

  • Experience: Inquire about the dog walker’s experience with dogs, including any specialized training or certifications they may have.
  • Availability: Ensure their schedule aligns with your dog’s needs. Discuss the frequency and duration of walks required.
  • References: Request references from clients who have used the service. Contact them to learn firsthand knowledge about the quality of care provided and reliability.
  • Insurance and Bonding: Ensure that any potential dog walker you consider is adequately insured and bonded. Accidents or injuries could occur during visits and these protect both you and the walker.
  • Emergency Procedures: Discuss how the dog walker handles emergencies, such as illness or injury to your dog. Ensure they have a plan in place and know how to contact you or seek veterinary care if needed.
  • Backup and Contingency Plans: Confirm walker has a backup plan in place for emergencies. If your assigned walker cannot make it, verify another qualified walker will visit to ensure your dog is taken care of.

3. Evaluate Their Training and Knowledge

A good dog walker should have a solid understanding of dog behavior, health, and safety. Here are some considerations when assessing their knowledge:

  • Training Methods: Inquire about their training methods and philosophy. Ensure they use positive reinforcement techniques and are knowledgeable about breed-specific behaviors and needs.
  • Health Awareness: A responsible dog walker should be aware of common health issues in dogs and know the signs of distress. They should be capable of recognizing when a dog is unwell or in discomfort.

4. Check for Proper Licensing When You Try To Choose a Good Dog Walker

A dog walker with a business license demonstrates a commitment to their profession and is likely to be more reliable and trustworthy. Licensed dog walkers are accountable to regulatory authorities and are more likely to adhere to ethical and legal standards. Ensure that any candidates you consider are in compliance with local regulations. Licensing and permits often require walkers to meet certain safety standards and may involve background checks.

5. Evaluate Their Interactions with Your Dog

A critical step in choosing a dog walker is meeting them in person. During the meet and greet, introduce your dog to the potential walker. Observe how they interact with your pet, looking for qualities like patience, gentleness, and knowledge of canine behavior. Meeting also provides an opportunity to discuss dog’s specific needs, such as exercise requirements, medical conditions, or behavioral issues.

6. Discuss Pricing and Contracts

Before making a final decision, discuss pricing and contract terms with your chosen dog walker. Be clear about the services they will provide, the schedule they will follow, and any additional fees for special requests or last-minute bookings. Contracts are crucial so terms are clear to prevent any misunderstandings. The AKC advises that it should outline the terms of service, including fees, scheduling, and any special instructions or requirements for your dog.

7. Conduct a Trial Period

Consider starting with a trial period to evaluate the dog walker’s performance. During this period, closely monitor the quality of their services, your dog’s behavior and well-being, and your overall satisfaction. A knowledgeable dog walker will make suggestions on how to better your dog’s experience as well as listen to your observations and adjust accordingly.

8. Trust Your Instincts When You Try To Choose a Good Dog Walker

Ultimately, choosing the right dog walker is a matter of trust. Finally, trust your instincts. You want someone who genuinely cares for your dog’s well-being and safety. If something doesn’t feel right or if you have any doubts about a potential dog walker, it’s better to continue your search. Complete confidence in who you entrust with your pet’s well-being is the goal.

Conclusion

Now that you’re equipped with expert advice on how to choose the perfect dog walker, take action to ensure your furry friend receives the best care possible. Start your search today, interview potential candidates, and follow the steps outlined above to find the ideal companion for your dog’s daily adventures.

Remember that the right dog walker can make a significant difference in your pet’s life, providing them with the exercise, socialization, and love they need while you’re away. So, don’t delay—start your search for the perfect dog walker and give your furry friend the gift of a happy and healthy life. Do you need more tips or guidance on choosing the ideal dog walker for your pet?

How does Tailored Pet Services Rank?

  • Experience: (1) proper leash handling to prevent discomfort, (2) allowing sufficient time for dogs to comfortably answer nature’s call, (3) changing routines to avoid boredom, (4) playing various games to keep walks exciting and (5) practicing commands provided by the client.
  • Availability: Before we sign up a client, we ensure we have the time slot (we ask for an hour window) on the schedule for the days you are requesting.
  • References: We will happily provide references from clients who have used our service.
  • Emergency Procedures: In 12.5 years we’ve never had an injury during a dog walk; however, we are prepared in case the unthinkable happens. We ask for vet information so we can take the dog to your veterinarian since he/she knows your pup best.
  • Backup and Contingency Plan: TPS has multiple backup walkers on staff, which means we can offer more reliable and consistent service. If the primary walker is unavailable, a substitute is sent to ensure your dog’s walk schedule remains uninterrupted.
  • Training Methods: Our walkers are not trainers; however, they have access to our certified trainer when they need advice about breed-specific behaviors and needs. Our trainer only uses positive reinforcement techniques
  • Health Awareness: We assign one walker to each client so he/she has intimate knowledge of the pets in his/her care. Part of this knowledge is recognizing when a dog is unwell or in discomfort. After each visit, we document what occurred and will alert you if we feel something is amiss.
  • Licensing: the company has a city and state license to conduct business.
  • Consultation: before starting service, we conduct a consult to meet you/dog. It is used to discuss your dog’s specific needs, such as exercise requirements, medical conditions, or behavioral issues. Prior to the meeting, we ask you to complete a profile in our software to share information about your pet so we can learn about them and write down any questions that can be answered during the consultation.
  • Pricing and Contracts: before we schedule a consultation, the client signs an electronic form as part of setting up an online profile. A separate dog-walking contract is signed that discusses discounted monthly rates, special requests and last-minute bookings. Because we have multiple walkers on staff, we have availability to accommodate extra walks.
  • Trial Period: We want to earn your trust as well as your business so we have a 100% Satisfaction Guarantee. If you decide that you are dissatisfied with the service we provided after 30 days, we will refund 100% of your money with only one question: “how can we do better?”

Are you ready to become part of the Tailored Pet Services family? Reach out to us now so we can work together to give your furry companion the best possible dog-walking adventure.

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