Letting someone into your home and sending your precious pup out with them can be daunting, right?! Don’t be afraid to ask about the nitty gritty…… and trust your instincts. A new dog walker should spend time getting to know you. Expect them to visit you at home BEFORE s/he takes your dog anywhere. This is essential for both you and the walker to gather important information. I’m not talking your entire life history (!) but a bit about your relationship with your pup, their traits etc is crucial. Here’s a check list to help you:
What does your dog walker do on the walk?
Er…… just walk your dog, right?!
Well yes, but there’s a little more to it than that… or rather there should be.
A calm walk with plenty of sniffing opportunities can often be the key to great behaviour in dogs. Scent work uses A LOT of brain power – which is just as tiring as running around like a nutter, only you have chilled out dog at the end rather than a hyped up, crazy one. I know which one I’d like to be returned to me…
But my dog’s high energy and needs a good run
Ok, I get it. You think your dog needs loads of running around to get tired? Sure, they need to stretch their legs but that doesn’t mean belting around with loads of dogs.
You see, having limitless play with their canine buddies can set back your training. At the point where they are all high as kites together, do you think they will listen to your dog walker? Consequently, when you are walking your dog and s/he sees other dogs – what do you think your dog will do?
My dog might not come back!
It is ESSENTIAL that you are open and honest about what your dog can and cannot do. Your dog walker will be better prepared and ultimately better able to keep your dog safe.
What ‘tools’ does your dog walker use if your dog’s recall is iffy? Safety should be the first priority. That means the dog walker will use a 5metre or 10-metre ‘long line so that your dog can still have freedom but cant do a runner! Alternatively, they could use a secure area to exercise your dog in.
You walk how many dogs?!
This can be a controversial point – it really depends the experience of your walker. I have seen people walking one dog who is entirely out of control and dog walkers with 6 dogs walking beautifully, so it really does depend on the individual walkers AND the other dogs in the pack.
Join the dog walker on a walk before you commit
Take the time to see for yourself what goes on, on those dog walks. Are the walks well managed? How does the dog walker treat the dogs – is it kind and ethical? Are the dogs having fun on the walks? Do the dogs ‘want’ to be around the dog walker? (Avoid anyone using spray cans, yelling, shoving the dogs or using choke/shock collars).
And of course, check out reviews on social media and google.
Do your homework. Trust your gut.
Highly Recommended: “Muddy Buddies”
Professional Dog Walkers, Est. 2013
Muddy Buddies (MB) is a small, local business hot on all the above points. MB hold canine enrichment and personable client care as their key to success. MB only walk 4 dogs at a time. This means your dog gets lots of individual attention and care. MB engage each dog with brain games throughout the walk; social time is well managed as many dogs prefer ‘company’ rather than full-on, rambunctious play. The whole team are expert (half of them are dog trainers!) to deliver this high level of service and know how to safely exercise your dog.
Check out Muddy Buddies HERE to see why they are so much more than your average dog walker!
At the very least your dog walker should have all of the following.
- Public Liability Insurance – for care of dog but also loss of keys
- First Aid Trained
- Suitable vehicle with restraints/crates.
- No Aversive Kit – i.e. no electric or prong collars/ pressurised air can spray