Dog City Life: The benefits of a professional dog walking service and what to ask when hiring someone.
Contributed by Tail-Waggers
Life in the city can get busy and the truth is, your dog will spend long hours at home alone while he waits for you to come back from work or school. I heard you! Your dog can hold it. Of course he can if he has no other option. A break in the middle of the day where your dog can go out for a brisk walk will provide him a job. Yes a job!
Dogs need daily mental and physical stimulation to be in a balanced state of mind. This will help avoid boredom and destructive behaviour such as excessive chewing, separation anxiety, lack of socialization and overweight.
After several years in the pet service industry, I know of many clients who retained dog walking services, even if they work from home. They know how beneficial and important those mid day walks are for the health and happiness of their dogs. If you are the type of pet parent that has a 9-5 job, knowing your pooch has been out for a break will give you the peace of mind in case you get stuck in traffic or have a long day at work.
Now, the question is who can you trust to visit your fur kid and your home? Asking neighbours, friends or kids is tempting, especially considering they may do it for free or at a very low cost. Also, you know these people; you trust them and you would rather have them come into your home to care for your dog than a “stranger” right?
However, what if they get sick or have an emergency and can’t come? What if they slip or fall or get injured on your property? (No liability insurance so it has to go through YOUR insurance) What if there was an emergency with your dog? Would they know how to handle it? Also, keep in mind if something does go wrong your relationship with this person will never be the same again.
Thus, I strongly recommend to look out for a professional dog walker in your area. I suggest you ask yourself what type of service are you looking for. Are you okay with someone taking your dog to the dog park knowing dog fights can happen? Do you rather someone taking your dog to a forest and let him run off leash? Is your dog good on recall? Or do you rather have someone doing on leash walks only? Is your dog friendly and would benefit of of a group walk?
Also, know well what will suit you better. Hiring someone that works solo or hiring a company with employees. If the first option works better for you, make sure to ask about backup plans for emergencies and holidays. For the second type of company, inquire about employee training, who keeps the keys? Will you be assigned a primary dog walker or have someone different every visit? Are the walkers employees or independent contractors?
Finally, the key questions once you've decided what type of company suits you better are:
1) Are they insured? What company?
2) Do they have criminal background check?
3) what is the backup plan for emergencies and holidays?
4) How do they take payment? How do they invoice clients?
5) Do they have a city license?
6) How do they introduce a new dog to the pack?
7) How do they pair dogs for groups walks?
8) Do the dogs get driven? For how long?
9) Make note if they ask for vet records and emergency contact information.
10) Do they offer a free meet & greet?
I hope you find this post helpful and don't forget to give your dog a JOB!