How to Find a Reliable Dog Walker

By Nickey Pickorita, March 2020
Finding a Reliable Dog Walker

Photo by Tadeusz Lakota

Every dog needs their daily walks to stay happy and healthy. However, your schedule may not allow you to exercise your dog as much as you'd want to, and you may feel guilty about it. The best solution for your pup is to use a professional dog walker.

If you are wondering why you should get a dog walking service instead of having the neighbor kid take him out when you need him to, think again. Does the neighbor kid know how to handle an emergency? What will the kid do if the dog gets hurt or if something else unforeseen happens?

Professional dog walkers are trained and know how to handle any situation that may occur with your dog. They are also a precious source of dog ownership advice.

There are many reasons for you to hire a dog walker. Your working schedule may be too busy, or maybe you just got a new puppy that needs frequent potty breaks when you aren't at home. Many dog owners hire dog walkers when they notice behavioral issues with their pups, or when their dog should use some extra exercise to lose weight.

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However, not every dog walker is professional, and you have to be careful when looking for a reliable one. We've prepared some tips for finding a professional, caring dog walker that will bring a positive change into your dog's life.

How to Find Me a Dog Walker

There are numerous dog walkers out there, and finding a good one has to start with deciding what you're looking for in this person. Here are some clever ideas for your search:

  • Ask family members and friends who are dog owners if they use dog walking services and ask for recommendations. Your closest network is a great place to start because it consists of reliable people who genuinely care about you and your pup and wouldn't recommend someone they wouldn’t personally use.
  • Check at your vet's office – you'll often find dog walking business cards on their front desk. Also, many veterinarian nurses do dog walking as a side job, so make sure you ask around, especially if your dog already likes them.
  • Ask your dog groomer or your dog trainer. Many dog trainers offer training walks as an extra service. It's a great solution if your dog needs extra walks, but also some leash training or has some behavioral issues.
  • Use the magic of the internet – of course, the easiest and fastest way to get informed is to google dog walking services in your area. The internet is a great source of information, especially first- hand information from owners who've previously used a certain service. Many online pet services are available, but you have to be careful because many of them offer dog walking services from people who have no previous training. A dog walker is someone you let into your house, so going with a stranger who says they love dogs on a random dog walking app is probably not the best option.

Decide What Kind of Dog Walker You Need

When it comes to dog walkers, there are several kinds to consider. The most important thing you need to decide is whether you want to hire a solo dog walker or turn to a professional dog walking business.

Make the decision depending on your dog's needs and your personal preferences, and make sure you know all the differences between the two.

An individual dog walker may be reliable if they come as a recommendation from someone you trust. They are usually flexible but require a lot of time managing because you're dealing with one person, and you have to make the schedule based on their availability. On the bright side, your dog will get accustomed to this person and bond with them.

If you decide to fire a solo dog walker, you'll have to act quickly to find another one. Many owners find that part very inconvenient because finding a reliable dog walker usually takes time.

If you go with a full dog walking business, your dog will always have someone to take him out. Professional companies have back up walkers in case anything comes up. They have insurance coverage, and the dog walkers are professionally trained for various dog-related emergencies.

What makes a good dog walker for your pup depends on your specific needs.

What to Ask a Potential Dog Walker

Once you've made up your mind about the potential dog walkers for your furry best friend, there are some questions to ask them. Before deciding in whose hands to leave your pup and who to trust with all of your belongings, make sure to know the answers to the following questions:

  • Have they been trained?

A professional dog walker needs to undergo training for dog handling and dog behavior. Make sure to ask for current certificates, including first aid certificates. Also, ask if they're carrying a canine first aid kit when they take the dogs out for a walk.

  • Are they insured, and what does their policy cover?

Your dog walker needs to have third-party liability insurance that outlines some specific situations, such as the number of dogs they take on walks at the same time. Some offer insurance that covers emergency vet fees.

  • Are they equipped with proper transportation, should one be needed?

Sometimes, dog walkers use vehicles to transport the dogs in various scenarios. The vehicles need to be disinfected and perfectly clean, and your dog shouldn’t be left unattended in the vehicle for a long time.

  • What are their dog walker rates?

The price for dog care is important because you won't be satisfied with a service you can't afford in the long run. A reliable dog walker doesn’t have to be expensive, but you need to know how much does a dog walker cost before deciding who to choose.

  • What's their cancellation policy?

Every business has its own policies so it's always better to ask than to assume. Ask the walker if they have a back-up colleague in case of an emergency. Also, make sure you know how their business functions with cancellations and last-minute booking.

When it comes to finding a good dog walker, there are plenty of options out there. With a little bit of legwork you are sure to find the right match for you and your dog’s lifestyle.

At Austin Dog Butler, we're perpetually defining new limits for what's possible in Pet Care. Our team members are pet care experts who are also life-long pet owners. We take our job very seriously. We cherish, above all, creating an individualized bond with every pet in our care.