We thought some hints and tips on what to look for in a dog walker would be useful to those who are looking for one, or maybe just looking at what their own walker is offering. Holybrooks do each of the following but if you’re not local to us, here are 5 things you should look for in a dog walker.
1. Contact details
A dog walker should understand their role and responsibility towards each dog whilst it is in their care and make sure they have as much information about the dog to know it’s likes, dislikes & what to do in an emergency. If anything were to happen, who should they contact, which vets should they attend, do they have permission to authorise any treatment? Make sure they get a comprehensive picture about your dog, knowing their limitations both inside and outside of your home.
2. How many dogs do they take out?
There’s a lot of promotion of ‘pack walks’ nowadays, which might be right for some dogs, but in reality, most pets are used to us humans for company and don’t need to be with large groups of dogs to be entertained. Observations have shown that the bigger the group of dogs, the more rowdy and difficult they are to control. If you are using the services of a dog walker, make sure they are the ones entertaining your dog, not leaving it down to other dogs to do the work for them. From a public protection point of view, the smaller the group, the quicker and easier they are to have under control too.
3. How will your dog be transported?
From a behavioural perspective it is incredibly important that dogs are separated into individual areas. Being in a confined area with other dogs puts each dog under undue stress and can lead to scuffles between each other. Also, make sure their visibility of the other dogs is restricted. By giving them privacy they can relax in their own space before and after each walk making the whole experience enjoyable for them, not just the walk.
4. Pet first aid
In a job that involves dealing with dozens of dogs per week accidents are sadly inevitable every once in awhile and when they do happen you’ll want to know the person in charge of your dog knows what to do. Make sure that you check that they have completed a course and that it’s also been done recently. Human first aid courses are only valid for 3 years so why should dogs be any different?
You can always judge how good a walk our dogs have had by the quantity of mud on them at the end! The aim of each walk is for your dog to be physically and mentally stimulated. Whether that be with playing with a ball, sniffing every tree available or finding the biggest, muddiest puddle to dive in to, your dog walker shouldn’t be worrying about Fido looking just as they did when they left. Check that your dog walker asks for a towel & if not, question what your dog is doing, or where they are going to not need one.