Are you in the market for a dog walker? The good news is that there are a lot of options available these days; the bad news is that making a decision can be really overwhelming. But, if you follow these guidelines you’ll be on your way to finding the perfect pro for your pup!
Find Out How Dog Walkers Are Trained
One of the most important things to look for in a dog walker is the training and education provided by the walking company they work for. Do new dog walkers shadow experienced walkers before going solo? Does the company provide (or require) first aid and CPR training? Do they train their staff in basic canine communication and dog handling?
Read Company Reviews
Check sites like Yelp, Angie’s List and the dog walking company’s social media pages before signing on. The reviews won’t tell the whole story, but they are good indicators not only of the quality of service but also how the company handles problems.
Request a Meet and Greet with Your Dog Walker
Always request a meeting with the person who will be your primary dog walker, and have a list of questions on hand for the first meeting. Both you and your dog should feel comfortable with the person, and if either one of you don’t (for whatever reason), request another meeting with a different person.
Evaluate Your Dog Walker’s Availability
Every dog walking company has a different business model, and you’ll need to decide if you value flexibility (can you get a walker with two hours’ notice on the weekend?) or consistency (will you have the same walker every day at the same time?). Ask for references and contact them. Current clients will have the best take on the overall reliability of the company.
Tip: have two companies on speed dial if you need one dog walker for regular weekday walks and one for occasional last-minute requests. If your dog is okay with different walkers, it’s a great way to have the best of both worlds.
Hold Your Dog Walker Accountable
Look for dog walkers who have certifications and industry associations such as FetchFind Approved, the National Association of Professional Pet Sitters, Pet Sitters International, or the International Boarding and Pet Services Association. In addition, make sure that the dog walking company you use is licensed, bonded and insured.
Jamie Damato Migdal, CPDT-KA and CEO/Founder of FetchFind, has been innovating within the pet industry for over 25 years. A sought-after consultant and public speaker, Jamie has built four national pet service companies and has wide-ranging industry expertise in education, technology, business development, sales, marketing and management. Her fourth and current company, FetchFind, provides staff training and engagement, as well as digital marketing and other business solutions, to pet care service and pet-friendly companies around the globe.