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Selecting A Dog Walker
The Professional Dog Walkers Association International highly suggests that you look for a walker or sitter that is Insured and Bonded. This insurance is not just general business insurance. It is geared towards the specifics of pet sitting and dog walking. It covers care, custody and control of the pets in the walker/sitters care. The insurance protects you and the walker.
You should always ask for references of at least three current clients and make sure you contact them.
Questions to ask would be:
- How does your dog respond to the walker?
- Is your dog tired at the end of the walk or when you get home?
- Has your dog lost weight since being walked by the walker?
- Have you noticed any changes in your dogs behaviour?
- Has your dogs behaviour changed for the better? Better recall, less anxious?
Other questions for the walker would include:
- How do they handle bad behaviour, like jumping up, aggressive play, poor recall or bullying?
- Do they reinforce already learned commands to help with ongoing training?
- Have they ever had a problem with an aggressive dog? If, so how did they handle it?
- Have they ever lost a dog or had a dog run off on them?
- What would they do if your pet got hurt?
- Will you call me if you can't make a walk, or will you have a replacement?
- If a replacement will be sent, will I know this person?
One other suggestion is to ask if you can come on a walk with them? If they balk at the idea, call another walker. They should be more than happy to have you tag along to see how much fun your dog will have.
The walker should provide clear written contract that covers things like:
- The time they will walk the dog.
- Where they will be walking the dog.
- How many dogs will be included in the group, or if it is private.
- How long the walk will be and the cost. (cash or check should be specified)
- How they will bill you.
They should have a Vet Release Form, to get your vet information, should there be an emergency. They should tell you exactly how they handle emergencies.
They should also ask you many questions about your dog, such as:
- How good is your dogs recall.
- Are there any aggressive tendencies.
- Is he/she possessive of toys, food etc.
- Has your dog ever bitten anyone or any other dog?
Last, go with your gut instinct. If you don't like the walker, move on and call another. If your dog does not react positively to the walker, again move on and call another. You should get a good feeling about leaving your dog in this persons care and your dog should enjoy their company.
Courtesy of The International Association of Canine Professionals