In an ideal world, you have time to walk your dog on the regular, enjoying quality time together outside. Unfortunately, that isn’t realistic, or you wouldn’t be reading this article. It’s tough balancing your work life, social life, and time with your dog. And as a responsible pet parent, you know how critical exercise is for your sweet dog’s health and longevity. What you need is a professional dog walker.
But how do you find a dog walker that’s right for your pup? We’ve put together a fool-proof guide to finding a dog walker. We’ll list the requirements you’ll want to look for as well as how to communicate with your dog walker to make sure your dog’s needs are met. While walking your dog is ideal, sometimes you need to call in the cavalry to help.
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What To Do Before Your Hire a Dog Walker
Before you begin your search for qualified dog walkers, you need to determine the following criteria:
How Often Do You Need Dog Walking Services?
This can vary depending on the demands of your schedule. Your dog should be walked at least 30 minutes a day to maintain optimal health. And depending on the age of your dog, you may need dog walking services more than once a day. You need to run an energetic puppy more than a sweet old dog. You may need a dog walker twice a day, every day, a couple of times a week, or sporadically when your schedule demands it.
How Much Are You Willing to Pay for Dog Walking?
Your budget for dog walking services may narrow your options on who’s available in your price range. This may affect how often they can walk your dog each week. It’s important to research the going price range for dog walking services in your area.
Does Your Dog Have Specific Needs During Its Walk?
Some dogs have more specific needs or behaviors that need to be addressed and discussed with your potential dog walker:
- Does your dog prefer to sniff everything, taking its time on the walk?
- Does your dog pull pretty fiercely on the leash?
- Are they polite or aggressive on a leash?
- Does your older dog tap out after a couple of blocks?
- Does your puppy chase everything it sees?
You’ll want to know your dog’s personality on a leash and explain their behavior and needs to the potential dog walker.
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How to Find the Best Dog Walker
Once you understand all your requirements for a dog walker, you need to know where to find one. You can hire a professional dog walker or someone from your neighborhood. Both options have their pros and cons.
By hiring a professional dog walker, you can rely on dependable, long-term help. They generally have years of experience and a deep love for dogs, so you know your dog will be in good care. But getting professional service also means you’ll need to pay for it. And your dog walker may not be conveniently located near you, which could cost extra.
Hiring a neighbor can be significantly cheaper and in better proximity to your home. But hiring a neighbor doesn’t mean you’ll get consistent long-term help, especially if you hire a teenager or kid who may have other activities that can cut their service short. They may not be as reliable or loving to your dog.
Whichever option you decide, you’ll want to get referrals to find the right dog walker for your dog.
Get Referrals for a Professional Dog Walking Service
One of the best ways to find a dog walker is to talk to friends with dogs and other dog owners. They often will know a reputable dog walker in your area. Talk to your vet, kennel, groomer, or even other dog parents at the park. Another helpful resource is to look on websites like:
Ask a Neighborhood Kid
If you aren’t necessarily looking for a professional dog walker, talk to responsible kids in your neighborhood. They often do a great job and love getting paid. If there are kids familiar with your dog, start by asking them first. If you don’t know any kids in your neighborhood, talk to your neighbors or look on neighborhood apps.
Ask the Right Questions When Interviewing Potential Dog Walkers
It’s essential to interview all your potential dog walkers to ensure they will do a great job. Here are some valid questions you should ask before hiring a dog walker:
- How long have you been walking dogs?
- Do you have a professional background with animals?
- Do you have any certifications or specializations?
- Do you walk dogs in a group or individually? If in a group, how do you group them? By age, size, activity level?
- How do you handle dog conflicts or break-up fights?
- How much time do you guarantee for each walk?
- What is your policy when there is bad weather?
Make sure to introduce them to your dog too. Your dog’s reaction to them is also a valid indicator of whether you should hire them. Once you and your dog approve of a dog walker, you’ll want to continually monitor and assess how the relationship and service are working.
Frequently Asked Questions
Here are some other frequently asked questions about hiring a dog walker:
Is a dog walker worth it?
Yes, for people with busy schedules, a dog walker is totally worth the peace of mind because the dog sitter can take one more thing off your plate.
What is a dog walker called?
Dog walkers are also referred to as dog sitters or pet sitters.
How much do most dog walkers charge?
This largely depends on where you live. But on average, dog walkers charge $20 per 30-minute walk. But prices can range from $10 to $60 per walk, depending on your area.
Why does a dog need to be walked?
According to the Animal Foundation, dogs need at least 30 minutes of exercise each day to be healthy.
What happens if you don’t walk your dog?
Missing a day or two a week does not make you a bad pet parent. But if you don’t provide enough exercise for your dog, then boredom and destructive behaviors can develop. Then you may have other problems than just an unhealthy dog. Do your best, and then hire a dog walker to avoid undesirable behaviors when you can’t walk your dog.
Dog Walkers are Ideal When You Have a Demanding Schedule
Dog walkers are a time saver. They take a task off your plate and help your dog get the exercise it needs. This way you can enjoy the time with your dog without feeling the pressure if you miss their walk.
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