Choosing a dogwalker that suits you and your dog

Sometimes you simply have to give it a try in order to see whether you really want/need something or not. Before I got a dog it was clear to me that I had to find a dogwalker for those days that I couldn’t work from home. Three days a week between 13 and 14 o’clock was the idea, so that my dog wouldn’t be so lonely. I started my search on the internet and found a friendly looking guy. I didn’t really know what to look for when choosing a dogwalker so I went with my instincts. (S)he should love dogs of course, should be nice and friendly and (s)he should have some basic knowledge about dogs behavior. A few weeks later we brought our dog home and after meeting up with one possible “candidate” I immediately decided that this is the guy. We had a little test-walk and Bobby seemed to like him. I signed his contract we discussed some things and I gave him a spare key to our house so that he could pick him up. This was the very first time that someone else got a key to our home and it felt a bit weird but hey I had to trust him – and I did.

I felt so relieved that I found someone I trusted and that would spend some time with Bobby during the day. However, with time I learned that I wanted some things differently. I didn’t want that Bobby got picked up in a van where he had to sit for some time until all the other dogs where picked up. I also didn’t like the idea that he was forced to walk with other dogs since he almost never shows long lasting (more than 30 seconds) interest in other dogs. And that is the motivation of this post. I want to give those of you who are currently in the process of finding a dogwalker or those who already have one some inspiration or food for thought on choosing a dogwalker.

Your wishes/needs:

1. Trust
Can you trust the person? Do you believe that (s)he will care for your dog they way you want him/her to? And can you trust that the person will treat your dog with love and patience also in difficult situations? Do you think that the person has enough dog knowledge and do you feel comfortable giving him/her keys to your home? Do you think that the person is healthy enough to do the job? Think of older or ill people. Especially if you have a bigger dog the person should be able to control the dog at all times.

2. Communication
Is the person easily accessible by phone? You might need to contact him/her in order to cancel walks or to get/give some updates.

3. Flexibility
Is (s)he flexible enough for your lifestyle? Can the walking schedule easily be changed when you plan to go on vacation or have a day off or if your dog is too ill to get in contact with other dogs?

4. Payment
How much does his/her service cost and do you agree with the way the payment is done?

Your dogs’ wishes/needs:

1. Transportation
Do you want that your dog has to travel in a car/van? Or do you want that the person comes to your house and walks in the neighborhood? If your dog gets carsick or scared to spend some time in a bench you might choose for the latter option.

2. Duration
How much energy does your dog have? Does he need/likes long walks? Does he need some cuddle time? Make an agreement with the person based on your dogs’ needs.

3. Individual vs. in a group
Does your dog love to play with others and really enjoys the company of other dogs? Or is he more of an introvert dog who easily gets bothered by other/active dogs? Choose the type of walk that suits your dog best!

4. Weather conditions
Think of different scenarios such as very hot weather, lots of rain or frozen streets. What are your expectations in such situations? Should your dog have a long walk during a very hot day anyway or should the walk be shorter? What about very rainy days? Should walks be adapted? Talk these scenarios through with your dogwalker.

5. Health
Does your dog need medicine on a regular basis? Or do you have a female dog that is/comes in heat? Should the dogwalker be able to give the medicine? Are individual walks possible during the time your dog is in heat?

6. Behavior
Everyone has his/her own rules regarding their dogs behaviour. Your dogwalker should know the do’s and dont’s that your dog has learned and (s)he should feel comfortable with the rules. Same when it comes to the type and number of treats your dog can get from the dogwalker.

I hope that these few tips will help you in choosing a suitable dogwalker. What are your experiences with dogwalkers? Do you have any additional tips or recommendations?

Julia

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