02 Feb Need Help With Your Furbaby? Hire a Dog Walker!
Like our pets, all dog parents are different. But there’s one thing we all have in common: we hate leaving our furbabies home alone. Finding a reliable, trustworthy dog walker soothes the guilt of leaving them behind and minimizes the mess and destruction you come home to. Most importantly, it keeps our furbabies healthy and happy.
Dogs give us protection, loyalty, and companionship without asking for much in return. All they need is food, exercise, and affection. And as much as we hate it, we can’t always be there to give it to them. But finding a responsible dog walker is easier than you think!
Ask For Recommendations
Word of mouth recommendations are usually more reliable than internet reviews. You’ll probably feel more comfortable leaving your dog with someone who was vouched for by someone you know. Instead of starting your search for a dog walker online, talk to the people around you. Here are a few places to start.
- Call your vet and groomer. There’s a great chance they know a few trustworthy animal lovers who walk dogs in their spare time, or as their main source of income. And, your vet and groomer are familiar with your dog’s behavior quirks and health needs, which puts them in the unique position of knowing who would and wouldn’t be a good fit for the job.
- Take your dog for a walk around your apartment and get to know your neighbors. You’ll probably learn you’re not the only dog parent in your community who can’t always come home during lunch to take care of your furbaby. If your neighbors have already found a great dog walker, ask if your dog can be added to their schedule.
- Ask your family and friends. They may know someone you can trust, or they may be interested in taking care of your furbaby themselves.
- If all else fails, look online. Searching for a dog walker on the internet doesn’t feel as personal, but that doesn’t mean the people who work for the agencies aren’t caring and capable. Care.com, Wagz, and Rover are all great options.
Interviewing a Potential Dog Walker
Giving someone access to your apartment and your furbaby takes a lot of trust. Listen to your gut; you may have to interview several people before you find one you’re comfortable with. Here are a few interview tips.
- Start with the basics. When did they start walking dogs? What do they enjoy most about their job? Do they have other experience with animals? Will your dog get one-on-one attention, or be walked in a group?
- Ask them to describe any bad experiences they’ve had on the job and how they handled them.
- Ask about the route your dog will walk. Do they plan to stay near the apartment community, or drive your dog to a park or trail? If you have preferences about where your dog does and doesn’t go, make that clear from the beginning.
- Find out how much notice is required if one of you needs to cancel an appointment.
- Pay attention to how your furbaby and his new friend interact with each other. Dogs sense things that humans can’t. If your dog doesn’t like them, they aren’t the right dog walker for you.
- Be honest about any health or behavioral issues your dog has and ask if they’re comfortable dealing with them.
- Ask for references, then follow up on them.
After You Hire
Join your dog and his new friend on their first walk together. Let your dog walker take the lead while you observe, so your furbaby will acknowledge them as an authority figure.
Give your dog walker a list of emergency contacts. They should know how to reach you, who to call if they can’t, and the name, phone number, and address of your veterinarian.
Keep things organized. Designate a spot to keep your dog’s leash, harness, and other necessities so your dog walker doesn’t have to hunt for them.
Curious about where your dog’s going every day? Invest in a GPS collar or tag. You’ll be able to log in and follow his routes from your phone.
Click here for ways to keep your dog happy inside your apartment.