If you own a dog and have a busy schedule, you may want to consider hiring a dog walker. They can give your dog much-needed exercise and socialization while you’re not home, which is beneficial to both you and your dog.
Finding the right dog walker isn’t always easy, though. You want the best for your dog, so it takes time and careful consideration to hire a dog walker.
Do I Really Need a Dog Walker?
The first step toward hiring a dog walker is deciding that you need one. You may feel overprotective of your dog, or you may not think that a dog walker is worth the money. A professional dog walker can make your life much easier, though.
Here are some of the biggest benefits of hiring a dog walker:
Your dog should go on a walk every day, but you may not always have the time. If you’re juggling work, home, and family responsibilities, there will be days that you don’t have a spare minute to walk your dog. Instead of feeling guilty for not giving your dog the exercise he needs, you can hire a dog walker to help you out.
Improves Your Dog’s Health and Behavior
Regular exercise is essential for your dog’s health. Most young dogs need 30 minutes to two hours of exercise per day, and some dogs need even more. A daily walk can help your dog stay at a healthy weight and can prevent the following medical issues:
- Joint problems
- Muscle weakness
- Liver disease
- Heart disease
- Digestive disorders
- Stress and anxiety
If your dog is mostly sedentary, he might build up too much energy, which can lead to loud barking and destructive behavior. Walking is a great way for your dog to release his pent-up energy, so he’ll be better-behaved at home.
It’s important for dogs to learn how to act around other people and other canines. When your dog goes on a walk, it’s highly likely that he’ll get a chance to practice his social skills. If your dog walker takes multiple dogs out at once, it can be a good opportunity for your dog to get lengthy socialization with his fellow canines. Your dog walker should know how to help dogs socialize and how to handle any conflicts that arise, so you can have peace of mind knowing that your dog is taken care of.
What to Consider When Hiring a Dog Walker
Background and Experience
When you interview a potential dog walker, you should ask them lots of questions about their background and work experience. How long have they been walking dogs? How many clients do they have right now? Do they have any licenses or certificates?
A professional and reliable dog walker should come to an interview with several documents:
- Dog walker insurance
- Written rates and policies
- Service contract
Even if they’re self-employed, your potential dog walker should be prepared and organized with all their documents. This shows that they take the job seriously and that they know how important proper pet care is.
Your dog walker should also have a solid understanding of canine behavior and health needs. In case your dog has a medical emergency or other problem, you should trust your dog walker to handle the situation. If your dog has any health conditions or special needs, ask your potential dog walker about them to make sure they know how to give your dog the best possible care.
Before hiring a dog walker, you should see how they interact with your dog. The best way to do this is on a test walk, which will let you see your dog walker in action. You should go with the dog walker, but you should allow them to handle your dog. Observe them to see if they walk at a good pace for your dog and if they pay attention to your dog’s body language.
If your dog gets overly-excited when he sees other people or animals, try to walk to a busy location. This will let you observe how the dog walker handles outbursts.
Your dog walker’s schedule has to line up with your own. Make sure they’re available on the right days at the right times and ask them if they accept last-minute bookings. If something unexpected comes up for you, you may need to call your dog walker in on short notice.
Ask your potential dog walker how long their walks last. If this walk is your dog’s only exercise for the day, it should last for at least an hour. Also, ask whether they bring multiple dogs on a walk at once. This could be a good opportunity for your dog to socialize, but you should make sure that the walker can give your dog the individual attention he needs.
Cost shouldn’t be your first priority when hiring a dog walker, but it does matter. Average rates for dog walkers vary by location, but a Google search with your city name should give you a good estimate. Dog walkers typically charge $20 to $30 for a 30-minute walk.
If a dog walker charges much lower than the average rate for your area, it might be a sign that they’re desperate for work, which may mean that they have trouble keeping clients. If they charge much more than average, you’ll have to ask yourself whether they’re worth the cost. However, if your dog has any health problems or special needs, you should be prepared to pay a little extra.
You might have to interview several dog walkers before you hire one. Even if a dog walker has great experience and qualifications, they may just not be the right fit for your dog. It’s important to be patient and careful when choosing a dog walker, so you and your dog can both have the best possible experience.