Pet parents know that our pets are just like family, and choosing a dog walker with whom you can entrust their well-being is not something to rush into! Just like you’d take your time to select a babysitter for your human children, careful consideration goes into selecting who will care for your pets. I believe that a professional dog walker should have the following qualities and I hope this information helps guide you in your quest for choosing a dog walker!
1. They are licensed, bonded, and insured business.
Having a dog walker who is not insured or licensed in the state/county in which they operate is a huge liability. If your dog was injured while in their care, who would be liable? A professional dog walker will be bonded, for your protection, in addition to carrying a general liability insurance policy. This is for your protection and theirs!
2. They send you timely updates that keep you informed about what happened during the visit.
If you’re at work, how do you know what your pup and her walker were up to during their visit? Did your dog go potty? What time did the walker arrive, and what time did they leave? This information is incredibly helpful for pet parents to know so they can stay connected and informed about their dog’s well-being and care.
A tech-savvy, professional dog walker will send you an update while you’re at work so you don’t have to wonder or wait until you get home to know what happened during the day with their dog walker! If you know what time your dog walker left and if your dog took care of business during the day, it gives you the freedom to know if they have time for that after work happy hour or to run some errands before heading home.
3. They perform background checks on their employees and provide extensive training, including Pet First Aid & CPR.
Allowing someone access to your home when you’re not there is not something to be taken lightly or handed over to just anyone. A true pet professional will perform criminal background checks on their staff members. Many pet care companies choose to hire employees, rather than independent contractors, so that they can ensure that team members are providing exceptional pet care to the standard set by the business owner.
4. They clearly define how much time they are spending with your dog.
When you’re spending the money on a dog walking service, you want to know how much time the Caregiver will be spending with your dog! Is it a 20-minute walk or a 20-minute visit?
It’s important for the pet care company to clearly define these expectations so you know exactly what you’re getting.
5. They come to your house to meet you and your pets prior to beginning dog walking services.
Would you hire a babysitter through an App and entrust them with your child without even meeting them? Of course not! Your dog walker should be no different. A professional dog walker will want to send someone from the company over to your house to get acquainted with you, your dog and learn all about their routine! This is to ensure that everyone gets along well and is comfortable with one another.
If your dog is shy or timid at first, pay attention to how the dog walker acts and if they adjust their body language or behavior to make your dog more comfortable with them.
6. They let you know if your dog will be walked on her own or if they will be walking her with other dogs at the same time.
Some companies do private walks, where your dog(s) will receive the Caregiver’s undivided attention. Some companies, especially in more urban areas, offer pack walks, where dogs from multiple households will be walked together at the same time.
This is an important thing to consider, especially if you have a dog that is reactive, fearful or just wants some one-on-one time!
7. Their employees are trained in Pet First Aid & CPR.
This has become the standard for a pet care professional. Just as you’d want your babysitter to be trained in First Aid & CPR for your child, you want your dog walker to have that same knowledge! If you are entrusting your dog in a professional’s care, it is essential that they are prepared for pet health emergencies.
8. They have a service contract.
They should have a service contract that outlines all of their company policies in a clear way for you to review and sign prior to engaging their services. This sets up the expectations for both the client and the company so everyone is on the same page.
9. They make scheduling services easy and accessible.
Once you’ve started a relationship with your pet care provider, you should be able to request services easily. Many companies utilize pet sitting software where clients can login to an App or website and request a pet care visit in a click of a button!
In a world where you can order a pizza from the click of a button on your phone, don’t you want requesting professional pet care services to be just as simple?
10. They use humane and ethical training methods and equipment.
While your dog walker is most likely not a dog trainer, they spend a lot of time with dogs and therefore are quite familiar with different types of pet gear and training equipment. Dog training has evolved in the last few decades and many trainers are still stuck in the past using outdated and harmful training equipment.
A modern professional dog walker will be aware of dog body language and behavior and keep your dog safe without the use of prong, choke, or shock collars. They’ll follow a science-based, humane approach to animal behavior and training.
Presidential Pet Care is a force-free dog walking and pet sitting company located in Northern Virginia that facilitates harmonious relationships between people and their pets. To learn more about our dog walking, pet sitting, field trips or overnights, check out our services page, call us at 571-730-7730 or use our form on our contact page! You can also check out our online store that has a variety of pet products that your pet will love!