Your dog needs daily exercise in order to stay physically fit and mentally healthy. But sometimes your schedule doesn’t always go to plan and you might want to consider getting a trusted dog walker for your four-legged companion with dog walking London.
But before you start your search for your dog walker, there are a few handy things you should know. Firstly, anyone can advertise themselves as a dog walker, but it doesn’t necessarily mean they have the experience.
Below are some steps you should consider taking to ensure that your dog walker is well-qualified and a good match with your dog.
Ask for recommendations
The best way to start looking for a trusted dog walker is to ask for recommendations from other dog owners. If you have friends who use a dog walker or dog walkers you spot at the park – you can even ask your vet if they know of anyone in the area. Of course, there are a few more steps you’d want to take before booking your dog in for a walk.
Invite potential walkers to meet your dog
It’s very important to make sure your dog is comfortable around this new person, so make sure you set up a meeting with the dog walker. You should introduce them to your dog and see how your dog acts around them. Most dogs are shy or wary of meeting new people so you shouldn’t necessarily expect an immediate bond. The meeting will tell a lot about the dog walker, they should act calm and assertive towards your dog and pay attention to their body language and behaviour.
It’s important to know where your dog is going on their walks. Here are a few questions you should ask:
- Where will you take my dog for walks?
- Will you walk my dog with other dogs? And if so, how many are in the group? Do you gradually introduce my dog to a group of dogs?
- How long are the actual walks? (Excluding driving time.)
- Most dog walkers are sole owners of their business, however, in larger companies, there might be a few walkers. Find out whether the dog walker will be the regular one so you know who is walking your dog.
Ask about training background
Ideally, your dog walker will have training with dogs or at least professional experience. Someone who loves animals is great but you need to make sure they know how to handle things if a tricky situation arises. Ask questions such as:
- How long have they been walking dogs for?
- You want to use someone who uses training methods that you agree with. Ask about their methods.
- If your dog walker runs a legitimate business, they should be licensed and insured. Ask them to clarify this and ask to see documentation.
- How they will respond to an emergency situation?
Go for a trial walk
Arrange to go with the dog walker on a couple of walks with your dog. You will be able to assess their behaviour during this outing (both walker and your dog). You’ll be able to sense whether or not they’re the right choice for your dog. For example, if you have an older, slower dog and the walker insists on marching along at a fast clip, they might not be the right choice. If the walker is paying attention to your dog’s needs and your dog’s body language indicates that they are happy, they might be a good fit.
It might take a few dog walkers to finally find the right one but don’t give up. Take your time, because your dog deserves to be safe, comfortable, and happy on walks. And you need to trust that your furry friend is in the best hands possible.