Are you considering booking a reliable dog walker to exercise your dog when you’re not able to? It is a profession that is becoming increasingly popular leading to a plethora of options. In this guide we’ll look at all the important points to consider to ensure you choose the right dog walker for your four legged friend.

Your first port of call could be a google search tailored to your area. Such as “Dog Walker Haxby”. This will bring up a list of companies and also a clickable map. You can start your research here. Visit the websites and get a feel for what the company is all about. Do they have a facebook page with client submitted reviews? Google Business pages are also ways of reading reviews about the company.

You may see adverts on sites such as gumtree with teenagers offering their services as a dog walker. It’s best to use somebody who does dog walking as a full time profession. It’s a big commitment to turn up to somebody’s house day in day out, rain or shine, for months or years. If you go with somebody who does dog walking full time they are more likely to hold themselves accountable to the job they have committed to.

Are you able to speak to other dog owners about the different dog walking companies you are considering? For instance chatting with other owners at the local dog park. Do they have any direct experience of using them?

Once you have a short list of companies you would like to talk to it’s time to get in touch with them via email or phone. They should offer a free consultation with no obligation before the first walk. This is a good chance to meet the dog walker. They will usually come to your home. It’s a chance for you to decide if the person is right for your dog and also for the dog walker to start the process of meeting and bonding with your dog. Watch how the dog walker interacts with your dog. Is he calm? How does he handle the dog? How does the dog respond to him?

They should have paperwork to fill out and ask lots of questions about your dog such as, but not limited to: how sociable he is with other dogs, how strong his recall is and any behavioural issues to be aware of.

Most dog walkers are passionate dog lovers. All with different levels of experience and their own unique ideas on training methods. The consultation is an opportunity for you to ask lots of questions. Example questions are: –

  • How many dogs do you walk in a group?
  • Do you have a current CRB check?
  • What insurance do you hold and what does it cover?
  • What is the walk duration, excluding travel time?
  • How will the dog be transported (i.e. separate crates in a ventilated van with access to fresh water)?
  • Can you see the van and the crates?
  • Will it be the person carrying out the consultation who will always do the walks or do you have other staff members and if so can you meet them?
  • Where are the walks carried out? If it’s a private field can you go and see it?
  • How much is each walk and how is payment made and on what terms (i.e. weekly or daily basis, cancellation notice period)
  • Do you take photos and videos on your walks to post on social media such as facebook or instagram?

It is a good idea to meet a few different dog walkers. Go with your gut instinct. Is this the person you want to look after your dog? If you will be away from the house when they come to collect your dog they will need a key. Do you trust them with this responsibility?

When you feel you have found the right person, ask to go along on a walk with them and their current client dogs. If this is not possible why not? It’s a great way of assessing how the dogs respond to him / her. What is their recall like? Are they well behaved dogs that respond well to commands and are comfortable with the dog walker?

You can now go ahead and book them on a regular basis safe in the knowledge that your dog’s life is being enriched through the safe and boundaried exercise provided.

If you have any comments or suggestions please leave them below.