Dog walking for other people is becoming more and more popular these days. Every time I go out I seem to see more and more of these small vans around town advertising their services. For busy people it makes sense to have your pooch taken for a walk by a reputable dog walker rather than laying around in their dog bed all day.
So, working with our friends at Happy Valley Dog Walking, lennyandsid.co.uk came up with 12 important questions to ask before you employ a dog walker. After all, our beloved dogs are our fur babies and part of the family, so making sure you get a good dog walker is important.
How many dogs at once do they walk?
Ask them how many dogs will be walked at any one time, we'd say no more than 3 or 4 is optimum to give your dog the attention it needs
How long is my dog likely to be in a van?
You see the vans travelling around town, picking up dogs to take them on their walk, and for me it's not fair to have them in there for longer than 20 - 30 minutes.
How big is the area they cover?
Similar to the above question, if your potential dog walker covers a large area than your pooch may end up in the van for longer periods, best that they only cover a few miles so they can pick up and return quickly.
Meet them first
Not a question, but an obvious statement. You'd want to meet any trader coming in to do work on your home for example, so make sure you meet your potential dog walker.
Are they animal first aid trained?
Has the dog walker, or anyone working for them who may potentially walk your dog, been first aid trained, specifically for animals. The last thing you want, should there be any kind of emergency, is for who ever is responsible for your pooch to be flapping about not knowing what to do or the anatomy of a dog.
Make sure you see there insurance
Of course you want to make sure your potential dog walker has insurance, so make sure that you see their insurance documents.
Do they have a cancellation policy?
Sometimes you may need to cancel either your contract or some sessions, for holidays etc .. so make sure you understand your potential dog walkers cancellation policy, so that you are aware of any charges should you need to cancel.
Where do they walk: rural or street walks?
I know what I prefer a good country walk on a Sunday after lunch. I suspect your dog would like the same rather than plodding around the streets on a wet and windy Wednesday
What is there policy for off lead walking?
This question is about trust, and how the potential dog walker gains the trust of your dog. Are they permanently on the lead, does the walker let them off straight away or is it a phased approach until the dog and walker have a mutual trust. The obvious answer, for me, is a staged approach
Could I come with them on a walk?
Why not, if the potential walker is confident then they should happily allow you to go an walk prior to signing any kind of contract.
Do they have facilities to wash dog in bad weather?
Last thing you want is your dog to come home covered in mud and smelly, so check if they have washing facilities and will wash your dog prior to bringing them home. You wouldn't want your brand new LennyAndSid dog bed full of smelly mud and dirt.
Are they CRB checked?
A criminal records bureau (CRB) check is essential and the potential dog walker should happily show you their certificate. A CRB check is a check on an individual that checks for any criminal convictions.
This story is a guest submission and does not reflect the views of Dogs Monthly Magazine, always consult a qualified expert.