Hiring a dog walker
Animatch feels strongly that the dog you adopt needs daily exercise to stay both mentally alert and healthy. If long work days don’t allow you to hit the trail with your buddy, you may need to hire a dog walker. Exercise helps to prevent boredom which in turn can lead to behavioral issues, including destruction. Coming home to torn cushions or a chewed door frame in the end could cost more than hiring a dog walker. Tonya Nazzaro, an Animatch Volunteer and professional dog walker, has a few hints and suggestions when hiring a dog walker. Tonia is a member of One Leg up Pet Services (onelegup.ca).
Are you considering hiring a dog walker? Whether you need an extra hand because of your busy schedule or you’re just not able to meet the physical demands of your pooch, here are some very important things to look for in a walker:
- References: One of the most important attributes of a good dog walker is someone with good, solid references. While some may argue that references only reflect the positive, chances are that if a dog walker has rave reviews, they are someone you would want taking care of your dog!
- Someone that is insured: It is vital to hire a dog walker that is insured. Insurance protects your home and your dog. A walker that is insured will likely have higher rates than one that does not, but this small dollar amount will be worth the peace of mind.
- Experience with dogs: You will want to hire a dog walker that is experienced with dogs. An added bonus would be someone who has experience with dogs of all temperaments, sizes and breeds - for example, someone who also fosters or volunteers at a shelter. A good general knowledge about dogs is helpful in all situations, especially if your dog will be walking with a pack.
- Mature & responsible: When hiring someone for any job, it is very important that they be mature and reliable enough to handle the responsibility.
- Owns or has access to a car: It is important for the well-being of your dog that the walker you hire owns or has access to a car in the case of an emergency (pet is injured, inclement weather, etc).
- Hire someone whose primary income is from dog walking: Hiring someone whose primary or sole income derives from dog walking means hiring someone dedicated to your dog. A dog walker by profession is dependent on the money (and more savvy about the business), and is less likely to cancel or disappoint. Someone whose hobby or pass-time is dog walking may be less reliable, simply because their livelihood does not depend on it!
At the end of the day, everything considered, you still need to go with your gut! If someone meets all of the above criteria but still leaves you feeling unsettled, move on. You need to feel good about the person who will be walking your dog - after all, our dogs are members of the family!