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Choosing a Dog Walker.

When you choose a walker, you are entrusting your pet to someone else, this makes it important you make the right choice for you and your pet.
Walking dogs, especially for someone else, needs some experience - here are some things that you should consider when choosing a dog walker:-

  • The walker's experience of walking dogs,
  • Their reliability and feelings about dogs.
  • How your pet behaves with the walker.
  • They should really enjoy working with dogs and be really patient with them.

What are your requirements?
Before choosing a Dog Walker you should have a firm idea of your requirements :-
  • How often do you want your pet to be walked? Once a day, twice a day or more frequently?
  • Do you need a regular dog walker or you just need someone for dog walking occasionally.
  • Do you prefer a regular person walking your pet.
  • Do you require your dog to be picked up or walked from your home/workplace.
  • Can you dog be exercised off the lead when being walked.
  • Can your dog be given treats to eat whilst being on a walk.
  • Walking a dog can be expensive establish how much exercise can you afford to pay for?
Finding the Dog Walker
  • Ask other pet owners, your vet, friends or your local pet store for recommendations about dog walking providers
  • Make sure the walker has references and ask about insurance (at least Public Liability Insurance)
  • If you intend that the dog walker visits your house to walk your pet while you are absent, make sure they are CRB checked
  • Ask the dog walker if they have a regular vet they use
  • Ask them if they have a back-up plan in the event of illness or emergency where they cannot attend to your dog.
  • Ask the walker whether he or she walks dogs in large groups or individually - the more dogs a walker walks at once, the less attention he or she can pay to each onr. Check whether the walker offers small-group or individual walks, if necessary.
  • Ask about the walker's water, feeding and cleanup policies ( they should abide by the laws and will clean up after your pet when they take him/her walking)
  • Check the leash used will be suitable for your dog, especially if several dogs will all be on one leash.
  • Find out the time and duration of the walks - the walker should be able to accommodate your schedule.
  • What are the costs, are they varied for different times of the day or for separate walking.
  • Check to see whether the walker can provide for any special needs your pet may have. eg. is your pet a puppy or an older dog?
  • Ask about the areas the walks will take place in and you should consider if there are any traffic concerns.
  • Check the dog walker's references and record of reliability also check and write down his or her identification information, address and phone number.
  • If it will be necessary for the walker to transport your pet ensure their vehicle is properly adapted for transporting dogs.
  • What experience does the dog walker have, are they able to diffuse problems between dogs, do they know basic first aid.
  • Does the dog walker require your pet to have had any specific vaccinations?

General advice
  • Make sure your dog is friendly enough to accept going for a walk with this new person. A great idea is to arrange a walk with just yourself, the walker and your dog and with no other dogs along. Your dog may adapt much easier to the experience of having a walker if you go along the first time the walker is walking your dog. Pay the dog walker for this special initial walk, of course.
  • When first meeting a new dog walker watch your dog's reaction to him/her they need to like the person just as much as you do.
  • Note how your dog acts before and after the walks, do they appear sufficiently exercised and happy, your dog enjoys being with you and should also enjoy being walked by the new walker.
  • Provide the walker with emergency information, including your pet's medical history and your veterinarian's phone number.
  • Walkers who own or have recently owned a pet are likely to better relate to your dog and can provide for your pet's emotional needs as well as his or her physical needs.
  • Be specific about your pet's health. Always inform your dog walker about your dog's health and dietary needs. Your dog's diet is sensitive and should not be altered without the advice of your vet. If you have specific treats for your dog, be sure to give proper instructions to your walker in regard to this.

With all your questions answered to your satisfaction and you are in a position to choose, at this point it is not unreasonable to suggest a trial period with the dog walker or even accompany your dog on his first walk with the new walker.
I
t is essential you choose a dog walker whose approach you are happy with and who you are confident you can trust.

 
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David W Bates www.doggy-blog.co.uk

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