During the past year, dog ownership has increased by a huge amount. Lots of households have taken advantage of the home working to introduce a new puppy/dog into the family. Despite there being a lot of downsides to this pandemic and the subsequent lockdowns, more time at home to welcome a new furry family member is definitely one of the positives.
With restrictions due to ease further in the coming months and companies looking for employees to physically return to work, even if on a part time basis, dog owners now need to consider their new family member and how they fit into a normal working lifestyle. If you will be out at work for most of the day, you may need to consider getting a dog walker. Despite sounding like a daunting task, the right dog walker can help your weekly routine run as smoothly as it is doing now. There are things to consider when hiring a dog walker and we’ve outlined some below:
Group and solo walks
A consideration is whether your dog would prefer a solo walk – just a walk by themselves, or whether they may enjoy the company of other dogs on their walk. If this is the case, ask the dog walker how many dogs they walk at one time. Whilst it’s nice for your dog to have company, too may dogs walked in one go means your dog may not get the care and attention they deserve.
Meet and greet
Make sure any potential walker offers to come and meet you and your dogs first. This is a great way to see how they interact with your dog and to as any questions you may have. Good walkers would offer this as a standard and not shy away from any questions. Always trust your gut with this meeting, it’s almost always right!
Check with any potential walkers how flexible they are – can they fit walks in as and when you need them or do they require a regular commitment? How do you book walks? Do they have a booking system or is it just a quick text/phone call to book?
What happens if your walker is ill, has to self isolate or is on holiday? Is there a back up plan in place? You need to know that if you have booked a walk and your walker should become ill, that an alternative option could be provided to save changing your work arrangements.
Is your walker insured? Dog walking is so far an unregulated business area so anyone and everyone can set up a dog walking business! Have they been police checked? Remember that you are probably going to be trusting this person with a key to your home so you need to trust this person.
Area of walks
Where will the walker walk your dog? Do they walk around your local area or do they use a vehicle to take them to a local park? If your dog doesn’t travel well, this is definitely something to consider.
Ask if your walker gives you any feedback following the walks. It’s always great to receive a quick message ‘Barney had a great walk today!’ along with a picture whilst you aren’t there. This means you can relax and move on with your day knowing your dog has had a good walk.