Dog Walkers and Dog Sitters

As a pet-parent myself, I can relate to this meme more than you know!

For me personally, there is nothing more nerve-racking than agreeing to take care of or being responsible for another person’s prized pooch. Mind you, I am a certified professional dog trainer but it is a responsility that I take very seriously. My question to you is, is that a good thing? I would say so.

When I leave my dogs with someone, I trust that they follow the specific instructions I lay out for safety. The wrong kennel rotate and there is chaos. One dog gets through the second gate and my cat is in danger. Being cautious keeps you alert. Being complacent, causes laziness and can create unsafe handling.

When looking for a reputable dog walker or dogsitter, do your due diligence. When in doubt, feel free to check with people in your area for recommendations. Not every service is the same and not every person is knowledgeable in handling different breeds, temperaments, body language, and/or socialization level. There are plenty of apps available for clients to hire these services at the touch of a button. Each of these companies have their own screening process but do you really know who is coming into your home? I cannot stress this enough, do your due diligence.

Consider looking at local businesses that specialize in dog walking and have specific training to fit your dog’s needs. Feel free to interview your potential dog walker. According to the Whole Dog Journal, some important questions to ask include:
– What training tools do you use for walking? Leashes, etc?
– How do reward good behavior?
– How do you respond to any inappropriate behavior from the dog?
– Are you bonded and insured?
– Do you perform background checks on all your dog walkers?
– Do you have a plan for emergencies?
– Where will you walk my dog?
– How many dogs do you walk at once?
– How do you assess/introduce the dogs?
– What if a dog is unfriendly with other dogs or people?
– Will my dog be on or off-leash?
– Do you offer trial walks?
– Will anyone else walk my dog except the originally assigned walker?

Don’t get me wrong, these services and apps are beneficial for many reasons. It has brought a whole new awareness that these business exist. It’s convenient. The ease of ordering up a service is quick and easy. You can socialize your dog while away. Fido gets exercise. The list can go on and on.

In the end, it is up to you as a pet-parent. Trust your instincts.