Forget handing over the keys to your home—letting someone put a leash on your beloved pup and walk them when you’re not there can cause any pet parent to have a panic attack. A good dog walker or sitter will completely understand—and will do whatever they can to help put you at ease. Here’s what you need to know to find a human who will treat your doggo (allllmost) as special as you do:
Get the scoop
Instead of blindly searching the Internet, talk to your pup-loving neighbors and friends and ask your local vet if they have any recommendations. Then do a good old Google search to do some research on them. Or you can search some of the newer sites that will vet walkers and sitters for you.
Meet and greet
Once you’ve found a worthy candidate or two, invite them over to meet your pup! Make sure you’re meeting with the person who will actually do the walking, not the owner of the business. Look for body language cues in the walker: you want someone who is calm, confident and kind. If your dog is shy and reactive, consider a second meeting (and remember that your dog may behave differently when you’re not around!)
Ask as many as you need to feel comfortable leaving your pup in their hands! Including but not limited to: How long have you been walking dogs? Where will you walk my dog and for how long? How many dogs do you walk at once? How do you choose which dogs walk together? What are your training methods? Are you licensed and insured? Are you certified in canine first aid? How will you respond to emergency situations? What will happen if a dog gets lost? What happens when you’re sick?
Expect a lot
Trusting someone to go into your home and take care of your pup every day is a big deal! Ideally this person walks dogs for a living—they’re professional and reliable, rain or shine. They should be insured, licensed, bonded and have references. They should know basic pup safety, like how dangerous it is to give them chocolate or leave them unattended in a car. And be willing to send you updates! Photos are always appreciated, too.
What you can do
Let the walker know about any medical problems your pup has (allergies, medications) and behavioral issues. A good one will be able to discuss these things with you honestly. Make sure your home is puppy-proofed, and let them know if anything relevant neighborhood-wise that might get in the way of their walk! Don’t get discouraged if the first candidate you meet with doesn’t work out—take your time and keep talking to people. You’ll know when you find the right human to walk your pup!
Content provided by Healthy Paws Pet Insurance. Healthy Paws is one of the leading pet insurance program providers in the U.S. for dogs and cats, and is ranked #1 by customers on leading review websites. Click here to get 10% off Healthy Paws pet insurance!
(Policies are underwritten and issued by ACE American Insurance Company, Indemnity Insurance Company of North America, ACE Property & Casualty Insurance Company, Atlantic Employers Insurance Company, members of the Chubb Group.)
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