Are you thinking about hiring a dog walker? Before you hand your fur baby over to a stranger, you will want to ask them some of these fundamental questions. These questions will help ensure your dog is in the right hands.
When To Ask The Questions
Nearly all reputable dog walkers will offer a FREE consultation or meet and greet with your dog. This consultation is when the dog walkers gets to meet your dog, and you can ask the dog walker all the questions you need to feel assured you are making the right hiring decision.
Questions To Ask Your Dog Walker
|How Long Have You Been A Dog Walker?|
|Do You Own A Dog?|
|Will You Be Driving My Dog Somewhere?|
|Do You Walk My Dog With Other Dogs?|
|What Do You Do If There Is An Emergency?|
|Will Anyone Other Than You Be Walking My Dog?|
|What Happens If My Dog Gets Injured?|
|Are You CPR Qualified For Dogs?|
|Are You A Member Of A Dog Walking Association?|
|Do You Have A Dog Walker Certification?|
|Is Your Business Insured & Bonded?|
|Do You Have A Cancellation Policy?|
|How Soon Can You Walk My Dog?|
|What Does Your Dog Walking Service Include?|
|Are Your Employees Or Associates Vetted? i.e., background check|
|Can You Provide References?|
|What Routes Will You Take?|
|Do You Update Me About The Dog Walk? i.e., app or email|
|Do You Use GPS While On Dog Walks?|
|Do You Provide Off-Leash Dog Walking?|
|Do You Provide Routines When It Comes To The Dog Walking Schedule?|
|How Do You Get In My Home To Walk My Dog?|
|What Is Your Plan If You Personally Can Not Walk My Dog?|
|How Much Do You Charge?|
|Do You Offer Discounts Of Any Kind?|
Questions About Experience
How Long Have You Been A Dog Walker?
This is the first question you will want to ask a potential dog walker. Yes, everyone has to start from somewhere, but do you want your dog to be the guinea pig? Generally speaking, the longer someone has been a dog walker, the better they should be.
Do You Own A Dog?
This may seem like a no brainer. However, there are dog walkers and dog trainers that do not own dogs. There are certain things you learn about dog behavior by being around them day and night.
In my opinion, if your dog walker does not own a dog themselves, they may not be in the dog walking business because they love dogs.
Questions About Dog Care
Will You Be Driving My Dog Somewhere?
Having your dog walker drive your dog to a local park is not unusual. However, you do want to know exactly where your dog is going to be at all times. Also, if your dog is not a good traveler, this is the time you can divulge this information to your potential dog walker.
Do You Walk My Dog With Other Dogs?
Once again, this is not unusual. Everyone has seen shows where dog walkers in New York walk like thirty dogs at a time. While this probably isn’t the case in your area, you will still want to be aware of other animals who will be interacting with your dog.
What Do You Do If There Is An Emergency?
This is important because you want to make sure your dog is taken care of if something wrong happens. A dog walker who at least has a plan will keep your dog safer in a stressful situation than someone trying to figure things out as they go.
Will Anyone Other Than You Be Walking My Dog?
Some dog walking businesses have multiple walkers. If you are ok with someone, you don’t know walking your dog; this isn’t an issue. However, it is good to know how many unknown people will be handling your dog. Especially if you are under the impression that only one person will be doing the dog walking.
What Happens If My Dog Gets Injured?
This question is concerning liability. If your dog happens to get injured under the dog walker’s care, what happens? Is it the dog walker’s responsibility for medical expenses or you?
A professional dog walker should have an answer for you on who is financially responsible for any dog injuries under the dog walker’s care.
If the dog walker has insurance, you should be ok. But it is good to ask this question to double-check.
Are You CPR Qualified For Dogs?
While your dog may never need CPR, knowing your dog walker took the time to learn should help you rest easy since your dog is in great care.
Questions About Qualifications
Are You A Member Of A Dog Walking Association?
Not a deal-breaker. However, belonging to a dog walking association shows the person you may hire to walk your dog is a true professional who stays up to date on industry news and standards.
Do You Have A Dog Walker Certification?
This is not necessary, but there are certifications dog walkers can obtain online.
I personally would not put much weight on this question because these certifications can be easily bought online.
Yet, once again, having any certifications is better than nothing. While yes, some of these certifications can easily be bought online, it at least shows some initiative on the dog walker’s part to better themselves and their dog walking skills.
Questions About Dog Walking Business
Is Your Business Insured & Bonded?
You want to make sure the dog walkers business is insured to help pay for any injuries suffered by your dog under their care.
Bonding is different from insurance in that it protects the consumer, you, rather than the company from loss. Whereas insurance protects the dog walking company. The bonding is essential if the dog walker has employees, and they will be coming into your home.
Do You Have A Cancellation Policy?
You’ll need to know what happens if you cancel a dog walk. Do you still have to pay? If you paid upfront, will you be reimbursed?
How Soon Can You Walk My Dog?
You will want a dog walker who can easily fit your dog into their schedule. The better dog walkers may be booked out for weeks. While you will always want the best walker for your dog, you also need someone who can start on your terms.
What Other Services Does Your Dog Walking Company Offer?
Some dog walking services offer many different services. These services can range from daily walks, pet sitting, pet grooming, as well as waste pick up. Be sure to ask if there is a discount if you use multiple services.
Are Your Employees Or Associates Vetted? i.e., background check
If you are having dog walkers come into your home to grab your dog, you will want to ensure they are appropriately vetted. Ensure, at the very least, the service company you hire conducts a simple background check on their employees.
Can You Provide References?
A dog walker who has been working for a least a week should be able to provide you with a couple of references.
This is a question everyone always says to ask. I personally have never called anyone’s reference list. I feel that if someone does give you a reference list, it is, of course, only going to be a list of people who are pleased with their service.
A better option is to do a quick google search to see if someone has mentioned them online or has given them a rating on yelp.
Questions About The Walk Itself
What Routes Will You Take?
You will always want to know where your dog will be going during the walk. This way, if something happens, you at least know where your dog is at.
Do You Update Me About The Dog Walk? i.e., app or email
Some dog walking services provide photos of your dog on the walk as well as a summary of the walk.
Do You Use GPS While On Dog Walks?
This can be a helpful feature if you would like to track your dogs walk throughout the day.
Do You Provide Off-Leash Dog Walking?
You must ask this question if you fear your dog will not do well off-leash. You do not want a situation where your dog walker lets your dog run free only to find out your dog is not coming back.
However, if your dog does great off-leash, this type of walk can be great for them. They will get to explore the area on their own terms, sniffing until their heart’s content.
Do You Provide Routines When It Comes To The Dog Walking Schedule?
Dogs, like humans, love predictability. If you are having someone walk your dog daily, it is a good idea to have a set schedule. This way, your dog can recognize the pattern.
Questions About Logistics And Back-Up Plans
How Do You Get In My Home To Walk My Dog?
You will need to find out if you should leave a key at your doorstep. Also, if your dog walker is coming into your home, this is an excellent time to also ask about employees.
What Is Your Plan If You Personally Can Not Walk My Dog?
You will want to make sure your dog walker has a plan if they can not walk your dog for the day. Even if the plan is, I will have to walk them another day. Simply having a plan shows you that this dog walker is a professional.
Questions About Cost
I personally kept this at the end of the article because it is a given, but necessary.
How Much Do You Charge?
Prices vary on the skill and experience of the dog walker. Do not be surprised to pay between $15 and $30 per half-hour walk.
Do You Offer Discounts Of Any Kind?
I’m always looking for a deal. If you simply ask this question, a dog walker may think of a way to offer you a discount.
Always remember you are the one in control when it comes to the right person to hire to walk your dog. If you do not feel comfortable or even if you do not like the person you interview as a dog walker, DO NOT HIRE THEM.
You want to like your dog walker. This could potentially be the person who walks your dog for years. And you do not want a situation where you feel uncomfortable or anxious. The whole point is to have you stress less knowing your dog is not at home by itself, tearing up the house because you have been gone at work for eight hours.