The dog walking business has exploded in the past few years. This is partly because dogs have become the new members of the family and are no longer required to “hold it” till you come home. Instead, dog owners are willing to spend more to make sure their best friend is taken care of when they’re away. A second reason is the rise of the “gig” service economy. Companies like Uber, Task Rabbit and Thumbtack have given rise to a new marketplace where people can supplement their income by bidding for small jobs like dog walking. But before you hire the waiter down the street to walk your dog, let’s discuss the types of qualifications your dog walker should have and the questions you should be asking them.
A few things to consider before contacting dog walkers in your neighborhood:
1. Is your dog going to enjoy a large group walk with several dogs, or does he or she require personal time and attention?
2. If you choose a group walk, can the dog walker match your dog up with other dogs with similar personalities or size?
3. Assess your scheduling needs and make sure you can give your dog walker an honest assessment of when you might need the services. Are you interested in regular daily or weekly appointments? Do you require a walker that is willing make adjustments to fit your weekly schedules?
4. What type of experience, credentials and services are most important to you? If you are interested in a dog walker who is going to be entering your home and picking up or dropping off your dog, then a bonded, insured and very reputable dog walker is a must.
5. If your dog needs extra exercise or has specific needs like training or socialization, can the dog walker help provide the outlets to burn off the extra energy and do they have the tools in their toolbox to deal with socialization issues?
I always come up with one “special” question that is particular to my dog and ask the dog walker how they would handle the situation. For instance, “my dog does x — how would you deal with it, prevent it or how would you change the behavior?” How the dog walker answers this question gives me valuable insight into the dog walker’s experience and personality.
Lastly, what is the medical emergency action plan? Make sure the dog walker has a well thought out plan in case there is a medical issue concerning your dog. With the PetYen’s “ask anything” search engine, it is easy to personalize your dog walker request to meet your needs quickly and efficiently.