Finding the right kind of dog walker
It might be down to an unforeseen change in your circumstances or simply that you want to give your dog more exercise than they’re used to getting, but calling on the services of a dog walker, is probably the next logical step in maintaining your dog’s health and wellbeing.
Having someone pick up your pet and take him for a good walk, works for thousands of people and continues to grow in popularity but there are considerations worth making if you want to get the best of the services available to you and Fido.
Ideally you will want to find someone who understands your pets needs and has a caring nature, not someone who will throw your dog’s lead on and pull them around for an hour before hitting you with the bill, without considering what’s best for your pet.
When looking for the right person to do the leg work, start by asking people within your social circle if they know anyone who has a real passion and good reputation for dog walking. If that doesn’t work, try your vet practice or run a quick internet search if you draw a blank from word of mouth recommendations.
Once you’ve found someone, go for a stroll together and see how they interact with your dog. The relationship between the walker and your dog doesn’t have to be the stuff of romance novels but their behaviour towards your fury friend should be affectionate. Of course, they will be on their best behaviour and trying to create a good impression, but what they consider to be their best might be enough of an indicator for you to quickly rule them in or out.
Finding a walker that listens to what you have to say about your dog’s individual needs is essential. A hired hand needs to work at your dog’s pace, not pushing them too fast if they like a steady walk.
Getting the walker to take note of your dog’s likes and dislikes is worthwhile too. It’s no use telling someone about what foods, people or situations your dog enjoys or should avoid, if they’re not going to take heed of your advice. Finding a good listener is key.
You might have seen four, five or six dogs being walked at once by a professional walker. Despite dogs being social animals this is not the best of practices. Like humans, not everyone will get along with one another. Walking in packs can lead to dogs becoming uncomfortable and trying to pull away from each other, which is difficult when they’re both tethered and can remove any pleasure from a walk.
Once you’ve finished the match making process, check that your new walker is insured and knows what to do in the unlikely event of an emergency. It’s better safe than sorry.
28 April 2015
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