We all know that in our ideal world, we wouldn’t have to go to work and would be able to spend every second of our day with our dogs, but in reality, someone has to go out to earn the cash to pay for all those chewy treats! It’s not an easy decision to hire someone to spend time with your canine friend and to walk them when you’re not able to. You wouldn’t leave your children with the first babysitter you asked, and your pets are just as important.
There are many routes you can take to find a dog walker or pet sitter – Google will throw up many options or ask at your local Vet’s surgery or dog groomers. Some dog carers advertise in the local press, too and the chances are that the pet store will also have a list of people to contact. Whether you’re off on holiday or go each day to work, we have some hints for finding the “perfect” person to care for your dog.
It’s an advantage to hiring a dog carer who is fairly flexible and available sometimes at short notice, especially if your work schedule changes or you have important appointments planned.
Our dogs don’t always behave as we expect them to, but a professional dog walker must be very patient and calm at all times so that your dog doesn’t react to any anxieties or stressful moments.
The person who you hire to look after your pets should handle them with affection and never use any force like pulling on your dog’s lead or any form of physical punishment. They should recognise and respond to any of your pet’s needs.
Look for a dog carer who has a background in handling many dogs of different breeds and sizes and who can provide training certificates and references to prove their level of experience. This is especially important if your dog requires special treatment or has a medical condition.
As you are likely to be handing not over not only your beloved pet to this walker, but also your house keys, trust plays a very important role. References from previous clients will help you to choose, as will your gut feeling when you first meet your new dog walker.
It’s likely that you have rules for your pet in place at home, and it’s important that your dog sitter understands this and doesn’t allow your dog to lie on your bed or sleep on your sofa if you don’t allow this. The person you recruit must be consistent and firm, even if your dog thinks otherwise.
You are engaging your dog carer to make your everyday life easier without causing headaches while you’re at work, leaving you wondering if they will turn up to walk your dog. Setting clear arrangements with your pet sitter regarding schedules and rules and what the protocol is if they are running late.
Any professional dog walker or pet sitter will have up to date insurance certification, with documents they can show you, to protect not only you and your pet should something unexpected occur, but also safeguard themselves too. They should also be happy to provide you with a contract to define their rates, rules and services covered.
Just as you wouldn’t employ a child-minder without meeting them first and letting your child interact with them, it’s the same with your dog. A meet and greet visit with your pet, and their prospective carer is essential when you can watch how your pet reacts to this new person and also how they interact and handle your dog or cat. Of course, each dog walker has their own personality and character, but it’s up to you to decide to hire them – or not. Good luck with finding your ideal dog walker.