When it’s time to leave your beloved dog in the hands of a stranger, it’s important to be able to trust the dog walker you are handing the leash over to.
There’s a lot of options for those looking for a regular dog walker and all you have to do is pick up your phone and download an app.
Apps can be convenient, but how do you know the person you’re entrusting your pooch to is qualified to walk your dog?
The personal touch is easily lost in apps and website arrangements, and while there are plenty of good walkers on them, you can have peace of mind when you’ve met your dog walker and checked the following items off your trustworthy dog walker checklist:
1. How Long Has The Dog Walker Been In Business?
Longevity says a lot when it comes to doing good business. If you’re willing to take a chance on someone new to the pet care industry, you can probably find some pretty low prices.
But when it comes to experience, testimonials, and amazing customer service, someone who has been in the business for more than 5 years is going to be sure you get your money’s worth.
Truthfully, someone who has made a career out of caring for other peoples’ pets has a lot more to lose from bad publicity.
So you know they will do their best to make sure you’re completely satisfied with the services they provide to you and your dog.
If the dog walker you are considering has been in business for any decent length of time, you know they probably love what they do. There’s nothing more valuable than passion, and again, longevity can often translate into this.
2. How Easy Is It To Get In Touch?
When you start vetting your new dog walker or sitter, you’ll need to know how to get in touch during the time your dog spends with them.
Ask yourself these questions:
- Does the potential caretaker seem willing to make themselves available?
- Do they offer multiple ways of getting in touch?
- Will they reach out to you throughout the day with updates?
The security of knowing you can reach out at any time is priceless.
3. Are They Close to Home?
Establishing a trusting relationship with the person spending their days with your pup is important when trust is concerned.
And it helps if your dog sitter lives locally, and is a part of the same community as you.
Good news travels fast in communities, and so does bad news, so if your dog walker is fostering relationships with neighbors, or they are active in the community, you can be sure they take their business and reputation seriously.
Not only is community presence important, but it’s also handy if your dog sitter is right down the road. If you’re out of town, you can easily ask a neighbor to go check on your pup if needed.
Also, if you’re running behind for an appointment, having your doggy daycare nearby takes the stress out of running all over town to drop your beloved pup off.
Plus, frequenting a local small business in your community benefits everyone involved. Supporting small businesses is a great way to help the economy and your community.
4. Does the Dog Walker Ask You Questions?
It’s always a good sign if a dog walker asks questions about your dog’s needs. They should want to know about any behavior concerns, food allergies, or other medical concerns.
If the sitter doesn’t seem to care about your dog on a personal level, then it’s time to keep looking.
5. Do They Have an Emergency Plan?
If your potential dog walker has intake forms that ask about your preferred veterinary information, and secondary contact information, you know they’re prepared for anything!
A trustworthy dog walker should ask you what your preferences are if your dog becomes ill or injured. Having this information demonstrates that the walker wants to be prepared to act fast should an emergency arise.
6. How do They Treat Their Employees?
According to an article featured on the customer, experience consultation firm Beyond Philosophy, “happy employees make happy customers.”
Work schedules are always to be flexible and we prefer to offer full-time employment at 32 hours a week. We also offer part-time hours and seasonal work.
So, if the dog walkers you’re considering have fantastic employee benefits and incentives (like ours), you know your dog is on a walk with a happy camper.
7. Is There Evidence of Continuing Education?
The pet industry is booming and forever changing. What’s good for our four-legged family members may evolve and change over time. That’s why it’s important for professionals in the industry to commit to life-long learning.
At Errol & Tia, we know that every team members’ knowledge of our four-legged family pets is crucial to our success and our future together.
We require our teammates to become certified in Pet CPR and First Aid so if an emergency does arise, we are ready to handle it with up-to-date knowledge.
Staying up-to-date on training best practices, veterinary news, and product reviews are not only fun and interesting for a trustworthy dog walker, but it’s also essential to remain a professional in this competitive industry.
8. Do Employees Have Up-to-Date Background Checks?
Always ask potential caretakers if everyone who will come in contact with your dog has had a background check conducted.
Better safe than sorry.
9. Does the Dog Walker Have References?
Never overlook this part of your research. If your potential dog walker has glowing references, then they’re probably an excellent choice.
When you ask for references, the dog walker should happily hand over a list of past customers for you to reach out to. If they balk at the request it may just mean they are fairly new or they aren’t proud of their reviews.
Most references aren’t afraid to tell you if there was something sketchy about the dog walker and will speak up right away. If there’s anything iffy that pops up during reference checks then move on to the next walker on your list.
10. Professional Experience
There’s a difference between being a dog person and being a professional dog caretaker. The person you’re entrusting your furbaby to may or may not have a background in dog care. If they do, it’s certainly a plus
Those with experience will understand a dog’s behavior, and how to professionally (and safely) handle unwanted behavior.
They should be able to adapt to any kind of dog—big or small, perky or shy, loud or quiet. They should have an arsenal of tips and tricks to address obedience issues.
And they should be willing to help you build upon your own skills if you ask them for help.
11. Do they Mesh with Your Training Styles?
Speaking of obedience training, always ask questions about their beliefs about training methods. There are many schools of thought about the right and wrong ways to train, handle, or correct a dog’s behavior.
It’s important to know that your dog sitter or walker will be a continuation of how you’d behave with your dog.
Meet and greets are excellent opportunities for you to observe the caretaker interacting with your dog. And if they offer a meet and greet, don’t skip the chance to see your pooch and the dog walker in action.
12. Does the Dog Walker Offer Meet & Greets?
Personality and passion are extremely important in the dog walking and sitting industry. These are two things that you can only determine through direct observation.
Most professional dog walkers will offer the chance to meet you and your dog before the first time they are left alone together. So take them up on this if you can!
Your Dog Knows Best
While all the things on this list are important, there’s nothing more important than the way your dog and the new walker interact. Your dog will tell you, in their own way, if they aren’t a good fit.
When all is said and done, the best thing you can do is establish a relationship with your new dog walker. Your pup will be spending a lot of time with them, so it’s important to get to know them and ensure that they are the perfect fit for you and your best friend.
Ready to hire a trustworthy dog walker in the Cary, NC area? We’ll check every item off your list.
We’re a family-owned business with 19 years of experience in the dog sitting and walking industry. We’ve worked with large groups of dogs, the Seeing Eye organization, and the Burlington County Animal Shelter.
Let’s schedule a Meet & Greet!