Going for a walk is one of the most important events in every dog’s day. The walk fulfills their basic needs and provides them with physical exercise, mental stimulation, and an opportunity to discover what is going on in the neighborhood. If your busy work and life schedule doesn’t allow you to take your puppy out regularly, employing someone to step in for you is the right choice. Finding the right person for the job is essential because your beloved pet needs to be in good hands! To assist with the quest, we bring you the most important things to consider when hiring a new dog walker.
Firstly – why do dogs need walks?
The number of outings and the length of the walk depends on the dog’s breed, size, and age. It also has to do with whether the dog stays inside or has the opportunity to go out into the yard. Dogs that remain in the yard and do not go for walks eventually get bored. After a while, they will start looking for new hobbies, such as digging flowers, catching birds, barking by the fence, etc. Of course, you can enrich the yard with some dog content, such as sandboxes, tunnels, and scented facilities (setting some scents to search for), or even the company of another dog. But none of this is lasting fun and can’t replace a daily walk. Dogs that are regularly taken for walks will likely not want to defecate in the yard at all.
Some owners allow adult dogs to poop on a diaper/pad in the apartment or on the terrace. It can lead to problems, especially with males who start urinating in other places inside the home. Namely, dogs do not just need to relieve themselves (as we humans do); they need to communicate. It is natural for a dog to defecate where other dogs’ olfactory messages already exist, so preventing this behavior is disabling one of the dog’s basic needs, resulting in behavioral problems.
So, how many walks do dogs need?
On average, healthy adult dogs should go for a walk three times a day and be out for an hour in total. Of course, this may be too much for puppies that have not yet received all the vaccines, as well as sick and senior dogs. Likewise, dogs not yet habituated to being outside the home and city bustle should not be forced to be outside for long, but they still need their daily walks. If you, for example, live in New Jersey and want to leave NJ for NYC and move away to the big city with your pet, you will need to give them time to adjust and make the transition easier for them.
Dogs leave fragrant messages by urinating, pooping, and scratching their paws because they have olfactory glands between their toes. For dogs, smell communication is essential because smell messages are long-lasting. They stay even after the dog goes home and are available to everyone who passes by. It is almost impossible for us to imagine the complexity of the information they collect through the nose.
The walk is an opportunity for the dog to gather various fragrant information about everything in the neighborhood. From the aromatic traces of other dogs, it is possible to determine which dog went there, whether it is healthy or not, what it eats, etc. Dogs are all interested in this! They want to be informed as we humans follow social media or talk to other people.
In addition to curiosity itself, this is mental stimulation. It encourages them to think. The more information a dog gathers, the more preoccupied it will be with it, so it is less likely to look for “inappropriate” entertainment at home. And with all that info on the importance of daily walks, we come to the central part – choosing a new dog walker.
Tips for hiring a new dog walker
Hiring a dog walker offers many advantages. To begin with, hiring a new dog walker relieves a significant amount of stress from your already hectic schedule. If you and your pet live in a small studio space, being inside during your entire working day can be very stressful for the pet, too. So, once you decide you need help, it’s time to find the right person.
Know your requirements
The person who will care for your dog should be well-versed with different dog breeds, ages, sizes, etc. Even though being an animal lover is enough to get into this profession, it should not be your only requirement when hiring a new dog walker. They need to know dogs’ behaviors in different situations and how to notice and skillfully deal with any potential hazards. You will also need someone trustworthy and reliable.
Be aware of your dog’s behavior and needs
You are the person who knows your pet the best. You know how they breathe, what their quirks are. Some pups need to be on a leash because they will run off after any cat in sight. Many older dogs get tired quickly and have a slower tempo to their walk. By knowing your pet’s personality and needs, you can find the right person to fit those.
Decide on your budget
The cost of the walk will increase depending on whether you want a private or group walk and how long you want the session to be. Some walkers will also provide additional services for a charge, such as in-home playing or training. If you wish to have everyday services, many companies may offer discounts.
It’s important to do the necessary research and be clear on your budget at the start of your search. This way, you will know precisely what you can get for that amount of money and not waste any time.
Organize in-person interviews
Hiring someone for this position online or over the phone isn’t the best idea. Although you can do many things virtually, it’s essential to do the hiring system right when it comes to the person who will spend time with your pup. So, make sure to schedule the interview and keep in mind the questions we have presented below.
You will want to meet them in person, sit down and converse, and also let your dog get a whiff of them. After all, it is the one whose opinion matters the most. They will be spending a lot of time together! Observing how your dog reacts to the person when they first meet is a wonderful method to ensure you’ve chosen a good dog walker. Is your dog cheerful, or does he hide? You could even do a trial walk with the walker to see if they are a good match.
Leaving your precious little buddy in the care of someone else is a big deal! And, in addition, this person is most likely to have the keys and access to your home. Thus, it would be best to choose someone with a great reference sheet, someone you can trust. That’s why you should always check your potential hires – get the direct, inside scoop from their previous employers. If your new dog walker is a member of a professional dog-walking organization, that’s an extra layer of security for you and your pup.
Questions to ask a potential new dog walker
Once you meet with a potential new dog walker, you should see how you and your dog feel about them. That feeling is what’s going to make or break the deal. However, we have also prepared a list of useful questions to ask them and get all the necessary info.
- How long have you been walking dogs?
You will want to recruit someone who has worked before—the greater the number, the better. Hiring a newbie is usually not a great idea; you want someone with experience to care for your pet.
- How many dogs do you walk simultaneously?
You want the full attention on your pup. However, if your walker is walking another dog along with yours, make sure to acquire precise information regarding the transition points.
- Is it possible for me to verify your references?
If they’ve done an excellent job in the past, they should have nothing to hide! And, as we’ve mentioned, you’ll want someone with glowing reviews.
- Have you ever been in a position when you needed to act quickly?
If you’re employing a seasoned walker, there’s a good chance they have dealt with a few emergencies. Listen carefully – you can tell a lot based on their behavior. You will want someone who can calm your dog’s anxiety in any situation.
- Do you have insurance?
Insurance is required for dog walking businesses, but it is also advised for individuals.
- Do you have CPR and Pet First Aid certifications?
An experienced and professional dog walker should have these up their sleeve.
Both you and your pup deserve only the best. That’s why finding the right person when hiring a new dog walker could be a bit tricky. But fear not! With our tips and tricks, we are sure you will get there in no time. Good luck!
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