- Posted by Gilleen Witkowski
- On November 13, 2017
- 0 Comments
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You’ve got your weekday life at the office and you’re looking for a dog walker to keep your pup busy in between naps. You start your search for a dog walker and realize there are hundreds – how to choose the right one? Here are some questions you should be asking:
1. Where do you go with my dog? Will they ever be off-leash?
Some companies pick up your dog from your home, leash them up, then go for a walk around the neighbourhood. You want to know exactly when, if ever, your dog will be off-leash, and where.
Some companies pick up your dog in a car or van, then bring them to an off-leash dog park for a romp. You want to ask what the car set-up looks like, and make sure your dog walker is bringing them to an official, verified off-leash park – not some random parking lot area (yes, it happens).
2. Will my dog walk with other dogs?
If your dog is sociable with others, you may book a group walk that they will share with other dogs. Check how many, and also check your dog walker’s vetting process for group dogs. If your dog walker exercises caution and recommends against a group setting for your dog, listen to them.
3. What’s your dog training philosophy? How do you treat the dogs?
We are not necessarily trainers, but dog walkers have usually learned about various training philosophies and how to interact with dogs under our care. For instance, here at Walk My Dog Toronto – and many other companies in our city – we believe strongly in the positive reinforcement approach. This means we reward dogs with treats or pets when they do things we want like walk calmly (as opposed to pulling or running), and we ignore their behaviour/move on with our lives when they don’t. Our job is to keep your dog safe and have fun.
4. Do you have professional references?
This can be a client reference or review, but importantly, a good dog-walking company will usually also have references from other dog walkers out there who can vouch for a company’s reputation and safety policies. Ask to see those policies and emergency plans.
5. What certifications do you and your staff have?
Dog-walking is an officially unregulated industry – anyone can call themselves a dog walker or run a dog-walking company as they see fit. So, it’s up to us to self-regulate and set best practices. Look for a company who has at least taken Pet First Aid. There are other certifications such as the dog*tec program, run by animal care professionals across North America.
Also ask about staff – are they employees or contractors? How are they trained? Has the company done a criminal record check and are they insured and bonded?
6. How can I hear the details about my dog’s walk?
Some companies will leave written notes in your home about your dog’s walk; some will text; some use an app to fully track walks and send an email report. Ask your dog-walking company about how they will communicate with you about your dog’s schedule and walks.
Walk My Dog Toronto offers dog walking services and in-home pet care services in downtown Toronto. With easy online booking, we walk your dog while you are busy or at work. We give your dog love, socialization, and exercise, and we keep in touch with you every step of the way with our walk tracker.