The recent pandemic has forced people to work and study remotely, and pets and their owners have had the luxury of spending more together than ever before.
As you and your dog adjust to the fact that reality is returning to “normal”, though, it may start to set in that you’ll have a lot more time apart — or in your dog’s case, not just apart but probably completely alone.
Luckily, there are ways to help your dog combat this newfound loneliness and stay healthy — and at the top of the list is hiring someone trustworthy to walk your dog for you when you can’t.
That being said, not every dog walker is equal! By knowing where to look, what to ask and how to maintain the match, though, finding a dog walker that will have a positive impact on both you and your dog’s lives can be a walk in the park.
Why Finding A Dog Walker Is Worth The Time
Finding cute dog toys to distract your dog while they’re home alone is a great tactic to keep your dog entertained and happy while you’re gone — but every dog needs daily walks and socialization to stay happy and healthy.
If your schedule doesn’t allow you to walk your dog as much as you’d like, if you have a newborn puppy or newly adopted dog or if your fur baby is super high-energy or high-maintenance, you may feel guilty about this and your dog may feel abandoned, upset, fearful and even experience health-related consequences.
How To Find Dog Walkers
Before you begin seeking out a dog walker it’s important to consider what exactly you’re looking for. Knowing your specific scheduling and care needs will help direct you to the perfect provider.
When it comes to finding reliable pet care, though, your closest friends and family are a great place to start asking for recommendations. This is a network that consists of reliable and trustworthy people who genuinely have you and your dog’s best interests in mind.
From here, veterinary offices, groomers and other pet service providers are goldmines when it comes to finding information and opinions as they generally accept and display the business cards of local dog walkers, know them on some sort of level and also have your dog’s best interest in mind.
Freelance pet services also exist and are easily found online, but this is an option you’ll want to be wary of and consider carefully as many of these people have no previous training, but instead a very simple platform to make themselves look professional.
What To Ask Your Dog Walker
- Do they have training? A trained and professional dog walker learns proper handling techniques, as well as how to identify and analyze subtle behavioral cues and concerns. Along with this, a well-trained pet care provider will hold a current first aid certificate, and likely have (or be willing to have) a canine first aid kit accessible when walking dogs.
- Do they have experience? Quickly and accurately identifying exhaustion and heatstroke in dogs, having confidence in the ability to break up a fight or knowing how to react to unknown and sudden issues are skills that come with experience — and it’s crucial to know that your potential dog walker has them.
- Do they walk more than one dog at a time? Group walks can be stressful for some dogs and challenging for others. If group walks are the standard, it’s important that you and your dog walker are on the same page in terms of introduction, training and correction methods.
- What are their cancellation policies? Life happens, and knowing how your dog walker deals with cancellations and last-minute bookings will make things a lot easier when it does.
- Do they have someone who can cover for them? Just as important as knowing the cancellation policy that applies to you is knowing the policy that your dog walker has implemented for him or herself. It’s not essential, but knowing that your dog walker is reliable beyond even their own efforts and has someone to cover for them in case of emergency is extremely valuable.
Making Sure Your Dog Is As Comfortable With Their Walker As You Are
Dogs know who they do and don’t like. This is normally for a good reason, and it’s important to trust them. That being said, no matter how amazing your new dog walker may be, separation anxiety and other adjustment issues may affect your pet.
In the first couple weeks of their new routine, it’s important to look for signs in your dog that may indicate distress such as pacing or circling when they notice you getting ready to leave, incessant licking or biting at their body and fur and having “accidents” around the house even though they’ve already been successfully house-trained.
Your dog may be exceptionally friendly and blinded by the excitement of a new face before they can make a proper judgment call, so even if their behavior changes months into the game — don’t ignore it!
Treating The Best Dog Walker Like, Well, The Best
Your dog has likely accepted you not giving them your full attention every day as you work, but the time has come to return to our brick-and-mortar work buildings, and your fur baby is in for some even greater adjustments that they may not accept quite as willingly.
Luckily, as we’ve learned, there are ways to help your dog with the transition, and dog walkers to help you with yours.
Once you’ve undergone the process and found yourself a good dog walker, it’s important to treat them right.
Thank your dog walker often, respect their schedule as much as possible, give them good reviews on every platform you can. Wish them well and try to give them time off (or more time, if you know they want all the money they can get) when holidays roll around and celebrate their passion with a simple and thoughtful gift like a corgi mask to keep them safe and stylish out there or a pair of mittens to keep their leash gripping hands as comfortable and functional as their service keeps you.
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