Not every dog walker out there is the right fit for you and your pup. There are so many different personalities, methodologies, procedures, and policies. It can be a little overwhelming when you type “Toronto Dog Walker” into Google.
To make things a little easier for you, here are a few things to keep in mind when looking for a dog walker:
There are couple of ways that dog walkers operate. Some dog walkers have a vehicle, and some don’t. This will change the way their day runs. Do some research on different dog walkers before choosing one for you. Ask the dog walker how they do their walks; Do they walk around to clients houses and do a leash walk? Do they drive to pick up dogs and then go to an off-leash area? Do they do some kind of combination of the two? Do they do group walks, private walks, or both?
Organization is key. Almost literally. If we don’t organize the keys we have to clients’ homes, we could be in serious trouble. Ask a potential dog walker how they keep organized. Where do they keep keys? What measured do they take to stay on top of scheduling?
Some dog walkers have lots of time slots and service options for you and your pup. Some don’t! Before your meet and greet, decide what your needs are, and make them clear to the potential dog walker.
If you require different walks, at different times, on varying days and/or your schedule isn’t all that stable, make sure you check with your dog walker on their ability to fit your pup into their schedule at a moment’s notice. Also ask what their add-on and cancellation policy is.
While getting an experienced dog walker is a great thing, it isn’t always the end of the world if your pup goes to hang out with a new dog walker. The dog walking community is very supportive, and most dog walkers just getting into the business are ravenously researching new methods, equipment, and practices. However, go with an experience level that you are comfortable with. If your dog has any special needs, you may want to find a dog walker that has experience dealing with those needs.
Dog walking is a business practice when you get right down to it. So ask your potential dog walker about their policies. From bad weather, to emergencies, what is that dog walker prepared to follow through with, and how will they deal with abnormal situations?
Make sure your dog walker knows the law:
Any person walking more than 3 dogs needs to have a valid dog walker’s permit, and be registered through the city.
Dog walker’s insurance is required to get a dog walker’s permit.
The maximum number of dogs a dog walker can walk at one time is 6.
Ask a potential dog walker if they have their permit and insurance!
A dog walker that comes to a meet and greet prepared to answer any questions you have, that meets all of your criteria, and that makes you feel comfortable, is probably the right one for you.