What to consider when choosing a dog walker

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What to consider when choosing a dog walker

Almost two-thirds of Australian households have a pet, with a significant portion of those owning a dog. While the exact figures aren’t out yet, there are lots of people who decided to get a dog during COVID-19 and now have to head back into the office. So, because life gets busy sometimes and we spend long hours at work, it can be hard to keep your pet active. The solution? Hire a dog walker!

Before you hand off your leash to just anybody, there are some important considerations—such as the dog walker’s experience, how many dogs they walk at once, and how they handle reactivity. Read on for everything you need to know!

What’s the benefit of getting a dog walker?

Aside from heading away for holidays, one of the main reasons why Australians use dog walkers is because our work lives mean we’re too busy to get outside with our pets every day. Dogs need lots of mental and physical stimulation to stay healthy, so if you’re unable to take your pal for daily walks, then a dog walker is the ideal substitute.

Ready to find your best friend a walking buddy? Here are four things to do:

1. Choose what type of dog walker you want

This doesn’t just mean how often they walk your dog, or whether you leave them a key to your house. It’s also about the type of environment your dog is in while you’re away from home—which is extremely important if you have a dog that isn’t overly social or doesn’t have the recall to be off-leash.

First, do you want a walker who always keeps the dog on-leash (e.g. if your pet has poor recall), or are you comfortable allowing them to be off-leash in dog parks? There’s also a choice to be made with how many dogs the walker manages. You can choose for your dog to be the only pet the walker takes at any one time, but this will be more expensive. Alternatively, group dog walking is generally cheaper but you need to make sure your pet is friendly and won’t react aggressively to other dogs.

2. Ask lots of questions – and answer theirs honestly

Hiring a dog walker is essentially a job interview—but it’s even more important because you’re putting the safety of your furry friend in their hands. Make sure you ask lots of questions, including how long they’ve been dog-walking, whether they’re familiar with your breed of dog, their availability, and how confident they are handling your dog’s temperament.

It’s also critical that you answer any questions they might have honestly. If your dog is reactive, tell them. For example, if your dog isn’t very social or doesn’t like small dogs, tell them! And if your dog doesn’t come back to you when you call their name, this is something the dog walker absolutely needs to know—so they don’t let your furry pal off the leash!

3. Check their references

If it’s a local dog walker, ask around your neighbourhood to see what people have to say about their services. Alternatively, if you’re using a dog walking site like Mad Paws or Pawshake, you’ll have all the vital information at your fingertips. In addition to honest reviews from previous clients, you’ll know what each dog walker’s rate is, their availability, what type of services they offer, and how close they are to your home. Just make sure you check whether they have insurance for their business in case your pet gets hurt or runs away while in their care.

4. Make sure they are the right fit with a trial period

Maybe you’ll find the perfect fit right away, but maybe your dog won’t respond well to your first choice of dog walker. Avoid the awkwardness of hiring someone for regular walks and then having to let them go after the first day by giving them a trial period. You may even want to tag along for their first session if you have any big concerns.

If it’s a good match, then sign them up and rest easy knowing your best furry friend is in good hands!

Get help when you need it!

You want your pet to be happy, healthy, and mentally stimulated throughout the day. If you can’t do that because of work or other commitments, at least you can get a dog walker to help out!

While you’re in the market for a dog walker, you may want to make sure your pet insurance is up to date, to assist with any vet bills, as dogs can get into accidents while out and about and injure themselves. If you don’t already have it, now could be the time to look into pet insurance to protect your pet in case of illness or a specified accidental injury. Choosi can help you compare a range of policies from trusted Australian brands right now.

Posted: 21 Dec 2020

This is general information only and does not take into account your personal objectives, financial situation or needs. You should consider the relevant PDS available on this website prior to purchasing any product. Choosi offers insurance products from a range of brands but does not compare all products available in the market.

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