Trust. You can't hire a dog walker without it. After all, you're putting your pup in their care as well as allowing access to your home. That's a lot of responsibility to put in a stranger's hands. That's why the interview process is so crucial. These ten questions can help you narrow it down to the most qualified walker, so you can rest assured your pup and your home are safe.
Are you bonded and insured? Ensure your dog and property are protected. What's the difference between bonding and insurance? Bonding protects you against theft. Liability insurance protects against negligence and accidents.
Will the same person walk my dog every day? Consistency is good for your dog — and your own peace of mind. You can meet this individual to assess their specific credentials and compatibility.
What's the interview process for sitters? Learn what traits, experience, and training they require. Do they also run background checks on each employee? If your regular dog walker is sick or on vacation, you'll know that the replacement walker passed the same rigorous standards.
What training/experience do you have? Even if your dog doesn't have a medical or behavioral problem, emergency situations, like a charging off-leash dog, can occur. An experienced dog walker with knowledge in dog behavior can be the difference between life and death for your pup.
Have you handled my dog's specific issue before? If your dog has any special needs, ask the candidates to speak about their experience dealing with the issue. If they don’t have direct experience, ask them how they would handle a theoretical scenario.
How many dogs do you walk at a time? It's common for walkers to take more than one dog out at a time, and that can help keep the costs down for you. But the more dogs, the less attention given to your dog. This can be an issue for dogs with special needs or behavioral issues. Also, find out the requirements to join the group. Are the dogs vaccinated, spayed/neutered, and socialized?
How Will I Know You Have Walked My Dog For The Agreed Time? Nowadays there is an app for everything, even dog walking. There is nothing wrong about wanting proof your dog was walked for the agreed upon time. If the dog walker is unwilling to be "tracked" or held accountable then move on.
Will you pick up the #2 on walks and who provides the poop bags?
Not only it is courteous to pick up after dogs while on a walk it's the law. Your dog walker should provide their own poop bags and ask you where you want them to deposit the #2's after the walk.
How do you handle behavioral issues that arise? Even a well-trained dog isn't perfect. Understanding your walker’s training philosophy can help maintain consistency for your dog. Ask for specific examples of situations that the candidates have encountered to get a better sense of their ability to handle an emergency.
Can we go on a test walk? Most walkers will still charge you for the time, but this gives you the opportunity to see them in action before signing a contract. Pay attention to your dog's body language during the walk. Does he or she seem relaxed and comfortable? In the end, your dog’s "interview" process may be the most important of all.