With the best will in the world, it’s not always possible to find the time to give your dog the daily exercise it needs. That’s when you might look to arrange for your pet to go out on their walk with a professional dog walking service. The use of dog walkers is very popular and there will be lots to choose from in your local area – but how do you decide who to pick?
Can anyone be a dog walker?
At present, yes. There are no rules or regulations on setting up a dog-walking business. Whilst the vast majority of people who offer dog-walking services will work hard to deliver a professional service, the Scottish SPCA would like to see some form of licensing or regulations for dog walking providers to meet. Some local authorities may encourage certain licenses or insurance are in place, but it is not mandatory.
Even though these don’t exist, there’s plenty you can do to make sure you find a suitable walker to provide your dog with a stimulating stroll.
What can you do to find the right dog walker?
Before you start, make sure your dog is fine socialising with other canines when out for a walk. If your dog has been well-trained and well-socialised, they should have no problem.
Do plenty of research in to the dog walkers available in your local area. Nowadays, many dog walkers are active on social media or other sites where their customers can leave reviews. If other dog owners are happy with the service, that’s a good sign. They may also have information online on the types of courses and insurance they have in place. When your dog walker is walking your dog, they are legally responsible for it so you need to know they have the proper policies in place.
I’ve picked my dog walker – what now?
A responsible dog walker would likely want to visit your home to meet your dog and discuss walking arrangements with you. Don’t be afraid to ask lots of questions at this point. For example, you can ask about:
- The types of courses and training they’ve undertaken to show they understand dog behaviour and handling.
- The number of dogs they typically walk at one time, where they like to walk them and how long the walks normally last.
- The transport they use. You need peace of mind that your dog and multiple others will be transported safely. The vehicle they use will need cleaned regularly and be well ventilated. Ensure they are never leaving the dogs unattended in the vehicle – especially during hot weather
- Detail on the insurance they have and what this covers
- Whether they have completed canine-first aid training.
Make sure you discuss your dog’s specific needs, such as the types of treats they may or may not be able to get. You should also agree what equipment your dog will be walked using – some dog walkers may use their own leads but you should check you are comfortable with what they use before agreeing for your dog to be walked.