By: | | Dogs, Dog Walking

Choosing the right dog walker for your pup can be a daunting task. You’ll be giving this person access to your home and trusting them to love and care for your furry friend while you’re away. You need someone who is trustworthy, experienced, and reliable. Here are some things to consider and questions to ask to help you find a pawsome dog walker:

1. Does the dog walker return phone calls and emails in a timely manner?

Why it’s important: You want to be able to get a prompt response when you want to schedule walks, make changes or cancellations, or have questions for your dog walker.

Ready Pet Go Practice: For calls, generally answer the phone right away, unless we’re out on walks. For voicemail and emails that come in during normal business hours, we generally reply within a couple of hours. For those that come in after hours, we return them the next day.

2. Is the dog walker bonded and insured, and can they provide proof of coverage?

Why it’s important: Bonding and insurance protects both you and the dog walker in the event of negligence and or intentional wrongdoing. Be sure to ask to see a copy of their insurance card or certificate of coverage.

Ready Pet Go Practice: We are fully bonded and insured through Pet Care Insurance. And we’re happy to show a copy of our certificate of coverage to clients at the Meet & Greet.

3. Does the dog walker have positive reviews and testimonials from their clients?

Why it’s important: Reading reviews from others who have used the dog walker’s service can give you a good idea of the quality of service they provide and whether the dog walker will be a good fit for you and your dog.

Ready Pet Go Practice: You can read our reviews and testimonials from our many happy clients on our testimonials page and on Yelp.

4. What days and hours is the dog walker available?

Why it’s important: You need to be sure your dog walker’s availability matches all the times you could possibly need your dogs walked.

Ready Pet Go Practice: We are available for dogs walks 365 days a year from 7 am to 9 pm.

5. How much notice does the dog walker need in order for you to schedule your request for dog walking?

Why it’s important: Some dog walkers require a minimum number of days notice for schedule requests or charge an additional amount for short-notice requests.

Ready Pet Go Practice: We schedule dog walking visits on a first come, first serve basis. We do our best to accommodate last minute requests (and are usually able to) and do not charge any additional fees for short notice.

6. Does the dog walker meet with you and your dogs in advance?

Why it’s important: You will be trusting your dog walker to care for your dogs and giving them a key to your home. Both you and your dogs need to feel comfortable with your dog walker.

Ready Pet Go Practice: We have a Meet & Greet with every new client. We want to get to know you and your pets and want you to feel comfortable with us. There is no charge for this meeting regardless of whether you book service with us or not.

7. How much experience does the dog walker have caring for dogs?

Why it’s important: For the well-being and safety dogs, the dog walker should be familiar with dog behavior and body language, as well as dog first aid.

Ready Pet Go Practice: Our dog walkers have plenty of personal and professional experience caring for dogs. Ashley, the owner, has been a professional pet sitter and dog walker for over 10 years and has 6 years experience as a veterinary assistant. All our dog walkers are also certified in pet first aid.

8. Does the dog walker have a contract or service agreement?

Why it’s important: A well-written service agreement is a mark of professionalism and clarifies the dog walker’s policies and procedures, as well as your rights and responsibilities as a client.

Ready Pet Go Practice: We have a service agreement that all clients must agree to before starting service with us. You can view our service agreement in its entirety here.

9. How long will the dog walker be walking your dog?

Why it’s important: Different dog walkers offer different walk lengths. Some have a number of different walk lengths for you to choose from, and others offer just one standard length (typically 30 minutes). You want to be sure your dog will receive sufficient exercise.

Ready Pet Go Practice: Our standard offerings are 15, 30, 45, and 60-minute walks, but we’re also happy to do longer walks or something in between to suit your dog’s needs.

10. Will the dog walker be walking your dog with other client’s dogs?

Why it’s important: Group walks can be a great experience for some dogs, but others may be better off walked alone or with other dogs from their own household.

Ready Pet Go’s Practice: We do private walks only, either walking dogs individually or with other dogs from the same family. We feel this is best for the healthy and safety of the dogs in our care.

11. What types of collars or harnesses and leashes does the dog walker use to walk dogs?

Why it’s important: Some dog walkers will use whatever you currently have to walk your dog, others bring their own equipment or expect you to provide a certain type of collar, harness, or leash. Some dog walkers walk dogs off-leash as well, which is a safety concern. You want to be sure that what your dog walker is using is safe and works well for your dog. Avoid dog walkers who use aversive equipment such as choke, prong, or shock collars.

Ready Pet Go Practice: We ask that clients a comfortable, well-fitted, secure collar or harness for their dogs. We will not walk dogs using aversive equipment, such as choke chains, prong collars, or certain types of “no-pull” harnesses that come across a dog’s shoulders or legs and prevent them from having full range of movement. For dogs that are prone to pulling on leash, we ask that clients to provide a well-fitted, non-restrictive harness for them to prevent injury to their neck.

12. What is the dog walker’s inclement weather policy?

Why it’s important: The weather may necessitate your dog to shorten your dog’s walk or could prevent the dog walker from coming to walk your dogs at all. You need to know what to expect.

Ready Pet Go Practice: When inclement weather (heavy rain or wind, thunderstorms, severe heat or cold, etc.) would make a walk unpleasant or even dangerous for our client’s dogs, we take them for short potty breaks and then get them their exercise and activity playing indoors. If snow or weather is severe enough to make it unsafe to drive to client homes, we will cancel walks for the day.

13. What will the dog walker do if your dog needs emergency medical care?

Why it’s important: Your dog walker should know basic dog first aid and be prepared to take your dog to a veterinarian for a medical emergency.

Ready Pet Go Practice: We ask all clients to provide their veterinarian’s information for our records, as well as a veterinary release authorizing us to obtain emergency care for their dogs. Our dog walkers are certified in pet first aid and familiar with many of the local veterinarians and emergency animal hospitals.

14. Does the dog walker provide training in loose-leash walking or other good manners for the dogs that they walk?

Why it’s important: If your dog is already well-trained, you want your dog walker to be consistent in the cues and training your dog already knows. If your dog’s not trained, your dog walker could work on these behaviors while they’re on their walk for both your and your dog’s benefit.

Ready Pet Go Practice: We work on loose-leash walking and basic good manners with all the dogs we walk. We use only positive methods and make it a fun and beneficial activity for the dogs.

15. Will the dog walker provide daily updates letting you know how your dog is doing and what your dog did on their walk?

Why it’s important: Your dog can’t tell you what they did on their walk, and it’s good to know if they pooped and peed, and if anything new or interesting happened.

Ready Pet Go Practice: After each walk, we send clients an update by email or through our mobile app, with photos and message letting them know how their dog’s walk went.

If you have more questions about dog walking or would like to get started with Ready Pet Go, please contact us or give us a call at 240-221-5335.