Have questions prepared in advance Before you conduct an interview, make sure you have everything you’re going to ask written down and prepared beforehand. Ask as many questions as you need to feel comfortable. Don’t be afraid to bombard the business owner or walker with requests for information regarding the nature of their service, their philosophy, their practices, their policy and their history. A good dog walking service will also ask you questions about exactly what you want, your likes and dislikes — and most of all, your dog. Make sure they ask you about your dogs nature and about health issues which may be relevant. If they take notes, that’s a good thing! A good dog walking service will keep information about your dog on file, including medical history, favorite treats, command words, things to watch out for, vets information etc. If they don’t seem interested in any of this information then it’s probably a good idea to choose another service. Be sure to get everything out in the open regarding prices and fees. Make certain you’re both on the same page regarding rates and frequency of payment, about any hidden or supplementary fees (many dog walking services have a surcharge for early morning, evening and weekend walks), about their range of availability (do they cover evenings or weekends?) and about their policy regarding cancellations (most services request that you give 24 hours notice to avoid being charged). The last thing you want is to spoil a good relationship with a reliable dog walking service due to a misunderstanding later which should have been cleared up at the beginning. For more information, visit their website at dog walking
Insist on seeing the walker on a trial walk It’s very important that your dog walker both meets the dog beforehand — and seeing them “in action” with your dog will give you great peace of mind. Not all dog walkers are the same! Some people have a natural affinity with animals and you will see this upon observing dog walker and dog together. Dogs usually have great judgment when it comes to humans and if the walker loves dogs, you’ll see it in the way your dog reacts to them. Seeing them walking together on the street is important and you should check to see that they have adequate control skills and that they hold the leash securely. If the walker grips the leash halfheartedly with three fingers and allows your dog to run around in circles, give them a miss! The safety and well being of your dog comes first and foremost. It’s also a good idea to see how they handle situations with other dogs in the street — a good walker will ask the other owner whether their dog is friendly, and allow your dog to approach cautiously should they wish to sniff each other. Additionally, make sure they pick up after your dog and don’t allow them to spray inappropriate things like cars, doors — and especially lampposts which may carry live current!