Most dog owners will agree that Dog walking itself is one of the most enjoyable parts of owning a dog. Not only is it a great bonding experience with your pet, but it also provides you with light exercise that can really make a difference to your health, without you even noticing that you’re actually burning calories.
Extra work commitments can crop up at any time, and at times life can often be too hectic to offer your dog the sufficient care and exercise it needs. For this reason, some dog owners make the decision to hire a dog walker to take this task out of the day for you.
Finding a Dog Walker
Professional dog walking is quickly becoming a trendy new way to earn some extra cash, most notably in large urban areas. If you live in the city, it may well be very easy to find someone who dog walks are their full or part time job, and takes it seriously enough to offer a reliable service. The high numbers of pet owners in the city, means that these dog walkers can offer a more affordable price, as they have numerous clients that make the service financially viable and worth the time.
If you live in a town or smaller urban area outside of a city, you might have a tougher and more expensive time of finding a suitable service. Professional Dog walkers outside of cities will often operate with vans capable of holding dogs as they will have to travel to collect their customers pets and this can incur extra fees.
What can I expect to be charged?
The average dog walker charges by the hour, and most offer services similar to the theme of offering half an hour, and full hour walks. Some may even offer all day services, delivering your dog back to you just before or after you get home from work, like a day care service.
Prices can vary from on average $8-$15 in the US, and normally charge the minimum wage plus any extra travel fees in the UK.
For many, this can be too costly. Under this kind of pricing, an hours walk every day Monday-Friday five days a week can cost anything around an expense of $50 a week. This potentially could cost $200 a month in costs for enrichment for your dog.
If this seems like an unreasonable outgoing, and for most it will do, you can try asking a young neighbour or family member to provide this service for you. Most young adults will be interested in earning a little extra pocket money, particularly over the summer months and it shouldn’t be too hard to find someone to do the job for you.
You can easily arrange a suitable payment for the offer of their services significantly cheaper than a professional dog walker. Just make sure that the individual is responsible and reliable enough to handle your dog safely. For smaller breeds this shouldn’t be an issue, but be mindful that the handler is responsible for total control over the dog and it is your responsibility to make sure that they meet that criteria.
It’s perfectly reasonable to ask a professional dog walker questions about the service they offer and what’s required. A seasoned professional who takes the job seriously will be prepped ready for the usual questions they receive and should be happy to help. “Do you have insurance?” “Do you need access to the house?” “Where will you take the dog?” are just some of the many questions they will have experience with answering.
Before they start, it’s best to come up with an agreement of what they will do when they collect the dog. If your dog will be indoors when they come to walk the dog - professional or your neighbour – they might need access to your home in order to prepare the dog for the walk. If this is the case, provide them with suitable access in the form of a key, and make sure that the dog’s leash and collar are positioned within a 5 second glance of opening the door and entering making for the whole procedure as easy and unobtrusive as possible for both dog owner and dog walker.
Let them know if your dog has particular treats he likes or if the treats he has are the only ones that agree with his stomach. Put a small packet of these treats with his collar and leash so they can be taken with them.
There’s a good chance that your dog won’t take kindly to being taken by a stranger let alone have one suddenly enter their home. It’s advised that you introduce the dog to the dog walker before they are due to start. They should know already how to handle introducing themselves to dogs, but you can give them his favourite treats or toy to give to him. Usually, time will be the only way the dog walker and your pet will bond, and dog walking will be a great experience for them to do so and to get used to each other.