\\\ Dog Walking Services
\\\ September 2021
Hiring A Dog Walker
Does Your Dog Look Forward To Seeing The Dog Walker At Lunchtime?
What Makes A Good Dog Walker?
Would you be happy with an uninsured dog walker strolling out with your dog at lunchtime, along with eight other dogs? Unfortunately it happens.
With more of us returning to work places after the recent pandemic, dog walkers and sitting services are back in greater demand than ever, many of the better firms already fully booked with a waiting list.
Dog walking has seen a huge increase in small businesses offering convenient walking services for busy pet owners but sadly remains unregulated. With nearly one in three UK owners relying on dog walking services, three animal charities have drawn up guidelines to ensure safe animal welfare is of the highest priority, where walkers need not go under any professional checks to start-up a business.
Don’t get us wrong, there are some brilliant, caring, trustworthy, highly trained dog walkers and dog walking businesses, but there are some important questions to ask before hiring your walker to avoid any pitfalls.
Another important point is to check the small print in your pet insurance concerning dog walkers, where some firms require you to inform them that you are hiring dog walkers (and sitters). Some insurance firms will provide a dedicated list of approved associations and businesses for you to choose from, that have insured and recommended walkers and sitters on their books.
Check these important tips before you hire your walker
15 Important questions to ask a dog walker before hiring
1. Check if your dog walking community rate your preferred choice of dog walking services, costs involved and read feedbacks left about the business.
2. Ask the dog walker to visit and explain their services. Who owns the business. Ask about times of dog walks, likewise your preferred times for your dog walking and services that you expect.
3. Check how many different dog walkers there are and whether one person tries to keep consistency with the dog.
4. Check how long the walks are and how many other dogs would be walking.
5. Have a look at their transport, inside fitments, if your dog is going to be using this.
6 Ask to see legal paperwork such as Business Professional Indemnity, Public Liability cover including Care, Custody and Control Liability insurance, DBS checks, and Personal Accident cover
7. Explain if your dog has any special needs and likewise ask if they can be accommodated.
8. Ask to accompany the walker on a walk to see how the other dogs are being handled.
9. Ask what they do if the weather changes during the walk.
10. Check what they do when returning dogs from walking in the home, providing fresh water for the rest of the day if there is no water fountain, any treats that may be required to be given, and ensuring the dog is towelled down and dry if muddy and wet after the walk.
11. Ask for evidence of how they secure your keys to your home whilst in their possession.
12. Ask if they are Animal First Aid trained and provide sight of their professional completion of course.
13. Check what procedures are in place in case your dog becomes ill whilst in their care.
14. Check if they offer an weekend services, stop-over services and emergency evening services.
15. Do they offer emergency overnight stays or weekend says for your dog should the need arise, even care for your dog in your home when on holiday?
A 16-page comprehensive guide has been produced by The Dogs Trust, Pet Industry Federation, RSPCA and Tailster, and is available online from the RSPCA, ‘Professional Dog Walkers’ providing an essential reading.
The guide covers areas such as the walker’s understanding of your dog’s needs, the transportation they use, exercising and group walking, returning home, lone walking and emergencies. The leaflet highlights the training of dog walkers, complying with legislation and termination of dog walking contracts.
Dog walkers, particularly in cities and large towns, may be subject to special restrictions using local parks under the PSPO laws and guidelines and may have to pay a fee for the use of payable to the local council.
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