People today are busier than ever, juggling full-time work, family commitments, and a host of other responsibilities. In some families, houses are all but bare the majority of the working week, only becoming a hub of activity on weekends. This unprecedented new modern lifestyle causes a dilemma for many people, who wonder how to balance their various competing commitments with an entirely separate set of responsibilities, that of being a dog owner.
It’s common knowledge that dogs need to be walked. Their overall well-being is reliant on the social, physical, and mental benefits associated with a daily walk of an appropriate length. But if your house is going to be empty much of the time during the week, does that mean you can’t also have a dog as part of your family? Being a pet owner is one of the greatest joys in life, and can be a significant and memorable experience that children take into their own adult lives.
It is this modern dilemma that has seen an explosion in the dog walking industry, with more and more individuals, small businesses, and even large companies taking up the challenge of walking busy people’s pets at those times that they’re not able to be there themselves.
Hiring a dog walker is an obvious win-win solution for everyone concerned. However, dog walking is currently an unregulated industry, and care must be taken when choosing the right person to take responsibility for your dog while you’re not there. Read on to find out more about the benefits of hiring a dog walker, and easy steps to take to help you choose the perfect person for you – and your dog.
The Benefits Of A Dog Walker
The benefits of hiring a dog walker are two-fold: firstly, you have the benefit of ensuring that your dog has access to regular exercise, and secondly, there are the benefits of outsourcing this time-consuming task to the right person.
Maintain Your Responsibility To Your Dog, Even When You’re Busy
There are times in everyone’s life when there simply are not enough hours in the day to get everything done. During those times it is often pets that bear the brunt of a family’s busy schedule, sometimes missing out on their usual walks and other family time. Hiring a dog walker is a simple way of ensuring that your dog doesn’t get overlooked during your family’s particularly busy times.
A Better Relationship With Your Dog
A dog who has missed out on their regular exercise is much more likely to show signs of boredom, destruction, restlessness, and frustration. This means that you will probably be greeted with the worst version of your dog when you return home after your busy day, and may even have a mess to clean up if your dog has taken out their frustrations by destroying a cushion or your unopened mail.
In contrast, a well-exercised dog will show signs of happiness and contentment, having been physically worn out and mentally stimulated while you were away. When your life is frantically busy, you’ll have limited time to spend with your dog. Hiring a dog walker will ensure that the time you do get to spend together is a calm, peaceful, happy time that will strengthen the bond you share.
Physical Fitness for Your Dog
It almost goes without saying that dogs require regular exercise to maintain a healthy level of physical fitness. Just as we need to move our bodies to stay in good shape and improve our physical fitness, dogs have the same requirements. In the wild, dogs are moving and hunting for much of the day, while it’s much easier for a domestic dog to lead a sedentary lifestyle – and to suffer health problems as a consequence of a lack of appropriate exercise.
Socialization is a key benefit of regular dog walks, both with other dogs and with humans. Dogs are historically packed animals and rely on positive social interactions with other dogs to maintain their sense of self and their mental health. Plus, what dog doesn’t love a nice pat from a friendly human?
The Importance Of Choosing The Right Dog Walker
The importance of choosing the right dog walker cannot be understated. Caring for an animal is an enormous responsibility, and you need to have utmost faith in your dog walker that they have the skills to properly look after your dog and to deal with any emergencies or unexpected events that may occur. While it may be more convenient – and perhaps cheaper – to hire your 12-year-old neighbour to swing by after school and take your dog for a walk, you need to ask yourself whether you completely trust this person to be responsible and reliable enough to put your dog’s life in their hands.
Being an excellent dog walker involves so much more than being available, loving dogs, and living close by. Professional dog walkers have a particular set of skills and knowledge, and these will become apparent to you once you know the right questions to ask before hiring anyone to be your dog walker.
Find The Perfect Dog Walker By Asking These 4 Questions
When you’re interviewing potential dog walkers, find out everything you need to know about their skills and qualifications by asking the following questions, and by bearing in mind these four tips for finding the right dog walker.
How much do you know about dogs?
This is an excellent question to ask at the outset of any dog walker interview. While all dog walkers will profess to love dogs, some may become stumped when asked how much they actually know about dogs. Are they familiar with different training methods and theories? Do they understand how to read a dog’s body language and facial expressions? Do they understand the pack mentality of dogs and how to prevent potential conflicts? If the extent of their knowledge is that they own a dog themselves or had one growing up, that’s a clear sign that you need to look elsewhere.
What kind of transport do you use?
We’ve all heard horror stories of dogs who have died after being left in hot cars. A potential dog walker should be able to reassure you that they use dog-friendly transportation at all times, including a well-ventilated and air-conditioned dog compartment, with appropriate harnesses or other restraints to suit the size and breed of your dog.
What training methods and dog control equipment do you use?
What will your dog walker do if your dog ignores a command? Do they have an easy grasp of positive reinforcement-based training methods, or will they resort to hitting, yelling, or choke collars? The right dog walker will easily be able to demonstrate a calm control over your dog without relying on punishment-based training methods.
Do you do all the dog walking yourself?
Just when you’ve found the perfect dog walker, you may be shocked to discover that they are simply the business owner and outsource much of the actual dog walking to others. Make sure the dog walker you interview can provide an assurance that they will be the only one taking care of your dog while you’re away. An easy way to ensure this happens is to tell the dog walker that you would like to give them a brief phone call every now and then during the regularly-scheduled dog walk to make sure everything is going well. A professional dog walker won’t mind a slight inconvenience to ensure your peace of mind. If they balk at the suggestion, that’s a good indication that they may have been planning on outsourcing the task.
After a long day of work and family responsibilities, imagine your relief when your dog greets you in a calm and happy way. That’s what you have to look forward to when you hire a dog walker to properly exercise your dog and provide them with all the mental stimulation, socialization, and physical exertion they need to live a happy, healthy life.
By following the above tips and asking the right set of questions, you’ll have no trouble finding the perfect person to take on the responsibility of walking your pet for you on those days when you’re just too busy to do it yourself. Hiring the right dog walker is a win-win situation for everyone – most of all for your beloved pooch.
About The Author:
James Woller is a long-time dog enthusiast, and owner of Release the Hounds and Jet Pet Resort, professional dog walking and boarding companies in Vancouver, Canada. On his days off from running his companies, he enjoys learning and writing about topics that are of interest to caring pet owners.