Choosing the right walker for your dog is an important decision. When a pet parent invites an individual or service into their home while they are working for the day, they are placing the safety and well being of their fur baby in someone else’s hands – that’s a big deal! At RCO Pet Care, we understand the love and concern pet owners have for their fur babies. Check out the following seven questions you should ask before hiring a dog walker in Connecticut.
Do they have experience with your dog’s breed?
Dogs come in all shapes and sizes… literally. Each breed or type of dog has its own personality, quirks and physical abilities to keep in mind when they are cared for. Put it this way – the way you would walk a long-legged, built for endurance greyhound should be very different than a walk for a brachiocephalic pug.
Ask the dog walker what their experience is with this type of dog. Even if they have no experience with this particular breed, or suspected mix, do they have experience with similar sized dogs? Do they have experience with dogs with similar temperaments or physical needs?
While your dog walker doesn’t need to be an expert on Labrador Retrievers to take your dog for a safe, long walk, we feel it’s important that they have experience with similar minded and sized breeds and safety considerations such as leash reactivity.
What is their availability like? Do they have backup?
Your job probably doesn’t care whether your dog walker is reliable or not… but you do and I’d bet your dog does!
Be sure to discuss your expectations regarding frequency, time of day and length of the walk. Are there certain days they aren’t available? Are they willing to take as long of a walk as you’d like? Do they see their schedule changing in the near future?
What will the dog walker do if they have an emergency? Do they have a team of pet care providers they can call on? Do they network with another dog walker in Connecticut? Will your dog be left without the chance to relieve yourself unless you can get out of work? A good back up plan is a must.
What would they do if your dog got loose?
With dog walking comes a lot of responsibility. Once a dog is removed from its home or yard there are many factors outside of the handlers’ control. Cars, other dogs, squirrels, bicyclists, thunder and more can prove to be a challenge.
Should your dog get loose, what would the dog walker’s course of action be? Pay attention to the way they answer this question. They should think quick on their feet and have an outline of the steps they would take to recover the pup immediately. If they can’t catch the dog right away, how will they conduct a search? At what point do they contact you?
Are they insured?
We feel choosing a dog walker in Connecticut with proof of insurance is the most important factor in choosing who to hire. Just as when choosing a pet sitter, hiring an individual with proper liability insurance will protect your home and your pet in the case of an emergency or accident.
Let’s break it down. Without the proper insurance, you could be left on the hook if your dog walker accidentally leaves a faucet running at the end of the walk, flooding your kitchen and ruining your floor. If they accidentally break the key off in your front door guess who’d be paying to get your locks replaced? Yes, you!
More importantly, hiring a dog walker without proper insurance can you leave you responsible for medical bills. If your dog was injured on a walk a properly insured pet care provider could cover your vet bills. If your dog bit somebody under their watch, a professional dog walker’s insurance could save you a lot of money, time and headache.
How does your dog react to them?
A good dog walker will provide you with a complimentary consultation, often called a Meet and Greet. At this meeting you will be able to introduce your dog to their new potential walker
Observe how your dog reacts to this stranger. Does he seem excited? Is his tail wagging loosely or are his ears back? How does the dog walker interact with your pup? Do they seem nervous or intimidated? Do they seem happy to be there?
You know your dog better than anyone. Observing his interactions with your potential dog walker will tell you whether the match might work.
Do they have references or reviews?
Getting opinions from other pet parents is a great way to get an overview of the quality of the dog walker you are looking to hire.
Is the dog walker willing to provide a links to their web presence for you to review? This may include a Facebook page, Yelp listing, Google listing and a website. Having a solid positive presence on the web can be indicative of a professional dog walker.
No web presence? Ask your potential dog walker for references of other pet parents they have worked with. If they are good at what they do they will likely have an arsenal of happy clients ready to rave about them!
What does your gut say?
Your dog means the world to you. Trust your gut on this one.
Did the meet and greet leave you feeling happy and relieved? The right dog walker will click with you and your dog and you will feel it in your gut.
The wrong dog walker will leave you doubting your choices and trying to figure out how you can get out of work every day to walk him yourself. Pay attention to your emotions each time you interact with the walker leading up to hiring. They will tell you a lot!
Hiring a Dog Walker in Connecticut Should Be Fun!
Starting a relationship with a good dog walker will leave you feeling like you have hit the jackpot. You’ve finally found someone reliable to care for your dog when you can’t be there. You have found someone that will love them like you do. What else could be better?
With available dog walkers in Connecticut ranging from the kid next door to a professional dog walking company, you can be sure to identify the high-quality professionals by asking the questions discussed today.
To learn how RCO Pet Care Care can help you with your dog walking and pet sitting needs, check out our services, contact us or call us at (203) 641-2428. If you’re outside of our service area we’re happy to help you find a reputable, professional pet care provider. We’ve got your tail!