We all lead busy lives and sometimes our schedule makes it difficult to spend as much quality time with our pets as we would like to. For some of us, the idea of hiring a dog-walker holds a certain amount of appeal.
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While it can be good to have the peace of mind in knowing that your dog is receiving his daily exercise, there are several things we need to consider before hiring someone to do the task for us.
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How sure are you that your dog-walker is fulfilling the required duties? Are they spending the time they say they are?
How familiar is your dog-walker with dog behaviours?
What is their true motivation – is it a love of dogs, or simply a belief that it’s an easy way to earn money?
How many dogs is your dog-walker handling at one time, and is your dog getting the attention he deserves?
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We need to know that the person we are entrusting with our dog has its best interests at heart, so the process of hiring someone should be as thorough as for any other paid employee. Make sure you:
Interview them in a professional way. Don’t ask too many ‘yes’ or ‘no’ questions; make them open-ended, e.g., ‘Explain to me what you would do if my dog was attacked by another dog,’ or ‘How would you discourage a dog from barking at passers-by?’
Ask for at least two referees and check them out thoroughly.
Expect a police background check.
Draw up a contract stating expected duties, hours of work and pay-rate.
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If you have suspicions that your dog-walker is not fulfilling their role as expected, it’s OK to check up on them – you are entrusting them with your precious companion. Use a nanny-cam or ask a friend to cruise by.
Once you are confident that your dog-walker is genuine and that they are operating in the best interests of you and your dog, you can relax and concentrate on enjoying your pet in other ways.