You are getting a dog! Yeah! Congratulations!
You have weighed up the pros and cons, you have researched thoroughly into getting a pup or a rescue and taken advice from an experienced Dog Professional, like a Dog Trainer or a Breeder, or several breeders if your unsure of which breed.
You have planned everything, worked out who will be home when, what food you are going to feed them, who is going to feed them, how much and how often, who, in the family, is going to walk them, where are they going to sleep and what vet you are going to use….
What about when you’re not home?
Ideally, a dog needs to be walked every day and if you are going to be out or working, you will need to get someone in to walk them for you every day. What if you are either are unable to walk them through illness or you have to go out for a family emergency? You will need to find someone to walk them for you.
Do you research that person as much as you would, say a child carer? Or do you just look for the cheapest option? Or someone with arms and legs?!!
What really matters? That you save maybe up to £25 per week or that your dog gets walked and cared for by an experienced dog person? One that knows what signs to look out for when a dog is poorly or one that knows how to break up a fight effectively?
As long as there is no official regulation, it is crucial that you do your own homework. Any one can set up as a Dog Walker or Dog Trainer. It is down to you to make sure that you do all the necessary research.
In the first instance you could ask around, ask friends or family who use dog walkers, put a post out on Facebook. Search around on Facebook for local walkers.
When you find someone, ask them to come to your house to meet you and your dog.
Watch how they interact with your dog, do they go full on stroking them on the head and making a big fuss, or do they allow your dog to come to them in their own time? Does your dog seem to like them?
Ask them lots of questions:
• What is their experience with dogs?
• Their favourite breed?
• Do they have dogs? (This might seem a stupid questions but some people set up as dog walkers and trainers and have never owned or been around dogs, believe it or not…..)
• Have they ever done any training with their dog?
• Have they completed a first aid course?
• Ever had to administer 1st Aid?
• Ever had to break up a fight?
• How would they prevent a fight from happening in the first place?
• What signs would they look out for to see if your dog is not well?
• Are they insured?
• Do they have a website?
• Do they have Facebook?
• Do they post pictures on social media?
• Many other questions………
If they cannot answer questions like the above then maybe you should move onto the next person.
This person will be looking after your family member, your baby (in fur) You need to make sure that when you go to work/out for the day, that you don’t spend all the time worrying about your dog.