Now that the sole focus of my business is working on animal behavior cases, and I’m no longer providing dog walking services, I’d like to tell you why I believe it’s important for you to hire dog walkers from local, independently-owned businesses that only hire and employ dog walking professionals.
With the ability to make quick transactions online or through various apps, it's easy to get instant access to on-demand TV, food, and transportation, but should hiring a dog walker be reduced to one of these transactions? My answer is a definite no.
Here’s why I believe it’s unwise to reduce the care of your dog into a quick and easy transaction:
1. Professional, independently-owned dog walking companies can be held accountable. Most walkers/companies (any one worth hiring) have their own liability insurance. If something happens, there’s no forced mediation or requirement that you sign a non-disclosure agreement, like the ones currently in use by most corporations.
2. Not everyone can be a dog walker. It takes experience and skills to safely walk a dog. Professional dog walkers know how to handle a leash, know the proper type of leash and/or harness and fit for your dog, knows what behaviors to look out for and listen to, and pays attention to surroundings at all times. This means no cell phones while walking dogs.
3. In case of emergency, does your walker-on-demand know how to perform pet first-aid and/or how to perform CPR? Do they have the ability to safely transport your dog? Do they have the appropriate first-aid gear, car restraints, and emergency vet information within reach? Are they authorized to seek treatment from your vet?
4. How well do you know your on-demand walker? How have they been trained? What’s their real-life experience with different breeds of dogs? What’s their temperament like? Do you know how they handle tough or tricky situations? They may be a life-long lover of animals, but do they have the skills to effectively and safely handle your dog?
5. How well does your on-demand walker know your dog? Professional dog walkers build relationships with both the dog and the humans, giving them the ability to recognize when the dog isn’t feeling well, or if something’s off. A pro knows the dog’s health history, triggers and what to watch out for, the dog’s normal exit and re-entry process into the house, the dog’s preferred walking route and what to watch out for on the walk.
Accidents can happen to anyone at any time, professional or part time, but when it comes to the safety and well-being of my dog (and home), I leave it to the pros.