Because most modern dog owners can’t stay at home with their dogs all day every day, dog walkers and dog sitters are very common today, and many dog owners use the services of a walking or sitting service to help to care for their dogs.
If you go out to work all day, having a dog walker come in the middle of the day to take your dog out ensures that they won’t be left alone for too long at a time, and they can stretch their legs and do their business as well as having something to look forwards to in the middle of the day. For some dog owners, being able to hire a walker or sitter for work days is one of the core factors in their ability to own a dog and provide it with the appropriate care – and professional, experienced walkers and sitters can make a huge positive difference in your dog’s life.
It is important to choose your dog walker or sitter carefully, ensuring that you pick someone who is insured, experienced and capable of handling your dog and others too, as well as of course being trustworthy enough to rely upon to care for your dog properly, turn up when they say they will, and respect the security of your home.
Assuming that you choose the right sitter and take up references and otherwise do your due diligence, your sitter or walker and your dog should get on fine – and part of ensuring that this happens is making sure that you provide your dog walker or sitter with all of the important information that they need to care for your dog and make walks stress-free and successful.
However, it is also important that you don’t overload your dog walker with tonnes of unnecessary or obvious information – which will not necessarily be helpful or useful for your walker or your dog, and that can put pressure on your dog walker and make them forget things that are more important. Leaving pages of notes and insights for every walk might make you feel a little better about sending your dog off for a walk with someone else, but ultimately, your dog walker will know the pertinent questions to ask and things to find out from you and will ensure that they get any information that they need.
This will include things such as where your dog’s lead is kept, their temperament, if they have any health problems and so on – all of the normal, important things that a walker needs to know to provide for your dog’s needs.
However, there are a few important things that you should make a point of telling your new dog walker when you first make arrangements for your dog, if they are relevant to your dog’s care – and in this article, we will share five things you should always tell your dog walker before you leave your dog with them. Read on to learn more.
Unless you specifically request an individual walk and pay accordingly, most professional dog walkers will collect and walk their charges in groups, which should be comprised of the right combination of canine personalities and small enough to manage and control as a group.
If your dog is not used to socialising with others or becomes nervous, aggressive or hard to manage, you need to let your dog walker know this, so that they can choose the right accompanying dogs for the group and if necessary, take your dog out for a trial run before committing to regular care.
Some dogs that otherwise get on very well with others and are very well socialised might have had a bad experience with a certain dog that they will then go out of their way to avoid in the future, and if your dog has been frightened or hurt by another dog before, they may even avoid all dogs that look similar – which might mean a certain breed or even certain colour dogs.
Letting your walker know this will allow them to keep an eye out ahead for potential problems and be able to predict and react to your dog’s behaviour in the presence of other dogs – as well as alerting them to any other local dogs that may be a problem.
A dog that is untrained, poorly trained or that has acute behavioural problems requires retraining and potentially, the sort of help you can only get from a professional trainer or behaviourist, and so, will not be well suited to walking with other dogs.
If your dog is a challenge to manage when walking, your dog walker might not be able or willing to care for them – but many dogs that are otherwise well socialised and behaved may have a specific behavioural issue or phobia that can affect their behaviour on walks.
Tell your walker about this so that they have all of the information they need to keep your dog and others safe on walks – for instance, if your dog is apt to back into traffic or lunge if a large vehicle frightens them when crossing the road, or if they continually forage for scraps and rubbish.
Your dog must be able to follow basic commands and have basic training skills to be able to walk with others, but talking to your dog walker about how responsive your dog is and how and when they can safely run off the lead is important.
While not all dog walkers allow their dogs to run off the lead, some walkers will enable this for some dogs within safe enclosed areas, if they can be trusted with others and will return when called. If your dog doesn’t have good recall skills or won’t return after persistent calls, tell the dog walker about this to ensure that they keep them on a lead and in sight on walks.
Even if your dog walker and dog met at your house and got on really well, territorial dogs often behave very differently when the owner is not around – and most dog walkers have a tale to tell of turning up to collect a new client for the first time only to find that they cannot get through the door due to a defensive dog seeing them off!
If your dog is very territorial, you may need to work with their walker to get them fully used to each other and so that your dog accepts the walker letting themselves in and taking your dog out. Additionally, if your dog is very possessive over toys and resources, tell your walker this too, so that they know not to take toys out to the dog park with them.