You’ve Hired A Dogwalker – Now What?

June 17th, 2009 by Dan

At some point in most of our lives, we all need some help caring for our dogs. For some individuals with long work hours or the need to travel frequently, a responsible dog walker is an invaluable surrogate guardian for your pooch when you can’t be there.

NYC Dogwalker

Photo by NYCArthur

In order to keep your dog strolling smoothly when you’re not there, I’ve come up with a list of 8 tips pertaining to working with a dog walker.

Keys and Alarms:
Make sure to check all keys before giving them to your walker – even if they are newly cut. The last thing you want is for your pet to be inaccessible when you are at work or out of town. If you have an alarm, run through how to disarm it with your sitter. Let them know the steps to take if they do accidentally trigger it to prevent the police from coming to your home (which usually charges you a false alarm fee.)

Contact Numbers:
Leave your walker a list of contact numbers for you and an additional emergency contact that can make decisions on your behalf for your pet if needed. Ideally your emergency contact will be local and will have access to your home as well.

You may have things you need your dog walker to know and leaving notes is a great way to do that, just don’t leave novellas out as the important information may be missed. Leave a pen and paper out in plain sight so your walker can leave you updates about your dog’s adventures as well.

Important Items:
Leaving leashes and treats by the door is a great idea, especially if this is the first time your dog is having a walker come into the home. The sight of the leash combined with a tasty treat will help him feel more comfortable with the situation, even if it is being held by a friendly stranger.

If it’s rainy or wet, leave a towel out by the door so your walker can dry your pet off easily. Also understand that in inclement weather that your sitter may not spend the entirety of their visit outside. If it is freezing cold or scorching hot, this is understandable and acceptable.

Wet Dog

Photo by Jo’s Fo’s–interrupted by real life

If you need to cancel your walking services, let your sitter know as soon as you possibly can. While each company or individual has their own policies pertaining to cancellations, it is considerate and maintains good will to respect your pet sitters busy schedule.

Behavioral Changes:
If your pet has experienced any recent personality changes (fears, aggression issues, hyperactivity, etc), make sure to notify your dog walker so they can take note and handle themselves accordingly. Dog walkers are in this line of business because they love animals and will generally work with you to help with your pet’s special needs.

If anyone is going to be staying in your home or if you have contractors of any type coming in, make sure you let your dog walker know. Walking in on a stranger can be frightening to both parties!

Scared Schnauzer

Photo by Muoo Muoo

If you’d like to find a dog walker, Pet Sitters International offers an online search to make the process a bit easier!

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