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How To Choose The Right Walker For Your Dog

There are so many reasons why someone may need or want to use a professional dog walking service, but with so many how do you choose the one who will suit you best? It's important to ensure your precious pet is in safe hands. It is essential that a dog walker has third-party liability insurance as a minimum, is ideally DBS checked, and capable and prepared for any first aid care during the walks. Vehicles used should be safe and regularly cleaned and disinfected. By law dogs have to be suitably restrained when in a vehicle. This can include being in a crate, or secured using a suitably sized harness.


It's important to know how your dog will be cared for while under the care of their walker:


How does the walker handle and train the dogs?


Ideally the walker should be up to date on the latest evidence-based training and handling methods, and be able to understand dog body language. It is vital to know for your dog's safety and wellbeing how your dog will be handled. Differing training methods could confuse your dog. Does the walker talk about dogs being dominant or alpha dogs? This might indicate a slightly out-of-date approach to handling.

Any walking equipment should be used safely: long lines should be used only on a harness and not on head halters or collars, especially if a dog is going to be running around. Check if the walker use your own equipment on your dog or provide their own leads and collars, if they provide their own then check that the equipment fits with how you want your dog to be handled.

How will the walker react if your dog barks or pulls on the lead?

What happens on the walks?

If on a group walk, are balls or sticks thrown for the dogs? Some dogs can guard high value toys such as balls from one another and high speed stick injuries could occur. How will the walker prevent this from happening? Will the walker let dogs off lead in the vicinity of livestock? Dogs should be under close control when around livestock and some may behave differently when with a group of other dogs.


Control

Dogs have to be under control when out in public, will the walker be able to control your dog when off the lead? How will the walker test the recall of the dog before going out into the big wide world and letting them off? Dogs can act differently when being recalled by someone new vs their owner, and they should be able to recall away from other people and dogs.


Hot weather conditions Will the walker walk dogs if there is a heatwave in the middle of the day? Dogs can get heatstroke when walking in hot weather, especially if they are playing and having fun in the sun. If the walker won't walk them when it is too hot to be safe then find out what alternative services they can provide if your dog still needs their day to be broken up.


A good dog walker would be happy to answer any questions you have before you start to use their services. Remember to be an advocate for your dog, and their best interests and welfare.

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