Tips on Hiring a Dog Walker

Here at Professional Dog Walkers Canada we highly suggest that you look for a walker or sitter that is Insured and Bonded. This insurance is not just general business insurance. It is geared towards the specifics of pet sitting and dog walking. It covers third party liability, care, custody and control of the pets in the walker/sitters care.

The insurance protects you and the walker.

If you are thinking of hiring a dog walker or sitter, we highly suggest that during the first interview you ask for a copy of the walker/sitters insurance policy BEFORE hiring them. They should bring a copy with them. You can ask them during the first phone conversation to make sure they bring the copy. Please be aware that the policy may not cover negligence of the walker, as no one can contract themselves out of negligence. If something happens and you believe the walker/sitter was negligent, you will need to pursue the matter via the courts.

You should always ask for references of current clients or other pet care professionals and make sure you call them.

Questions to ask:

  • How does your dog respond to the walker?
  • Is your dog tired at the end of the walk or when you get home?
  • Has your dog lost weight since being walked by the walker?
  • Have you noticed any changes in your dogs behaviour?
  • Has your dogs behaviour changed for the better? Better recall, less anxious?

Other questions to ask the walker would include:

  • How do they handle bad behaviour, like jumping up, aggressive play, poor recall or bullying?
  • Do they reinforce already learned commands to help with ongoing training?
  • Have they ever had a problem with an aggressive dog? If, so how did they handle it?
  • Have they ever lost a dog or had a dog run off on them?
  • What would they do if your pet got hurt?
  • Will you call me if you can’t make a walk, or will you have a replacement?
  • If a replacement will be sent, will I know this person?

One other suggestion is to ask if you can come on a walk with them? If they balk at the idea, call another walker. They should be more than happy to have you tag along to see how much fun your dog will have.

The walker should provide clear written contract that covers things like:

  • The time they will walk the dog.
  • Where they will be walking the dog.
  • How many dogs will be included in the group, or if it is private.
  • How long the walk will be and the cost.
  • How they will bill you.

They should have a Vet Release Form, to get your vet information, should there be an emergency. They should tell you exactly how they handle emergencies.

They should also ask you many questions about your dog, such as:

  • How good is your dog’s recall.
  • Are there any aggressive tendencies.
  • Is he/she possessive of toys, food etc.
  • Has your dog ever bitten anyone or any other dog?

Last, go with your gut instinct. If you don’t like the walker, move on and call another.  You should get a good feeling about leaving your dog in this persons care and your dog should enjoy their company.

For more information about obtaining forms, contracts and releases please inquire within.