What should I be asking a potential new dog walker?

(41 Posts)
MsAdorabelleDearheartVonLipwig Fri 15-Nov-19 11:50:00

I’m looking for someone to be able to come in and walk the dog on the odd day that I can’t do it. There’s a very good lady locally but she doesn’t come quite as far as my village but she has recommended a new lady who is just starting up.

The new lady has emailed me, she seems very keen so I’ve emailed back to arrange a date to meet and that I’d like to see evidence of insurance, experience of dogs in obedience and behaviour. What else should I be looking for?

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Curlysurprise Fri 15-Nov-19 14:03:11

My dog walker had her criminal background check ( not sure of the acronym) as she holds keys / alarm codes etc.
I would want to know whether she is transporting the dog in a car or van and how - in a crate , harness whatever. Which routes and walks she favours , and very importantly how many dogs she takes out at one time. Your local council may limit the number of dogs at one time - here its advisory.

Winterdaysarehere Fri 15-Nov-19 14:05:12

Can she meet your ddog before you commit ?? Ddog should get a say /woof imo...

Curlysurprise Fri 15-Nov-19 14:51:49

Totally agree with Winterdays. I would plan a trial walk with her so they could get to know one another, & like most of us dog owners ‘ if my dog doesn’t like you, clearly you are the weird one ‘

adaline Fri 15-Nov-19 15:52:23

After we had a poor experience with a local walker, here are the questions I would be asking:

- how many dogs she walks at once
- how are the dogs transported
- does the walk time include transport time or not
- are the dogs walked on/off lead
- what vet does she use/could she get to your vet if there was a problem or your dog got injured or hurt?
- how does she deal with dogs who don't get on
- would she be able to wash your dog off if he/she got muddy
- what is her policy in terms of illness/cancellation

I'm sure there are others but I can't think of them right now! I hate seeing dog walkers with huge numbers of dogs they can't control. I met a man the other week with 7/8 dogs - some on lead, some off. Mine was on-lead. The off-lead ones approached him and weren't under his control at all, and he couldn't try and grab them back as he had too many on-lead dogs to worry about. I'd hate to know what he'd do if the worst happened and one did a runner or injured another dog or got in a fight.

ItsAllGoingToBeFine Fri 15-Nov-19 15:56:12

Are all the dogs walked at once or are half left in the van while the other half is walked?

Booboostwo Fri 15-Nov-19 15:57:55

How many dogs she walks at a time, where does she walk them, is she happy to have them off lead (if you are that is) and get an idea of her views on dog training, i.e. I would not be happy with anyone who practiced dominance, etc. and would be very happy with someone who used clicker training and positive reinforcement.


nevernotstruggling Fri 15-Nov-19 16:00:09

Do they have loads of puppies that might annoy your dog. My dog walker quit due to this

Alittleprivacyplease Fri 15-Nov-19 16:05:28

If she walks multiple dogs I'd want to know if she asks for proof of vaccinations, Including kennel cough. I personally wouldn't use a walker who bundles lots of dogs into a van, many find it very stressful and it's a breeding ground for disease having so many dogs in close confinement.

MsAdorabelleDearheartVonLipwig Fri 15-Nov-19 16:24:32

Oh yes we would definitely be having a couple of walks together beforehand.

She’s just got back to me. She doesn’t have any qualifications at all, she’s now starting out as a career change. I know they have to start somewhere, should I give her a chance?

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MsAdorabelleDearheartVonLipwig Fri 15-Nov-19 16:27:35

Oh and I’m making a note of all these points, thanks.

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MitchellMummy Fri 15-Nov-19 16:32:37

As above ... plus - does she have first aid knowledge? How about you go on a regular walk with her (rather than just you) to see how things work out in real life rather than hypothetically?

TheHodgeoftheHedge Fri 15-Nov-19 16:33:55

Does she have very thorough insurance including 3rd party cover.

BiteyShark Fri 15-Nov-19 16:34:38

My daycare person had just started out when we used her for BiteyDog.

BiteyDog loves adores her and that counts for a bloody lot. All good questions to ask as others have pointed out but some things will matter to you more than others and it's important to listen to your gut feeling as well as how your dog interacts/likes them.

MsAdorabelleDearheartVonLipwig Fri 15-Nov-19 16:38:12

@MitchellMummy well obviously I’ll be going on a walk with her with the dog.

Lots of valid points here. She says the other dog walker will give her a reference. I’d hope that she’s been through a lot of this with her!

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adaline Fri 15-Nov-19 16:45:30

If she's just started out, what experience does she have with groups of dogs?

How would she handle potential disputes, for example? What would she do if two dogs didn't get on?

TwattingDog Fri 15-Nov-19 16:54:10

I wouldn't expect qualifications, but I would expect insurance, animal handling experience and a trial walk.

Do they have their own dog who will be going with them
How will they transport the dogs.
How many max per walk
Do they upload photos to Facebook etc (it's also evidence of the walk!)
How they store your house key
How they deal with a muddy dog (often a Mud Daddy)

The best one we meet interviewed us as much as we did her! She just a sheet of specific info she required (dog details, known behaviour, command words, our vets, our pet insurance, our emergency contacts, food issues and a pile of other things). We did a trial walk with her and her dog. I loved how she spoke to Missy, and she got her to recall immediately. We agreed she could walk off lead.

She gave us a sheet with her insurance details, how she stored keys, cancellation policy and emergency contacts.

MsAdorabelleDearheartVonLipwig Fri 15-Nov-19 17:16:31

Ok, so far I’ve got

How many dogs at once?
Proof of vaccinations if more than one dog?
How are dogs transported?
Left in vehicle?
Which vets?
Dealing with badly behaved dogs
Policy re cancellation/illness
Dog first aid
Cleaning dog
House key

Anything else?

I probably sound clueless. I’ve never had to ask a stranger to walk my dog other than the kennels he goes to and I’m slightly terrified of the prospect!

OP’s posts: |
Curlysurprise Fri 15-Nov-19 18:12:16

You are on the right track. Hope it goes well.
Dog is lucky to have a thoughtful owner .😁

mrsjoyfulprizeforraffiawork Fri 15-Nov-19 18:54:29

Definitely you and dog meet first - if you get bad vibes, don't go ahead with it (and also see what your dog thinks when meets her and how she acts with him/her). I had one bad dogwalker but needed someone in less than 2 days' time so went ahead. Dog was not happy and it all foundered after 3 weeks as dog was "expelled" (no fault of her own). We then got a wonderful woman, whom I liked a lot from first meeting and dog was happy thereafter.
Insist she does NOT let your dog off the lead (think how bad you'd feel if he got run over on her watch because he was off the lead).
If she does transport dogs in a van and leaves the van unattended at any time at all (even just 5 mins), your dog could be stolen - several dogwalker vans in London were targeted a year or two ago and some of the dogs have never been recovered.

MsAdorabelleDearheartVonLipwig Fri 15-Nov-19 19:34:00

Oh god I know, I saw that. Terrifying.

I live rurally and walk down very quiet back lanes and across fields. I’m hoping she’ll come here and just walk him across the fields for me. His recall is rock solid so I’ll have to see how he is with her.

Feeling much more positive about it all now though, thanks.

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MsAdorabelleDearheartVonLipwig Fri 15-Nov-19 21:49:01

Ok so she’s come back to me and basically has no experience of dogs whatsoever other than being involved with the family pet and walking out with the other dog walker lady sometimes. Apparently she was a dental nurse.

One other thing that concerns me is that her policy says the client is fully responsible for any loss or damage caused by the dog whilst in her care and also any third party claims or vets fees. Is this not what her insurance is for? Or is that standard?

She has no training in dog first aid, behaviour or obedience but she is hoping to do something online.

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Booboostwo Fri 15-Nov-19 21:54:16

I’d give her a miss if I were you unless you really can’t find anyone else. I’d expect a dog walker to be experienced with dogs, e.g. have owned and trained a couple, to have volunteered at the local dog training club, to have been around different types of dogs and seen them interact, etc.

MsAdorabelleDearheartVonLipwig Fri 15-Nov-19 22:09:16

Yeah that’s kind of what I’m thinking. I thought perhaps she’d been a dog trainer, or at least heavily involved with dogs. Seems a random career choice to me to be honest.

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TheHodgeoftheHedge Fri 15-Nov-19 22:13:25

Being blunt, there’s no fucking way I’d let her my dogs. That is not a professional set up.

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