Professional dog walkers and sitters are not just hired to walk a person’s dog or let them out for potty breaks. Dog walkers are mainly hired to give owners peace of mind that their precious pups are being taken care of, and that their homes are safe. Most professionals are great, they do their jobs well and provide exceptional care. Most of the walkers and sitters I’ve met are incredible, but what happens when you are faced with someone not so great? Why spend your hard earned money and not get what you paid for?
People put a lot of trust in dog walkers. We are trusted with people’s homes, their belongings, and their pets while they are away at work or gone on vacation. So how can pet owners ensure that that trust isn’t broken? How can they check in on their dog walker to make sure they are getting their moneys worth?
Here are some tips and tricks that you can do to make sure you aren’t getting swindled by your dog walker:
Have a Journal:
Each of my clients has me maintain a journal that recounts my walks. The bathroom cycle, where we went, who we met, whether Spot chased a squirrel, it all goes in there. Not only does that give me an account of the dog’s energy and health, but it gives the pet’s owner a view into our day. Owners can use this to track whether their dog has been out, and how it went. Keep close watch of repetitive stories or how those “long walks” match up with your dogs energy. This is also a good way to make sure your walker shows up at all.
Track your Dog’s Energy:
Does that journal tell a great story of puppies and park time, yet Fido is still feisty and crazy energetic when you get home? Something may not line up. Your dog may have a brief moment of excitement when you come home, but if they are itching to play and going bonkers then you walker may have to either take longer walks, or worse, maybe they need to show up. Dogs naturally like their rest (who doesn’t) and any decent exercise should at least buy you time to eat dinner.
Hide the Collar and Leash:
Not really ‘hide’ them, but maybe change the routine a bit and leave it on the coffee table instead of the kitchen counter. Wind the leash in a ball, leave the leash and collar apart, hang one but not the other. Do something that would be impossible to replicate so that when your walker returns from the walk you can tell if they had come or not. Sneaky, yes, but it would be an awesome indicator if your dog is getting his exercise.
Ask for Pictures:
Easy. Ask for your walker to text you a picture of your dog out on their walk. Smart phones are so common these days you would be hard pressed to find someone who wouldn’t oblige. I offer to highlight all my clients on this website, and I maintain an Instagram account that I add pictures to at least once every week. Sitting clients are especially fun, going through the usual daily routine can lead to some silly and memorable pictures. Why would you want to miss those moments? If you ask for some pictures, you don’t have to! You get to see all those great moments and be on top of what happens to your pup at the same time.
These are just four easy tips to keep track of your dog walker. I would hope that if an issue came up my clients would have enough respect to discuss it with me. Don’t be afraid to speak up if you feel like there is an issue, as the pet owner you are in charge (you do pay the bill after all). Ask questions about the walkers experiences and really pay attention to your pooch and hopefully you can avoid any unpleasantries.
Pet owners put a lot of trust in their pet sitters. I am honored to have clients that feel safe enough to have me enter their homes while they are away, and I know that it is very easy to have that trust broken. I think that a huge part of my job is to ensure that I don’t break that trust. Following these easy and simple tips, you can make sure that you and your pets have the same enjoyable experience!