Monday, 13 October 2014

Getting the Most from your Dog Walker

Here are some helpful tips for getting the most from your dog-walking service:

First and foremost, your dog walker is there for your dog to have fun, get some exercise, and be safe :)  Here are some friendly tips for ensuring the process goes smoothly.  Feel free to comment with tips of your own!
  • Please ensure your dog has ID tags with an up-to-date name and phone number, as well as rabies vaccine tag and city license tags.  Owners are responsible for any fines if the dog is found without a city license.  
  • Please ensure the dog has a properly-fitting collar.  The collar should not be able to slip on and off over the dogs head as this means it is loose enough for the dog to back out of it.  The collar should be tightened so that you can comfortably slide 2 or 3 fingers underneath it.  
  • Please provide a regular, 6-foot nylon leash, or let us know if you do not have one and we will supply one of our own.  While retractable leashes are tempting as they give the dog more room to roam and explore, they are dangerous and make it very difficult to control the dog should your dog-walker encounter an unexpected situation, such as an off-leash dog or a cyclist trying to pass on a narrow path.  Similarly, if the leash is too short, this prevents the dog from sniffing and getting the most enjoyment out of his walk.  
  • Be up-front and honest about your dog's health and behaviour.  Dog-walkers often walk many dogs in a day, so it is very important you let them know if your dog has anything that could be contagious.  You may need to cancel that day's walk, or your dog-walker may need to bring a change of clothes so as not to spread any illness to other dogs.  Your dog's health and safety are the first priority.
  • Don't be afraid to tell your dog-walker if your dog is reactive or has a challenging behaviour you are working with.  Knowledge will help your dog-walker be well prepared and keep everyone safe.  
  • If your dog pulls on leash, please provide a properly-fitted head-collar or anti-pull harness.  Your dog-walker wants your dog to enjoy his walk, not to be choking himself trying to pull his way down the street.  Ask for help if you are unsure as to what is the best tool for your dog or if you need help fitting the collar.  
  • If you have any questions or concerns at all, please ask!  Your dog-walker is there for your peace of mind and for your dog's enjoyment.  If you are ever unsure of anything or have any suggestions, don't be afraid to communicate with the owner or supervisor, they are there to help and ensure everything is to your satisfaction. 

Please keep in mind that these are suggestions and not "rules" - you are your dog's advocate and are the final say in how your dog is cared for :)  Pawsitive Pet Care (formerly Sturgeon Park Pet Care) provides personalized notebooks to all our regular clients to facilitate communication between clients and their dog-walkers.  If you are a current client, please feel free to use those notebooks or contact Jillian any time.  Happy Thanksgiving and thank you for allowing us to do what we love!

Before You Hire a Dog-Walker:

If you're reading this blog and are thinking of hiring a dog walker for the first time, here are some suggestions for ensuring the right fit:

  • Ask questions about how they handle challenging behaviours such as jumping up, pulling on leash, barking at other dogs, etc.  Your dog-walker should know how to handle these in a safe and positive manner, without using harsh corrections or punishment on your dog.  
  • Ask for references from other clients, they should be more than happy to provide this for you.
  • Ask about insurance and bonding.  A professional service should have business insurance and bonding for employees. 
  • Ask how they would store your key.  Your key should not be stored with your address so that if the key is ever stolen it is not able to be matched with the house it belongs to.  
  • Ask how many dogs they walk at a time.  Although it is common in metropolitan cities for commercial dog-walkers to walk up to 8 dogs at a time (each municipality has its own laws about the maximum number of dogs), this is a potentially dangerous situation and may not be enjoyable for the dogs.  You want someone who can give individualized attention to your dog and to ensure he is safe and enjoying himself.
  • Ask about emergency situations.  Does the dog-walker have emergency pet first aid?  What would they do if your dog were sick or injured?  They should also be asking you about your dog's health information and should know where the nearest vet clinics are located. 
  • Ask about their off-leash policy.  Would the walker take your dog to an off-leash dog park?  While this may sound like a great opportunity for your dog to have a good time, are you 100% sure they would come back to your dog-walker if you weren't there?  What about the greater risks involved in visiting dog parks?  
As mentioned previously, having a dog-walker should bring you some peace of mind that your dog is getting company and exercise while you are busy at work or otherwise away from home, so you can come home from a long day at the office to a happy, relaxed pooch :) 

  To learn more about Pawsitive Pet Care's Dog Walking services, please visit 

  To learn more about us and read our reviews, please visit 

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