I am very interested in collaborating and building a local network of pet-related businesses and one obvious choice for me are dog walkers. However, I’ve found that there are huge differences in what kind of services dog walkers offer. It seems to range from casual arrangements to very professionally organised services. One new dog walking company near Clitheroe has recently impressed me very much are Pickle’s Pack. They only started their business this year but are offering a very professional and thought through service. I have decided to collaborate with them because they obviously share my love for dogs but we also have the same values about Customer Service and professionalism and they offer a complete, worry-free package. Watch this space for more photos with Pickle and her pack on my channels and on their website and social media: https://www.picklespack.co.uk/

If you are reading this and are a dog walker or other pet-related business near Clitheroe and would like to work with me, please get in touch.

How to choose a dog walker:

Having spoken to quite a few dog walkers recently, I was becoming interested in what to look for in a dog walker. There can always be times when a holiday or work responsibilities throw you a curveball and you need to consider a little extra help with caring for your dog. My motto is ‘pets are family too’ and if your dog is a part of the family, you will want to be extra sure you find the very best person for the job; someone who is confident, competent, knowledgeable about animals, and who will care for your pet as much as you do. As I have spent some time researching dog walkers, I thought I might as well share the top tips on how to choose the perfect dog walker for you and your dog.

Insurances and qualifications:

An often overlooked aspect is how important it is to choose a pet sitter or dog walker who holds the necessary insurance for the job. Remember, this person will be coming into your home and holding the duty of care for your pets either in your house or out walking. You will want to check that they are covered if something unfortunate should happen, such as your dog becoming injured on a walk or causing damage or injury to themselves or others. Check if they hold qualifications in animal behaviour and Animal First Aid and if they carry a First Aid Kit on the walks.

Sniff and Meet:

Meet with several potential candidates to see how they interact with your dog and most importantly observe how your dog feels about them. Find out what relevant experience and qualifications they have with dogs.

Recommendations:

Always ask your potential pet sitter or walker to provide references from their other clients, and follow up on them. I’d be especially interested to hear how reliable and communicative they are when dealing with their clients and how they cope when something unexpected happens.

Safety and Emergencies:

Check how your potential dog walker will safeguard your pets, keys and home and what protocols they have in place to ensure your security. For instance, having your name and address attached to the keys they keep for you is not a good idea at all. Also, arriving in a branded car and therefore highlighting that you are not at home might not be a good security choice for you either. Question them as to what they would do in an emergency, or if your animal was sick and injured while in their care. How would they manage this, and can they satisfy you that they would be able to deal with an emergency effectively and in the way that you would want?

Check with them if they make sure that any dogs which they bring into contact with your own are micro-chipped, vaccinated and up to date with their flea and worming regime. The last thing you want is for your dog to bring home something nasty as a result of the arrangement!

One-to-one or group walks:

Consider if your dog will require one- to- one walks, or would be happy in a pack. If your walker takes out multiple dogs at the same time, ask them how many and if their insurance will cover the number of dogs they intend to take on a walk. Ensure that you are comfortable with that number and confident in the dog walker’s ability to manage and care for them all. Also, check if they use positive training methods to engage with your dog.

Transportation and walk locations:

Find out where and how your walker intends to take your dog on safe, stimulating and appropriate walks. Do they use secure transport crates for each dog and how many dogs do they transport in their car at a time? Establish if and where your dog might be allowed off the lead. Ensure that they are happy to first establish a bond with your pet before letting them off the lead and enquire if they master the art of recall. Discuss what happens if your dog is brought home wet, muddy or having rolled in something unspeakably nasty. You will want to make sure that your dog walker will dry your dog off and clean them up to a reasonable standard before leaving them in your home.

It’s a two-way communication:

When interviewing a few dog walkers to find the best fit for you, remember that a competent and experienced person will want to ask you as many questions as you ask about them. They should be interested in your dog and in finding out what is important to you and address any specific concerns you might have. Professional pet sitters and those who take the duty of care of your dog seriously will most likely ask you to sign an agreement or contract, covering both what they will and won’t do, and what they expect from you in return. 

Lastly, check what they would do if they were ever unable to walk or care for your pet when they have agreed to. Do they have contingencies in place, and are you happy with them? Reliable and prompt communication is probably one of the most important factors when you are establishing your relationship with the person who will be caring for your pet family member in your absence. 

In the end, go with your gut feeling and see if you and your dog click with your preferred choice. Good luck!

Please comment below if you would like to recommend a pet-related business near Clitheroe.