What it's Like to Hire a Dog-Walking Service
Are you curious about hiring a dog-walking service but aren't sure how the whole process works? Sometimes it's just not possible to get away from work or family obligations and take your dog for a walk in the middle of the day. A dog-walking service can be a great way to keep your dog active, even while you're gone. In fact, finding a dog walker and using the service may be a lot easier than you'd think. We talked to one happy customer, Maclay Coldren, who uses a dog-walking service every week. Here's what she had to say about how it works.
Finding a Dog Walker
Coldren has been using a dog-walking service for her dog, Stevie, since her pup was seven months old. It's been a great benefit for both of them.
"I realized I needed a dog-walking service because I couldn't leave work in the middle of the day to let my dog out," she says.
Coldren used referrals to find her dog-walking service. If someone doesn't have referrals, she says, they can find a reputable service online that provides background checks.
Coldren started with a professional dog walking service that costs $25 for a 30-minute walk, and an additional $5 for each extra dog. The only requirement was making sure Stevie had all her shots.
The service Coldren used also let her meet the dog walker first to make sure she was comfortable with the pairing.
Trusting Someone with Her Home & Dog
For Coldren, giving a dog walker access to her house was a simple process. The walker stopped by five days a week and let herself in using a lockbox that the service provided. Many dog-walking services work similarly, keeping things as efficient as possible for the dog and the dog parent.
However, dog parents often worry about this step. The idea of trusting someone with access to their home and their pup can be troubling. Coldren says that the service she used really went above and beyond to alleviate this worry.
"(My service) does background checks and you can meet the walker in person," she says.
The service that Coldren used offers a lot of perks to help dog parents feel safe, including making sure the dog walkers are certified, sharing exactly where they went and what they did on the walk, and then sending a photo at the end of the every walk. Extra services are also available, like booking an overnight stay or last-minute walks.
Upgrading to Group Dog Walking
Although Coldren really liked the solo dog-walking service that she started out with, she's moved on to a different one. Today she uses a group service for small dogs like her Havanese.
"I no longer use the (solo dog-walking) service because a space opened up in a group for small dogs," she says. "It's run by an independent person."
Coldren jumped on this opportunity because she liked the idea of Stevie going for walks with other dogs her size.
"It gives Stevie a chance to socialize with other dogs," she says.
She didn't need to do anything special to get Stevie approved. Like the other service, she just needed to make sure that Stevie had all of her shots.
If you're considering a group dog walker, Coldren recommends only using groups that walk eight dogs at the most. The dogs in the group should all be a similar size, she advises. You should also consider whether your dog is comfortable in groups before signing up for a group service.
Worth the Investment
For Coldren, the cost of hiring a dog walker is well worth the investment.
"Stevie is much happier when I get home," she says. "I like that she can get fresh air while I'm at work, and then she's getting additional exercise, too."
If you hire a dog walker, you're providing a fun service for your furry friend. But when you get home, make sure you still make time for bonding. Greet your dog with a treat, like Milk-Bone® Trail Mix, and then spend some quality time playing fetch and chase.
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