At Kritter Kommunity, we are all about pets enjoying the outdoors. When you cannot be out with your furry buddy, the best option would be to let someone else do it. But how do you know if a dog walker is right for your pet? Do they love dogs? What kind of person should he/she be? Would they know what to do when buddy pulls? How about accidents; do they have insurance? This post is all about how to interview a dog walker.
The answers to these questions (you may have more) are with the prospective dog walker. But, you have to ask first – in the right way. We are here to help you learn how to do that. But first, here are a few quick tips on finding the right prospects.
Finding the right dog walker to interview
The quickest and perhaps the easiest way to find a dog walker is to Google the words “Dog Walkers Near Me.” You will get a list of dog walking service providers in your location. Websites like Yelp will give more information about specific walkers and client reviews which are very helpful when deciding.
But you can also do it the old-fashion way and ask for referrals from your friends and family. You can also ask the vet or professional associations like the National Association of Professional Pet Sitters for referrals.
Once you have a list of potential dog walkers, prepare for the interview. You could talk over the phone, set up a video call, or meet in person. Here is how to interview so you can narrow to the right candidate.
First ask about the person
It is always polite to know the person before learning about what they can do. Ask prospective dog walkers about themselves, what kind of person they are, and share some personal information about yourself too. Get him or her to feel at ease around you.
Talk about your love for dogs.
The dog walker interview should be formal and personal too. This can be accomplished by preparing your questions in advance, while making note of a few dog stories to tell. See if your dog walker can relate. It doesn’t take much to identify another animal lover. Their eyes light up with any loving pet story and they always have a relate-able one to share. This is what you want to watch for.
This way, you can tell if the person on the other end is a canine enthusiast. He or she would immediately light up when the topic comes up (just as you would).
If you are interviewing a dog walking service, you will want to know about their process of finding you a walker. Questions include:
Will I be assigned one dog walker?
Do you do background checks on your dog walkers?
Do you have references I can call for my dog walker?
What is the back-up plan if my dog walker is unavailable?
Ask about their skills and experience
It is great to hang out with a fellow canine enthusiast. But, it is critical to know about their skills and experience.
Ask about how they got into this line of work, how long they have been at it, and about the good and bad experiences. Ask about what kinds of dogs they have handled before. You will know if the prospective walker is familiar with different breeds and their needs. Also, ask if they have gone through any special training. For example, if the dog walker can handle a canine with special needs. If they have, they should have proof.
This is a lot of information to get from different prospects. We suggest that you prepare an interview sheet and print it beforehand.
Here are a pawful to get your started, but you’ll have others specific to your canine’s needs.
Check their dog-handling skills
You may hear captivating stories from prospective dog walkers. But it is critical to check that they know the recommended ways of handling different canine situations.
Ask him or her what they would do if buddy breaks loose from the harness and runs away. The wrong answer would be to chase after them. It is a sign of panic and loss of control. The right thing to do would be to stay calm, stop the action, and use the recall command.
Later on, the dog walker can have a chat with you about your pooch’s behavior and if he needs any further training.
Ask about insurance
Most dog walkers are honest people. But accidents, loss, and theft are part of us, and insurance is there to cushion the financial impact. So, don’t be shy to ask if the dog walker has commercial liability insurance and a certificate to prove it.
If you are dealing with a pet services company, they would probably have coverage for all their dog walkers.
Ask about rates
We know that you wouldn’t hold back on your furry buddy. But the pet services market is a competitive space. It wouldn’t hurt to compare rates from different dog walkers and pet services.
Check if there are hidden costs, the best rates, and other benefits. Not just the lowest prices.
Ask about references
As you wind up the talk, ask the prospective dog walker to share some previous clients so you can check them up.
When talking to the previous clients, ask about the experience? How did the dog walker treat their dog? Were there any unexpected incidents? Also, ask about the payments and administration: was the process smooth? Were there any surprise charges?
Learn as much as possible about the dog walker from their previous clients.
Get the Dog’s Opinion
Ask the dog walker if they are willing to meet up with you and the dog. If they agree, plan a meet-up and observe how both the pooch and prospective dog walker interact. It could be love at first sight, or a little shyness, or the two will not like each other.
Wind up With Appreciation
Interviewing a prospective dog walker is engrossing. These steps will help you stay focused, ask the right questions, and narrow down to the right candidate.
Remember to thank all who participated. Don’t be afraid to turn down or to be turned down.
Tell the dog walker more about your pup, his behaviors, and what kind of training he has undergone. Landing the right dog walker will mean that your dog will enjoy the outdoors despite your busy schedule.
Emila is a freelance journalist and blogger with a love for those with four legs! She has grown up around animals and pets and wants to use her knowledge on pet behavior, training and lifestyle tips to help other pet parents live the best possible life with their furry friend. The amount of research she does and her hands on experience with pets, makes her an excellent candidate for writing this post.
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