With so many people returning to the workplace and traditional employment routines, dog walking services are a must. Your canine companions are used to having you around, after all, so switching to spending all day alone could be… ruff. Preparing your pooch to spend time with a dog walker is easy when you know how. This simple guide will help you!
The Benefits of Hiring a Dog Walker
If you got a dog while working from home or adopted an energetic breed as a puppy and are now finding that two walks a day are not sufficient, hiring a dog walker to take your pup out and about can go a long way to helping them stay healthy and happy. The main benefits of hiring a professional dog walker are:
- Providing mental and physical stimulation for your dog
- More chances for proper canine socialization (especially with an experienced dog walker)
- Less chance of destructive behavior because of boredom or anxiety
- Peace of mind
A good dog walker can be good for you and your home as well as your dog’s mental and physical health. Of course, preparing your dog to socialize with new people and dogs is important if you want to get the best results from this service.
How To Prepare Your Dog To See a Dog Walker
Experienced dog walkers are often versed in dealing with dogs that are shy or nervous, but if you have a very reactive dog, you may need to hire a walker that offers single dog services. This can be more expensive but is worth it if your dog needs gentle exposure to the outside world and other animals. Anxiety is often a cause of reactivity and low-level aggression, so if your dog struggles with this, you should be upfront with prospective dog walkers, as well as take steps to address the behavior yourself. Here’s how you can prepare your dog:
#1 Undertake Leash and Recall Training
One of the best steps you can take as a dog owner is to train your dog to walk calmly on the leash and practice good recall. This is especially important if you have a large, strong dog, such as a greyhound or husky.
If these dogs start to pull or slip the leash, they can be hard to control without this training. Most dog walkers require a dog to be leash trained. But if your dog has poor recall or issues socializing with other dogs off-leash, you can let your walker know and they will not allow them off-leash.
#2 Arrange a Meet and Greet
Whether you hire a dog walker or a pet sitter for a longer absence, it is important to prepare your dog by allowing them to get to know this new person. A short walk or outdoor greeting can be enough for most dogs unless they have a history of abuse or reactivity issues. And letting your dog get to know the walker will also allow the walker to decide whether they can provide adequate care. In most cases, this is a formality, but if you have an especially large dog or a dog with medical issues, you may need a specialist.
#3 Make an Emergency Plan
While proper planning can avoid most issues, life can’t always be planned for. Talking with your dog walker about what to do if they experience an emergency while with your dog (for example, if it slips the leash and runs away or sustains an injury) will give you both peace of mind. Provide emergency contact details for yourself, a trusted third party, and your vet.
All owners need to leave their pets behind at one point or another. Knowing how to prepare and what difficulties to expect will help you ensure your dog has a calm, pleasant experience with the sitter while you’re gone.