Owning a dog is a rewarding experience for both the dog owner and the pet. From better heart health to reducing depression, the benefits of dog ownership cannot be underestimated. That is probably why about 77.8 million people in the United States have a dog. Owning a dog brings with it all the associated responsibilities – feeding, bathing, grooming, vet visits, exercising, etc. So, what if your schedule is very hectic and you are gone quite a bit? Hiring a dog walker may be a solution.
Here are 7 Reasons a Dog Walker May be Just What YOU Need!
- Your health is not conducive to exercising the dog as much as he/she requires: Depending on the age of your dog, exercise needs can vary. Puppies, as well as certain breeds, such as Border Collies, Jack Russell Terriers, Labradors, and Golden Retrievers, require more exercise. If you have ongoing health issues or a temporary setback, a dog walker is a great asset.
- Your dog is having some behavior issues: When a dog is left alone for extended periods with no mental or physical stimulation, the negative impact shows itself in your dog’s behavior. Chewing incessantly or bathroom accidents throughout the house are a few signs of this problem.
- You plan to go on a vacation and do not want to place your dog in a boarding kennel. Instead, a dog sitter will come to your home and take care of your dog’s needs, including taking your dog on walks.
- You want to relax when you get home: The last thing you probably want after coming home from a long day at work is feeling overwhelmed by your hyperactive dog. When a dog walker has properly exercised your dog, then your dog will be worn out and content when you arrive home. Your dog happily greets you, yet is not overly active, making you more relaxed.
- You desire peace of mind concerning your dog: If you are like most dog owners, your dog’s well-being is of utmost importance to you. Knowing that someone is walking your dog can ease the guilt of being absent. You feel peace of mind knowing your dog has company to make his/her day less lonely.
- You need a “second pair of eyes”: As a dog walker interacts with your dog regularly, he/she will notice if anything out of the ordinary occurs with your dog's health. Dog walkers are often the first to spot when something is not right with your dog.
We have looked at how a dog walker would be beneficial for you, the owner, but what about your dog?
Here are 5 reasons a dog walker may be just what YOUR DOG needs.
- The house is empty eight hours a day: Being alone for so many hours is difficult for your dog, not just because he/she needs to take a potty break, but dogs are social animals and need human company for complete happiness. When no one is home for such an extended amount of time day after day, the dog may become lonely and bored.
- Needs physical activity: All healthy dogs love a good walk. A trusted dog walker who walks your dog often will provide your canine friend with much needed physical activity. Just as humans feel better, sleep more restfully, and live longer when they exercise, your dog benefits as well.
- Craves mental stimulation: According to Cesar’s way, dogs get bored with the same routine every day; when the day is broken up by the arrival of a new person, a brief time of play, or running an errand, it provides mental stimulation for the dog. Some dog walkers take dogs for “play time” or in the vehicle to a walking location. Just like humans are stimulated by new sights and places, dogs are too.
- Must have bathroom breaks: Your dog may be good at “holding it,” but he/she will sure appreciate if he/she does not have to. Giving your dog a break during the day to relieve him/herself will help prevent accidents, too.
- Adds variety to your dog’s day: Sitting alone in a quiet house all day is not exciting or fun for your dog. By hiring a dog walker, your dog will have human companionship and activities with other dogs (if they go to a dog park). Overall, your dog will have variety built into his/her day.
Now that you are feeling more inclined to hire a dog walker, what now? You obviously do not just want anyone caring for your dog; having the right person is essential.
What do you look for when hiring a dog walker?
- References/Experience: As you research the internet, read the reviews to ensure the person you are considering has the experience you are comfortable with and positive reviews. In addition to searching online for dog walkers or companies that provide dog walking services, ask friends who have pets if they have ever used a dog walker or have any word-of-mouth referrals.
- Insurance: Check to be sure the person or company has liability insurance. This will cover your dog if he/she would get hurt during the walk and protect you if your dog injures another individual in your absence.
- Relates well with your dog: Schedule an interview at your home with the dog walker. During this time, have your dog meet the person and see how well they interact. You will want to feel comfortable with the individual as well. Trust your instincts; if you feel positive with the person, and your dog acts happy, then that is a good sign. On the other hand, if your dog acts aloof and you have a bad feeling about the situation, it is best to interview another person. It just may be that the two would not make a good fit.
Hiring a dog walker has many benefits. Not only does your dog get his/her much-needed bathroom breaks, but has added exercise, companionship, and mental stimulation. All of these add up to a boost in the happiness and health of your pet.