Looking for a local dog walker or dog daycare can be a daunting experience. Entrusting your beloved dog with a stranger for the first time is a big deal, so I’ve put together some top tips to help you choose wisely.
Choosing someone to look after your family member is a massive decision and nobody wants to make the wrong choice. Both daycare and walkers have their pros and cons, so let’s explore them to help you decide what’s right for your dog.
Is a dog walker right for your dog?
A dog walker will usually pick your dog up from home at an allotted time each day and will take them out for an hour’s walk. There are both group and solo dog walkers available, so have a think about what experience would best suit your dog.
Pros and cons of choosing a dog walker
Your dog will experience more regular things when out and about, like people, dogs, and different locations. It’s great for socialising, boosting confidence, and provides mental and physical stimulation for your dog.
A group dog walker may not be ideal for dogs who don’t like travelling in vehicles or who don’t enjoy being around other dogs. It’s also not a great choice for dogs who struggle being left alone if you’re out of the house for long periods each day
Questions to ask a dog walker
- Are they insured?
- How long have they been in business?
- Do they have a van or a car?
- How are the dogs transported? Does the vehicle have crates and are the dogs individually crated or do they share?
- How does the person interact with your dog during the initial meet and greet? Is your dog happy with how they interact?
- Go for a walk with the person and your dog. Even better get the person to bring their dog along for the walk. See how they interact with the dogs outside.
- Ask how long in total your dog will be out of the house.
- Ask how many dogs they walk at any one time and how many their insurance covers them for.
- How do they deal with introducing a new dog to the group? When do they usually let a new dog off the lead?
- How do they manage dog’s different play styles?
- Do they use toys on walks? This could be tricky when multiple dogs are off lead at once.
There are many more things to ask but finding a walker who has personal recommendations from other people you know is always a good sign. Ask if you can accompany the dog walker on a walk so you can see how they are with the dogs.
Is doggy daycare right for your dog?
Doggy daycare can be undertaken in a home-from-home environment or a commercial set-up. A dog daycare should be licensed by their local council. Your dog may be picked up and dropped home each day, or you might drop your dog to daycare yourself.
Typically daycare means your dog will be in their care for a large portion of the day, which can make it a good choice for people who work long hours or for dogs with separation anxiety.
Pros and Cons of choosing a dog daycare
Your dog will have company for the majority of the day, great for those that can’t cope with being on their own. Daycare is ideal for dogs who have real recall issues and can’t normally get off the lead if they have an enclosed and secure area.
Some dogs find this set-up overstimulating and exciting, resulting in a “social monster” who may struggle to not try and play with every dog they meet. Dog daycare can be overwhelming for quiet dogs who don’t want to be involved in the action. The cost can add up quite a bit if you need regular daycare.
Questions to ask a dog daycare
The majority of the dog walker questions above apply here, but here are some additional questions to ask a doggy daycare.
- What is the staff-to-dog ratio?
- What training do the staff have in body language?
- Are the dogs walked out of the premises or are they in an enclosed, safe area?
- Do the dogs get nap times? An often forgotten need
- How are the dogs matched? Is it by size, age, temperament etc.
- What are the policies regarding neutering?
- Can you view the set-up during working hours?
Some of the above points relate to larger commercial daycare facilities. But those who offer daycare from their home should also be asked the same.
I hope you found this blog useful and that it helps you make a more informed decision about who you trust your dog with.
If you have any questions just get in touch. I’m always happy to help and support you with your dog’s needs.