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You may come to find that there are LOTS of dog walkers here in Portland, Oregon, but how many of them are professional pet care providers? Many get into pet care as a hobby as opposed to a career so, are your pets truly in the best hands possible? Potty Time Pets is built by professionals and we guarantee peace of mind for you and your pets! Here’s a list of things to think about before hiring a dog walker.

You’re a busy professional, perhaps a young family. You’re juggling more balls than you care to count. Getting a little help can make a big difference, and these days many dog owners turn to dog walkers to take a daily task off their plates to help ensure their pets not only go to the bathroom, but are getting exercise.

You do a google search for “dog walkers in Portland, Oregon,” and boom, dog walker after dog walker after dog walker. You may start questioning how will you ever make your decision!

“How do I know this dog walker knows what he or she is doing? How do I choose who to trust with my four-legged family member?”

Professional dog walking has grown rapidly over the last ten years, and more and more dog lovers enter the field every day. What most dog owners don’t realize is that, because walking is a young business, there is currently no regulating body to dictate the standards of care or qualifications for the work. In short, anyone can call themselves a dog walker, with nothing but a love of dogs to qualify their resume.

But walking dogs, particularly in groups, takes more than the passion we all share for them.

There are specialized knowledge and skill sets, as well as ethical business practices that are necessary to ensure the safety of the dogs in a walker’s care, as well as the safety and enjoyment of other dogs and humans who share the trails, parks, and sidewalks.

Here are some questions to ask when you’re considering hiring someone to walk your dog.

  • Are they trained in canine learning theory, body language, and pack management?
    You want anyone caring for your dog to know how to: a) use scientifically sound, humane training methods; b) read body language and take appropriate steps to prevent fights (and properly break them up when need be); c) judge which dogs to place together for maximum compatibility; and d) handle issues like quarrels over toys, space, or play styles. In short, your walker should have the professional knowledge and skills to keep the group together and under control while everyone has a great time. Of course, a love of dogs is imperative – but not enough on its own.
  • Who actually does the dog walking? Most dog walking companies are very small – the sole proprietor is the sole walker. Some have multiple employees, however. If you’re considering a larger company, it’s important to know how employees are chosen and trained. We here at Potty Time Pets will only have trained professionals walking your dog and you will meet with them when you sign up with us so you have an opportunity to ask questions and know who’s entering your home! We will never allow someone you haven’t met to enter your home and walk your dog without meeting them first!
  • How much time do they guarantee on the walk? If the walking service you’re considering says 30 minutes, that time means 30 minutes actually walking your dog!
  • Are they licensed, insured, and bonded?Any walker using the word “professional” should carry dog-walking insurance and have a business license. And any employees should be bonded as added protection for you and your home.
  • Do they have a professional service contract? You should be asked to sign a contract to help avoid later conflicts and clarify the walkers’ responsibilities as well as yours as a dog owner.
  • Are thet certified to provide canine first aid, and what are their emergency protocols? What will your walker do if a dog is injured in her care? If your dog is part of a group, what will she do with the rest of the dogs if one member of the group is hurt and requires her full attention? What about if her vehicle breaks down, if a dog is lost, or if a natural disaster occurs? Your walker should always carry emergency information and know the fastest route to the emergency veterinary clinic. Unfortunately, many dog walkers don’t think about these things until they occur; make sure yours has a clear plan.

Okay, so maybe we’re a little bit biased in this because we’ve aimed to master the art of professional dog walking and pet sitting, but the truth is, hiring a dog walker can provide amazing benefits for your pet, as well as for you so you need to make sure you are actually hiring a professional. Your pet will thank you, trust us!

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