Thursday, March 18, 2010

Thursday's Tip: How To Hire A Dog Walker offers 6 steps for hiring a dog walker:
  1. Determine how often you can and cannot walk your dog. Once you know how often you'll need extra help you'll be able to find a dog walker available to fill in whenever you won't be around.
  2. Get recommendations from other dog owners. Ask at your local dog park or speak to all your friends and family about dog walkers they've used in the area.
  3. Use an online resource such as to find dog walker classifieds (see Resources below). You can usually find a number of dog walker advertisements as well as contact information.
  4. Call dog walkers in your area and arrange to have meetings with those you are interested in hiring. Be sure to give yourself at least three options in case you have reservations about some that you've spoken with.
  5. Ask a lot of questions of the dog walkers you call. For instance, you'll want to ask how much experience they have, what qualifications they have and how they handle disciplining the dogs. Also, you'll want to know how many dogs they walk at once.
  6. Introduce your dog to the dog walkers. This gives you a chance to see your dog's temperament around the dog walkers and allows the dog walkers a chance to determine whether or not they would feel comfortable with your dog.

Okay, this is how it SHOULD be done, now let me tell you how it is being done in our house...
  1. A little neighbor girl creates a flyer saying she is a "dog walker" -- my hu-mans ignore the flyer.
  2. The little girl shows up at our door with another flyer and my hu-man says, "hmmm, let me talk it over with my wife."
  3. The little girl shows up at our door with a new flyer, indicating that no one has taken her up on her dog-walking offer, so she is lowering her rates.
  4. My hu-mans talk and think this little girl has an entrepreneural spirit and needs to be given a chance, so my hu-mom "interviews" the little girl to find out more about her "experience"...

My hu-mom, "Do you have a dog?"
Little girl, "No."
My hu-mom, "Have you taken dog training classes?"
Little girl, "No."
My hu-mom, "Have you walked dogs before?
Little girl, "No."
My hu-mom, "So, what qualifies you as a dog walker?"
Little girl, "I watch Victoria on TV, you know, 'It's Me or the Dog."

With no experience, my hu-mom was still impressed with this little girl's attitude, so she set up a time to have us all "get acquainted."  The little girl showed up at our door yesterday afternoon and my hu-mom and I went out to meet her.  My hu-mom brought treats and we spent most of the time on the front lawn.  My mom explained about speaking with authority, the importance of letting me know that I was "the dog" and the little girl was "the dog walker".  We reviewed some basic commands, (just so the "dog walker" could get used to me and me to her, then when my hu-mom felt comfortable, we started walking.  My hu-mom held the leash and showed the "dog walker" how to correct me if I started to pull, and how to walk in a straight line, turn me around, etc.  Towards the end of the session, my hu-mom passed the leash to the "dog walker" and walked along side of us, then she eventually dropped back a bit, then stopped altogether.  The "dog walker" shows promise, and my hu-mom and I will continue with training, before my hu-mom relinquishes the leash to her entirely.

So, our methods are not entirely optimal, but we are making a new friend and helping to fulfill the dreams of a little be a dog walker.  ~Zoe


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