With the growing pressure of everyday life and work, using dog walking services has become an increasingly popular option for many dog owners. Unfortunately, the industry is not yet fully regulated and it can be hard for dog owners to easily identify which walkers are professional and which ones are not. The Dogs Trust, Pet Industry Federation, RSPCA, and Tailster have come together to outline guidelines that professional dog walkers should adhere to.
The most important thing for all dog owners is their dog's welfare and ensuring this is maintained to high standard. A professional dog walker should meet the dog prior to any services taking place, allowing the walker to become familiar with the dog's needs, and a pre-assessment evaluating personality and behaviour characteristics to be done. The dog walker should discuss the individual needs of the dog with the owner. Medical concerns should be raised if needed and discussed if would impact the service to be provided. A professional dog walker should at a meet and greet make you feel confident in their services and that they understand how to ensure your dog's welfare is looked after. Professional dog walkers will also have full insurance and be DBS checked, and if requested should provide you with proof with no hesitation.
Some professional dog walkers offer transportation for either group walks, or to take your dog to the local park. All dog walkers should adhere to the Welfare of Animals (Transport) (England) Order 2006 with the correct insurance to cover any incident with your dog in the vehicle. If a dog walker is offering transport ensure that you check the vehicle for the correct use of travel crates and harnesses. No use of leads or chains should be used in transportation. Also enquire how long your dog will be in the car, and if a group walk where a walker has to collect multiple dogs, how long would your dog be left in the car? Would the dog be unattended for this period of time if there is only one dog walker? A professional dog walker will happily answer any of your questions and be able to ensure the welfare of the dog in transportation. Also with group walks you may wish to know the maximum number of dogs that the dog walker's insurance will cover. This number should not be exceeded under any circumstance.
During a dog walk, accidents can happen. A professional dog walker will have a basic knowledge of canine first aid, and either be able to demonstrate this to you via knowledge or a certificate. It is the dog walkers responsibility to make sure that they have all of the correct equipment, including dog bags and that they follow the Dogs (Fouling of Land) Act 1996. Most importantly along with ensuring that the dog walker is complying with all the relevant laws and requirements, you must be happy and confident that the walker will take the best care of your dog.
GoGo Walkies strongly backs the guidelines set out by the above mentioned organisations, and strives to provide you with a dog walking service that you can rely on. To view the guidelines in full please visit https://www.dogstrust.org.uk/news-events/news/dog%20walking%20guide%20online.pdf