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Finding the best dog walker for your pup

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Dogs need regular exercise, but your schedule may make it difficult to schedule twice-a-day walks. Dog walkers can help get your dog the exercise they need on days that might be busier than others. Here’s how to choose the right one for your dog.
Woman walking a dog on the neighbourhood sidewalk

Most dogs require at least 30 minutes of physical activity per day. The Kennel Club suggests “five minutes’ exercise per month of age (up to twice a day) until the puppy is fully grown”. For example, a puppy that is three months old would need 15 minutes of exercise up to twice a day. The Kennel Club also provides more detailed information on exercising each breed.

However, despite best efforts, it can be difficult to meet this activity requirement, and dogs that don’t receive enough exercise or mental stimulation can be prone to misbehaving. For those with busy schedules, or with physical or other limitations, dog walkers have a schedule that fits around yours and bring the necessary expertise to get your dog the exercise it needs.

How to find a dog walker

A quick search online will reveal various dog walking services in your area, but going on a trusted recommendation, especially from a vet, is a good idea.

There is no governing body for dog walkers in Australia, but a number of Australia-wide online operators offer dog walking and pet sitting services. By law, all Pet Sitters in Australia need Public Liability Insurance and by law Pet Sitters and Dog Walkers have a legal duty of care.

What to look for in a dog walking service

It’s important to trust your dog walker. When they take charge of your dog they should care as much as you do about your dog’s safety and exercise needs. This means sticking to the agreed exercise schedule and being watchful of your pet’s safety at all times, while also respecting the environment – particularly when it comes to picking up your dog’s waste.

All dog walkers must keep your dog on a lead when necessary and know proper walking techniques and obedience commands. Your dog walker should also treat your dog with kindness and consideration. It’s important, too, that they are trained in animal first aid and properly insured.

Deciding which dog walker to go with

You should meet a prospective dog walker first (with your dog, naturally) so you can get to know them better and notify them of any specific needs or conditions your dog has.

Questions to ask your dog walker:

  • Do they walk multiple dogs at once?
  • How many dogs do they walk, and for how long?
  • If they walk multiple dogs, will they be compatible?
  • Where does the dog walker walk them?
  • If dogs are transported in a vehicle to the walking route, is the dog walker’s vehicle safely fitted to carry animals?

Questions to ask yourself:

  • Can the dog walker be trusted with the security of your home?
  • If you want your dog walked alone (i.e. without other dogs), are you prepared to pay more?
  • Would you like your dog to be socialised with other dogs in an off-leash park?

If you don’t have the time or consistent schedule to take your dog on regular walks, then a dog walking service is a great resource. Ensure your dog is well behaved on their walks with our guide to dog training.

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