You’ve looked at all of your options and decided that you want and need to hire a dog walker. The next decision you need to make is which one to choose. But where to start? I’m sure the very first question you now have is “How do I find a dog walker?”.
Now let me be honest. I don’t think that we as pet service professionals make this easy for you.
Despite the fact that the industry is growing, we are very much behind the curve compared to other professional services. I’ll be the first to say that my own website is still being developed pre our launch and in my other business (Millie’s Beach Huts), it took me a year to launch our own online booking I promise online booking will be available for Millie’s Pet Services before our first day of opening.
I’ve personally found it frustrating trying to find a dog walker for Millie. From the lack of social media presence and inability to check if they have spaces. To the lack of online bookings and big, clunky, advert filled websites.
If you are unlucky enough to have had your personal circumstances change at the last minute or a dog walker let you down, the combination of all of this can make it even more frustrating. You’ll spend hours working through various sites and leaving voicemails only to receive a standard “sorry we are fully booked”.
Hopefully, you’ll appreciate that in an unregulated industry, dog walking can be seen as an easy option for a business startup. If you are planning on taking very few customers to fit around other commitments, it can be expensive and time-consuming to set up websites and social media. However, this does make it harder for you to find and book.
I can make it easier for you and with a few hints and tips, we’ll navigate the sleepy world of dog walkers. Soon, you’ll have found your ideal match for the fur-kid in your life.
How do I find a Dog Walker?
It sounds simple but you really should ‘Google It’.
Google is the first place to start and I’d recommend googling “Dog Walker in xxx” with xxx representing the location you wish to search. As an example, you could search “Dog Walker in Carnoustie” or “Dog Walker in Angus”.
The reason I say that you should google first is that it’s those dog walking businesses that come up in the first couple of pages are more than likely to have a website with lots of information. Possibly even the potential to find out their prices and check availability.
If they’ve gone to the trouble of ensuring google finds them, it’s likely that they’ll have gone that bit further. They are more likely to be easy to contact and you have the chance to read any reviews!
If you are on social media, then pop a status on your Facebook page, Snapchat, Twitter etc that you are looking to find a dog walker.
We’ve all responded to friends who have asked for help this way. You’ll also know that you are being referred to somewhere from people you trust. A great way to find a dog walker that may not actually advertise their services and who relies on word of mouth.
#3 Dedicated Dog Owner/Dog Services Websites
There are a few major websites that offer listings of dog walkers and other services. I’ve covered two of these below:
Good Dog Guide – http://www.thegooddogguide.com/
One of the most comprehensive of the websites of the three listed. The one downside being that I’ve found that the links they share via twitter can sometimes be out of date or the business isn’t immediately obvious as being dog-friendly. But there are 26,000 businesses listed on the website and thus can understand why occasionally it may be out of date.
There is a useful search function on the left-hand side which allows you to filter just on dog walkers, then choose your county. It’s worth nothing that I only found 4 listed in Angus (and none in Carnoustie where I’ve found 9 through other routes). But do check, as there may just be that one listed that has a space and is suitable for you!
National Association of Pet Sitters and Dog Walkers (NARPS) – http://www.narpsuk.co.uk/static/pet-owners-information
The one benefit of finding a dog walker via this listing is that they will be a member of NARPS. As a member, they will be signed up to their code of ethics and professional standards.
Once you’ve selected the pet owners section on their website, you can pop in a postcode and search by distance.
Like the above, I didn’t find any walkers listed in the Angus area but there are high numbers in other areas such as Edinburgh. This may change over time.
#3 Social Media
This is, of course, my favourite way to find a dog walker. It’s also how I found both dog walkers and doggy day cares that I’ve previously used with Millie.
My first tip is to do a direct search within facebook or twitter or any of your favourite social media platforms. It’s quite simple really. I promise!
In the search button on your favourite social media page, just type in “dog walker xx” with xx being the location you want to search, Then see what comes up.
I’d also suggest searching “dog xx” where xx is the location. You may find threads of discussions where others have been searching for dog walkers.
Once you’ve found a dog walkers page just look for a “book now” or “call now” button. You may also find a website link in the bios or about sections.
You may be surprised to find the odd dog walker that isn’t listed elsewhere. If they are on social media, you’ll also be able to check out any photos they’ve posted and reviews pre-contacting them.
Secondly, if you are not a member of local community facebook pages, then I’d highly recommend joining these. The best examples I’ve seen of this is OurCarnoustie.co.uk and FacebayCarnoustie/FacebayDundee and I’m sure they’ll exist in your area too. Either pop a question as a post itself or use the search section on their pages for a dog walker. You’ll find previous requests, reviews, and adverts scattered throughout.
My third recommendation for Social Media is to find any local pet interest groups or associated businesses. This can range from your local vet to Pet INterst Group (such as Carnoustie Canine Capers). May will have adverts in their premises but also may have a list that they are willing to share with you.
#4 Local Authority (Council) Websites
Now if you’ve already googled, it’s highly likely that you’ve already found several of these websites. But just in case, I wanted to flag this great resource.
Still can’t find a Dog Walker?
Have you exhausted all of the above options? Do they actually exist where you are looking? Sorry, I am joking.
I really do understand how frustrating it is having spent many hours searching for dog walkers for Millie when our own went back to a full-time job. I have my fingers crossed that the information available improves to make it easier for all dog owners.
In the meantime, if you live in Carnoustie then my previous blog on dog walkers in Carnoustie will help.
If you really are still at a lost – this sounds like a challenge that I’d love. Just drop me a comment, email, message … anything really… and I’ll see what I can do to help. Two heads are sometimes better than one and it will be fun finding you that elusive dog walker.
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