There was a time that I think people thought of dog walkers as a luxury service. A luxury for people who can’t be bothered walking their dog or too lazy to dedicate the time actually needed to be a dog owner. I think those times have changed and people are more aware of both the needs of a dog and the wide variety of reasons to hire a dog walker.
So why do so many people need dog walkers? Doesn’t it feel like every minute, someone else is starting up a new dog walking company just to cope with the demand? I jest (well a little) but I also agree. It does feel like that.
At a really basic level, a dog needs exercise, food and toilet breaks. Sounds simple. Surely, somehow a dog owner can make that happen. No?
We all know that in reality, life is never simple. For me, a dog walker was something that I had to have in place before even considering Millie coming into my life as my work pattern could vary on certain days and at short notice. It’s that complexity of life that in my own experience means people seek out a dog walker for 7 common reasons. For some owners, they may have more than one of these or different ones at different times of their life.
You may even find that for you, you have more that one of these reasons to hire a dog walker.
7 Reasons to Hire A Dog Walker
#1 You Work Long Hours
By far the most commonly quoted reason of the 7 reasons to hire a dog walker.
That job that puts food into your best friends bowl, can sometimes mean that you can’t be at home for long periods of time. Not only does your dog miss you, but they do need toilet breaks and stimulation throughout their day.
You may need extra support on days when you have long meetings or work longer hours. Or you may also just need extra support whilst your dog is a puppy. Puppies will need much more frequent visits for toilet breaks which a dog walker can provide.
However, it is worth bearing in mind that most qualified vets and specialists would suggest that an adult dog shouldn’t be left for longer than 4-6 hours. I personally believe this is all down to not just the breed but the dog itself and worth discussing with any dog walker that you are considering hiring.
#2 We Aren’t SuperHero’s
Morning dog walk, kids run to school, travel to work, work, run home to walk the dog at lunch, back to work, then kids schools, transport to after school clubs, walking the dog, make dinner, give the dog their dinner… and on and on. I’m shattered just reading all of that!
Really? Can you really, really fit it all in? Do you need to be that SuperHero every day?
Maybe you could just make things easier by not running home every lunch time or any lunchtime at all. Maybe, depending on the breed that you have, it would free you up in the mornings to spend a bit more quality time with your kids before and after school.
Some people would say the responsibility for walking your dog comes with owning a dog and that you should, therefore, do it all yourself.
I may be biased but I disagree. You can give a dog a loving home and care for it, while still allowing an appropriate dog walker to take care of some of its needs. It will improve your quality of life by freeing up some time and your dog will benefit from a much less stressed you whilst loving the variety.
#3 Events, Family Days Out and Special Occasions
You may not live nearby friends or family who are happy to have your pooch when you want to attend that concert or have a longer day out or weekend away. Or if you do, you then feel at a loss when a family wedding invite pops through the post.
A dog walker can help where there is a one-off occasion that you’d like both not to feel guilty for leaving them at home but also safe in the knowledge they are having just as much fun. They can ensure that you can still attend those social events without worrying.
#4 You Chose A High Energy Breed or They Chose You?
Ok, I’m an official member of this club ;0)
I love spaniels but boy do they need a lot of exercise, mental stimulation and training! Millie is active and I can tell if she’s not had enough stimulation throughout a day. As such I’ve a four-hour rule for her being left alone even though she could go much longer without a toilet break. She also needs a minimum of three normal walks a day or one longer outing and shorter break.
If you also have a high energy breed, you may find that you could make it home in time for toilet breaks and exercise but it’s not enough for their level of energy. Having a dog walker will take the pressure off needing to extend your walks but allow you to still continue with them. That extra walk will just help with matching their level of energy.
#5 Your Dog Needs Behavioural Support or Medication
There may be a time that your dog has a health issue that requires regular medication at particular times. A dog walker can do this for you, whilst also visiting and allowing toilet breaks.
On the other hand, your dog may require some behavioural support. Perhaps they have developed aggression or anxiety or come to you from a previous home. Having a dog walker could help give them the right environment to work on those issues. This may be on a 1:1 basis or within a group walk scenario.
One of the biggest benefits to me of dog walking was that I knew it would increase Millie’s levels of socialisation with other dogs but also with the family she goes to for daycare. As she can be slightly anxious at first greeting, this is gradually improving over time.
No dog is perfect but if you feel your dog needs behavioural support then do flag this to any dog walker in initial discussions. This will help ensure they are trained or equipped to help and not worsen your concerns.
#6 You have Health Issues Restricting Your Own Ability to Walk
Whether it be long term health condition or short term need following surgery or accident etc., you may need some time out from walking your dog.
A dog walker can help take that pressure off and ensure they have consistent and regular walks. Your pooch will be happy whilst you recuperate.
#7 You Recognise That Dog Walking Can Improve The Wellbeing of Your Dog
Stimulation is so important for all dogs. Being stuck in the house with limited interaction is not good for your pooch. They need new sights, smells, and sounds help stimulate your dog mentally. A dog walker can ensure that this happens when you need it and flex around both your pooches needs and yours. You are someone who recognises this and wants their dog to be happy (I think I like you!).
Do you have any other reasons to hire a dog walker?
Whatever reason you have, you are taking the right steps to ensure your dog is loved and cared for. Just by researching and reading this blog, means I know that you care and are giving hiring a dog walker serious thought.
So please, please, please do take the time to ask any prospective dog walker the questions I’ve set out in my previous blog. Also, download the full checklist of questions if you are taking that next step. The worst case scenario is that you have one of the reasons above and then your dog walker isn’t able to meet those needs.
A little careful questioning will create trust from day 1. And if you are struggling with working out where to find a dog walker then you’ll find THIS blog helpful too.
Remember that whatever reason you personally have, hiring a dog walker will give you peace of mind. I know how great that can feel. If you take your time choosing the right dog walker, you and your pooch are set up for success. You’ll soon not feel guilty that you are leaving your pooch. You’ll be feeling guilty that you are being left out of these great walks!
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