Dog owners know that there are many benefits of hiring a dog walker, namely exercise, socialization, and more free time for dog and owner to cuddle on the couch together at the end of the day. However, some owners may question whether hiring a dog owner is worth the cost when most dog walking companies charge $15 – $40 per walk, depending on walk duration, day of the week, and frequency. Discussed below is not only what to expect when you hire a dog walker, but also what to look out for.
First and foremost, a dog owner should expect that a reputable dog walking service be bonded and insured. This means that the company has procured a proper business license and is insured in case of unforeseen accident.
Next, you should expect that the same person, or a small group of familiar people, will be walking your dog. Reputable companies will go to great lengths to ensure that your dog bonds with the dog walker(s) and other dogs in the walking group (if applicable). If changes are made as to who will be walking your dog, expect a notification and opportunity to meet the new walker before he or she takes your dog anywhere.
You should also anticipate that the dog walker can calmly and confidently control animals in a variety of situations that ensures the safety of your dog. If your pup is going on a group walk, expect that the dog walker has training and experience understanding canine body language and knows the proper protocols for maintaining peace and harmony among groups of animals.
Ultimately, a dog owner should expect for his or her pet to receive exercise and socialization beyond what the owner can currently or comfortably offer. Dog walkers should provide exercise according to the individual needs of your pet while socializing him or her in a safe manner. A dog walker should never allow your pet in off-leash areas without your consent, and should always have your dog’s safety as his or her number one priority. Walking routes should be varied on a daily or weekly basis to avoid boredom and improve socialization opportunities, and above all, you should expect your pet to receive beneficial mental, physical, and emotional stimulation.
What should an owner watch out for? Will you be provided with updates after your dog has had their walk? Be wary of any dog walker who does not have adequate references or recommendations. Do not hesitate to contact references, especially if the company is new. Beware of companies that have an ever-changing rotation of dog walkers, as consistency and reliability is important for your pet, as well as for your peace of mind. You should also be concerned if the dog walking company does not ask to evaluate your dog’s temperament or fitness before its first walk. Finally, go on a “test walk” with the dog walker and observe how your dog reacts to the new human. Be mindful of your dog’s body language, and look for signs of unease. Ultimately, your dog’s reaction should be the most telling sign as to whether you are hiring the right person!
Guideline to Dog Walking Rates in Toronto
Rates will vary depending on whether the dog walker is a solo independent walker or a company; here’s a general guideline of what you can expect to pay.
Potty Breaks $10-$16
Private 30 Minute Walks $15-$25
Private 60 Minute Walks $25-$40
Group Walks $15-$30