Questions for Dog Walkers & Dog Daycares

It can be overwhelming when hiring a dog walker or shopping for a dog daycare. There are so many out there! Majority of which have mixed reviews and, not to mention, the industry is not at all regulated (in BC).

Who can you trust with your baby? How do you know what’s really going on when your dog is in their care? Here are some helpful tips and questions to ask. Don’t be shy to inquire until your gut feels right!

Be sure to visit the daycares on site and ask for a tour (like, all of it). It’s okay to ask walkers if you can check out their cars too.

Questions to ask both Walkers and Daycares
 
1. Do you have an intake/trial process?
– There should be an interview on both ends. You do not want to be involved with a business who takes on just any dog or all dogs.
– Too many problem/project dogs (aggressive, reactive, rough play, humping, not well socialized) can cause a chaotic and unfair stressful environment for other dogs present.

2. Are you insured as a daycare/walker shall anything happen to the dogs in your care?
– Not just insured as a company business but also insured as an animal caretaker.
– Instances due negligence of animal caretaker should be taken under their insurance.

3. How many dogs do you walk at once? What is the handler to dog ratio? Is there a max capacity?
– No handlers should walk an unreasonable amount of dogs at once, off or on leash. It’s very dangerous. If something happens to just one dog (escapes, bolts off, dog fight) then it is incredibly challenging to handle the rest of the pack.
– If a business says they have no limit consider it a red flag.
– Daycares that let dogs roam free are not safe. There should be handlers interacting with the dogs in each zone.

4. What updates do you provide?
– IG stories, photos, text messages, emailed report cards.

5. What is your background with dogs? Does your team receive training? Any associations with trainers?
– Positive reinforcement methods are a big plus.
– Sometimes daycares hire dog trainers to train their staff – another huge plus.

6. Are you/your team first aid trained and certified for dogs? Do you have a first aid kit on you (for walker)/at the facility (daycare)?
– Note that first aid for dogs and humans is not the same.

Questions for Dog Walkers

1. Where do you take the dogs?

2. Is it on or off leash or both? Does everyone go off leash at once? How many off leash at a time?

3. Do you have a team of people walking dogs or will it just be you walking my dog regularly?
– It is always better to have the same person walking your for consistency/routine and building rapport.

4. How are the dogs placed in cars? Tethered with leash? Free? Crated?
– Some pups are anxious in the car or do not like their personal space intruded on. They will need a crate for sense of security.
– Crates can keep dogs safe shall there be a car accident and can prevent dogs from getting into fights.

5. Share some instances where a dog has run off or a seriously aggressive fight between the dogs broke out. What happened and what did you do?

Questions for Doggy Daycare

1. What do you do about bathroom breaks for the dogs? How often do they go for walks? Where do you take them?

2. Are the dogs divided based on size?
– Not a good idea to mix different sized dogs. Bigger breeds can sometimes prey and bully smaller breeds. Smaller breeds can seriously get injured or be trampled over by bigger breeds – causing a terrifying experience for the smaller breed dogs, having no where to escape.

3. Do you separate dogs who are in tact?
– In tact dogs can cause other dogs (in tact and fixed) to become aggressive and act up.

4. What does the team do with the dogs all day? Agility drills? Fetch? What kinds of mental stimulation and animal enrichment are provided?
– It’s not the best experience for a dog if they are just sleeping in a corner all day!

Good luck and always go with your gut! A good way to tell is just how excited your dog is to go back to daycare or how they behave around the walker.

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