The reality is, there are no established regulations, qualifications or education requirements for earning the title of a Professional Dog Walker in Toronto or anywhere else. However, it’s certainly very important to hire a Dog Walker that is going to take their job seriously and be versed in dog body language and behaviour.
Finding a trusting service can feel like a bit of a daunting task. You’re depending on, essentially, a stranger to take care of your best friend. You want to make sure it’s going to be a positive experience for everyone involved. But how do you know which Walker is going to be the right one? Where do you look? What do you look for? How can you know whether they’re qualified to give your dog the exercise they need, while keeping him or her safe and happy?
Here’s the general answer: Look for a company that has systems in place to ensure your dogs security, that is transparent about their walker’s training & qualifications, and can offer a variety of services for dogs with various needs.
That way, you can make a judgement call for yourself, as to whether their services are Professional or not. In the end, you should be searching for a Dog Walker that implements the practices that you find important for your pups safety & development.
Find out what systems your Dog Walking Service has implemented to keep your pup safe and secure at all times. There are so many unpredictable variables involved when walking a pack of dogs. A Professional Service will make it their priority to eliminate potential safety issues.
For us here at Yorkville Dog Walking, being Safe & Secure means a few different things:
We make it our priority to ensure your pup's security when out on their walk. We practice proper, on leash walking skills only. This is the best and safest way to establish a relationship with your dog. Not to mention, it provides great opportunities for training, socialization and exercise, in a controlled environment. Rest assured, your pup will burn much more energy than they would simply running around in an off leash park, because they are being both mentally and physically stimulated.
As an additional safety measure, our walkers wear a waist harness and your dog's leash is securely clipped on and locked in with an industrial strength carabiner, during every walk.
It's important to also look for services that offer smaller pack sizes, for more one-on-one attention. Look for Solo Walk options for dogs who require a little m
ore focus on skill training. At Yorkville Dog Walking, we never walk with more than 4 dogs at a time. We also offer a variety of services for those pups still learning and developing their obedience and leash walking skills.
In combination with the clip in safety measures, the bonus of smaller pack sizes and the added benefit of skill development, means that you can rest assured that your pup is getting the safe, secure, and fast-paced exercise that they require!
Look for services that hire committed and passionate staff and pair your dog with a specific walker. It’s important that your pup is not only getting enough exercise and attention, but that they are able to form a bond with their walker. Without that foundation of trust, it can be difficult for your dog to adapt, learn and grow.
It’s also crucial to ask what sort of Walker Skill or Dog Training background your new service has to offer. Our staff earn their title as a Professional Dog Walker by ensuring the Yorkville Dog Walking safety and security measures are always utilized. They also participate in intensive one-on-one dog walker shadowing at first hire, coached by one of our Dog Experts.
It can be beneficial to look for Services that conduct their own Dog Walker training programs. During their shadow training, our Dog Walkers practice techniques for proper leash walking, learn how to encourage general obedience & discouraging negative behaviours, they develop their skills in positive reinforcement training, learn about providing exceptional service and meeting all of our standards, and they establish a sense of leadership and control.
All of our Dog Walkers are dog lovers and they are passionate about their jobs. Some of our walkers are new to Professional Dog Walking, but they often have multiple years experience taking care of dogs in all breeds and various sizes. Regardless, We train our walkers to ensure your pup is always paired with a confident and knowledgeable pack leader.
Walkers should always be CPR certified, insured and bonded. This is standard practice amongst established businesses, so it’s a pretty basic expectation. Many amateur walkers are not CPR certified or insured though, so make sure you ask! Yorkville Dog Walkers is insured and bonded, and we require that all of our Dog Walkers be Dog CPR Certified.
Some dogs walk easy in packs, and some struggle a bit more to focus or settle when they’re surrounded by their furry friends. It’s impossible for you to know how your pup is going to react, walking with a new dog walker and new pups. That’s why Yorkville Dog Walking has implemented an Assessment Period for our services. It’s good to ask your walker how they decide on pack placement for your pup, especially when he or she is still developing their general obedience or leash walking skills.
We place your dog in their permanent pack only after an assessment period. During this time they spend, at the very least, their first walk with our Dog Expert, who will assess certain factors, such as behavioural issues, leash walking skills and general obedience. Our Dog Experts are able to identify their leash walking abilities (and reactivities), and will establish an appropriate placement or transition plan for your pup.
In addition, you should ask what your new Dog Walker is doing to ensure that your dog is ready to walk in a pack or group. Who is making those choices? What sort of systems are in place to teach your dog proper leash walking skills? If your dog is still learning, can your pup transition into a group walk, if and when they are ready? These are crucial questions to ask your dog walker, regardless of how your pup walks when they’re with you.
Truth be told, there are a lot of Dog Walker options out there. It can be a bit overwhelming, so take the time to search for a Dog Walking Service that will go above and beyond. Look for added services such as online bookings, boarding services, check-in and check-out notifications, and photo or video updates. Dog Walkers who are able to offer these types of extras are likely going to be the services that are established, organized, detail oriented and worthy of your hard earned money!
Let’s be honest, a Dog Walker is a significant investment. It's important to make sure you're getting the Professional Dog Walking Service that you and your pup deserve and can trust. You should be investing in a service that is going to help your pup learn and grow. So, before you hire a Dog Walker, figure out exactly what Professional Dog Walker means to you, and then be prepared to ask the right questions. That way you can decide for yourself whether the Professional Service you’re getting is safe, trustworthy and offers programs that help your pup learn and grow!