7 Things To Ask When Hiring A Dog Walker For Your Mastiff

A. Mastiffs And Exercise

Climbing on the couch, hopping off the couch, running upstairs and bolting downstairs is enough exercise for some smaller dogs, but for bigger ones like Mastiffs, they're definitely not. All dogs need regular exercise to stay healthy. While some are fine with regular indoor movements and occasional yard play, more athletic breeds need more exercise. Making sure that our Mastiffs get their daily needed exercise is as important as making sure that they're well-fed. As responsible pet owners, we should ensure that the lifestyle we bestow on our dogs is a healthy one. Although it sounds easy, in reality, this can be challenging.

B. Why Hire A Dog Walker For Your Mastiff?

Many dog owners are busy tending to the needs of the household, making a living by working more than 40 hours a week, or building credentials at school. We're half a task away from spreading ourselves too thin most of the time. Getting a little help can make a big difference in our overall routine and personal well-being. Between work, chores and the very little time we get for rest, we sometimes don't have the energy or the time to tend to some of the needs of our dogs. One of the tasks we can get help with is making sure that our Mastiff gets the regular exercise they need. Just like leaving kids with babysitters, we can leave our furry pals with dog walkers, but unlike a babysitter, a dog walker has more objectives that need to be accomplished. This is why Mastiff owners should find a trusted dog walker that can provide our dogs with sufficient, safe, and well-paced walks with lots of care.

C. What To Look For In A Dog Walker

While having someone do one of the most time-consuming dog-related tasks sounds like a blast, choosing who to entrust with such a huge responsibility is not an easy decision to make. Who we choose to walk our dogs regularly is important because he will be responsible not only for our dog’s exercise but also of his safety during the times when they’ll be together. The most important factors when it comes to choosing the right dog walker is trust and safety. After all, we wouldn’t be getting our money’s worth if the dog walker we choose just naps with our dog instead of actually walking them. We’ll also be devastated if the dog walker we choose loses our Mastiff. Relying on the services of a dog walker is essentially giving a stranger control over the safety of a family member.

Not everyone can be a dog walker. Just someone who loves dogs doesn’t necessarily mean that s/he has what it takes to walk a stranger’s dog. Not even other dog owners or someone who grew up surrounded by pets can just claim that they’re professional dog walkers. It’s easy for people to say they adore dogs; anyone can advertise himself as a dog walker, but a professional dog walker is someone who has extensive experience working with dogs of various sizes, breeds, and personalities. There are specialized skills that are necessary to ensure the safety of the dogs while they’re under a dog walker’s care. Knowledge about etiquette and rules in public spaces is also necessary to ensure the safety of others.

To its core, the perfect dog walker is someone who gets along well with our Mastiff, is capable of protecting himself and our Mastiff from any form of danger, has good first aid knowledge, and charges at a reasonable rate; he has to be a dog whisperer of some sort with sufficient reflexes and strength to protect the dogs he’s walking from other animals, humans, vehicles, and other forms of accidents. Before we look for a dog walker, we should research how to evaluate prospective dog walkers to ensure our Mastiff will be in safe hands.

When looking for a professional dog walker and assessing resumes, the first skills we should consider in a prospective dog walker is if he’s well versed on dog training methods and up-to-date with dog behavioral research. Being updated with research on dog behavior means that one knows and understands how dogs really express happiness, stress, exhaustion and fear. A prospective dog walker’s resume should give us a glimpse of how they understand the subtle and unique ways each dog communicates; without this skill, the dogs s/he’ll walk will not be entirely safe.

7 Things To Ask When Interviewing & Assessing A Prospective Dog Walker

Now that we know what qualities to look for, a good place to start the search for the most capable dog walker is through our own network. Maybe our neighbor already has a trusted dog walker. Maybe our veterinarian can recommend knowledgeable and skilled dog walkers. Asking friends who also own dogs or professionals we already trust with our dogs’ lives can assist us in finding a capable dog walker in our area. There are pages that help search for dog walking companies, leading us to websites with dog walking service rates. There are also online forums that can point us to dog walkers who will truly understand our dogs’ needs.

While interviewing a dog walker who was recommended to us or was sent by a company, it’s crucial to ask the questions that will really push them to show their capabilities. These questions are the important questions to ask a prospective dog walker:

1. Do You Have A Background In Canine Cognition Theory And Body Language? 

When Did You Undergo Pack Management Training?

We should never entrust our dogs’ safety and well-being with someone who isn’t aware of the right training methods backed by scientific studies. Dogs’ body language cannot be merely based on instinct; a guided understanding of this will be the primary basis of the dog walker in preventing fights among dogs. Since accidents can happen in a split of a second, we should ask this question to identify whether the prospective dog walker has what it takes to gauge the compatibility of personalities of dogs to be walked in a group. Professional knowledge and skills in breaking up fights in social walks is essential in keeping the dogs safe and under control.

2. How Do You Determine The Size Of The Dogs You Walk Together In Social Walks?

It’s basic knowledge among dog walkers that before considering their personalities, dogs included in social walks should be sorted according to size. Small dogs should be grouped with other similar sized dogs while big ones may be walked together. Small dogs are vulnerable to injuries especially when within close proximity with large dogs they’re barely acquainted with. If the prospective dog walker determines the dogs to group together in a social walk by breed and age, then he knows quite well how to determine the size of dogs to include in a batch; this can be avoided potential brawls that can lead to injuries. A professional dog walker knows that in a social walk, the smallest dog should be half the weight of the biggest one.

3. How Many Dogs Do You Walk In A Batch?

Some cities and parks have regulations on the number of dogs that can be walked in a batch. For the rest of the cities and parks, there’s a chance that dog walkers walk too many dogs at a time. More dogs means less individual attention for our dogs and more chances of injuries and accidents. 10 small dogs or 7 large dogs per batch is the safest maximum number of dogs per social walk.

4. Do You Walk The Dogs Unaccompanied?

Although it’s common for dog walkers to walk alone, other dog owners prefer that their dogs be with a duo or a team of professionals. Because it’s better to be safe than sorry, a prospective dog walker will have an edge if he has an assistant who serves as a safety net when dogs, especially large ones, get aggressive or run off by accident. Although not a necessity, even highly skilled dog walkers could benefit from having an equally capable teammate to keep the dogs safe.

5. For How Long Do You Normally Walk Dogs?

This is very important because dogs have different exercise needs. Lap dogs shouldn’t be walked for a very long time while large dogs need longer walks. Before this, it’s best to know from the vet how long the walks are needed for our Mastiff. This will eliminate the possibility of exhaustion for our small dogs and obesity for our big dogs. Although it depends on the age, size and type of Mastiff we have, typically an adult will be contented with around two 20- 30 minute walks daily.

6. What Equipment & Training Methods Do You Use?

We want our dogs to be happy and safe under the care of their dog walkers. It should be easy to identify a red flag if a prospective dog walker can’t answer this question smoothly. Chances are he disciplines the dogs by pulling the leash, hitting them or using shock collars, instead of giving rewards and encouragement. We should stick with dog walkers who use positive-reinforcement based training and equipment that will keep our dogs happy and safe.

7. Do You Have A Professional Service Contract, Permit & Insurance?

Professional dog walkers have detailed contracts that set the bounds of their services and clarify the rights of dog owners. They also have dog-walking insurance and business permit that can protect the dogs and their dog owners should they fall short of providing their services as stated in the contract. If the prospective dog owner’s answers for this question and the former ones satisfy us, then he’s good to go.

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About the Author Joycey

All my life I've been in love with one big dopey Mastiff family member after another. No other breed has given so much pleasure, so it's a joy for my team and I to research everything there is to know about them in this blog. We hope you enjoy the reading as much as we enjoy the writing :)