Life

puppy love: dog walking in chitown

November 2, 2015

new puppy? this is how you find a walker

Happy Monday to all of you! What did you all do for Halloween? Whatever it is, I almost 100% guarantee it was more exciting than what I did.

For some reason, Halloween never seems to entice me with it’s costumes and voodoo. I mean, if I was invited to some sort of Harry Potter-themed Halloween party would I go? Well, duh. That’s a no-brainer. But so far it seems to be either clubs/house parties paired with extravagant or slutty costumes or…nothing. So, I chose nothing–for the umpteenth time in a row–and #noregrets here.

Scary movie. Homemade pizza. Lots ‘o’ wine. And in bed before 1am. Yep, sounded good to me. #25yearsold

It also gave me more time to catch up on reading, relaxing and blogging. Which was SO needed. It reminded me how important “no plan” weekends can be to your mental and physical health…

Any who, I wanted to chat with all you current and future puppy owners on what I’ve found to be an urban must-have: the dog walker.

Now, when I told my parents I was hiring a dog walker, they did not have a very, ahem, kind response. It was more a “Oh, you must have SO much money to spend, Nicole” type response.

Um, no. I do NOT have that much money to spend, but when you’re out of your home from 9-5 (which is really more like 8-6), you just can’t do that to a puppy. And, of course I’ve heard of people locking their dog in a bathroom or other room while they’re away, but, and I cannot stress this enough, THAT IS A TERRIBLE IDEA. You have no clue what the puppy will get into–what he will destroy, consume, get tangled in. It’s super dangerous and financially risky to lock your pup up anywhere other than a crate.

I’m also very anti-puppy pads. So that wasn’t an option for me either.* Not only because he’s not a cat (thank baby Yeezus for that), but because it seems to teach dogs it’s normal to do your business inside. And I want Kero to understand inside = clean and outside = do your business.

Needless to say, I needed my little guy to not be trapped in a crate all day, do his business and stretch his legs. AKA I needed a dog walker.

Of course I hopped on Google and did a bit of digging. If you live in or close to any major city, you’ll find there are quite a few options, but that when you have a little puppy, it’s a bit of a different story. They can’t necessarily be safely walked with other dogs, sometimes puppy walks can cost more (since generally they’re considered two 15min walks every day, instead of one single walk) and every walking company seems to have their own regulations.

What I recommend? Reaching out to friends first. See who they trust and if they’re available. This didn’t quite work for me originally because both my friends’ walkers were booked, but it was the most trust-worthy place to start.

Up next? Google/Yelp.

I searched for a walker, made sure he covered my specific area (always check this, especially if you live in Chicago) and reached out. However, he only did Lake Michigan walks (see, told you there were options), but he pointed me to another walker, who I then Googled. She was well-rated, owned her own company (shop local!) and I felt good about it.

Wrong.

Hiring her was the weirdest experience ever. I’ll save you the details, but needless to say, I let them go. <<If you’re curious who it was (and want to avoid hiring them, if you live around the area) please email me for more info, I’d be happy to share.>>

Back to Google/Yelp, where I came across Little Paws Dog Walking. I was hesitant at first, because it was near to impossible to get a response from the guy who owned the company, but once he responded and we met, I knew I found my “perfect match” (dog walking-wise). They’re cheaper, more professional and provide digital updates and payment options. Win, win and win.

I do plan on stopping the daily walks when Kero’s house broken. THEN, it just seems redundant. But, until that time, I figure hiring a dog walker is just part of the responsibility of having a little bff.

TAKEAWAYS

  1. If you’re leaving a not-totally-house-broken puppy alone during the day, it’s only right you hire a walker or have someone let him/her out at least twice a day.
  2. Trust your friends first–they’ve already done the legwork to know whether a walker is good and trustworthy or not.
  3. Search for walkers in your SPECIFIC area.
  4. Don’t be afraid to “fire” your walker if they aren’t meeting your expectations. This goes double for if you’re paying them more money than normal (like I was).
  5. Thoroughly read through Google and Yelp reviews, knowing what price you’re willing to pay and what type of service(s) you need.
  6. ABC: Always Be Communicating, with your dog walker that is. Need them to check your pup’s crate to make sure it’s dry? Ask. Need them to not refill his food? Make sure to mention that. The best way for everyone to stay happy is to keep the lines of communication open, in whatever form is normal for you and your walker.

*P.S. I understand that some people use puppy pads exclusively and other owners use them sparingly, to fill in during more extended absences. And, having dogs is like having a kid, everyone does it differently. So if it works for you, go for it. But I made sure not to give Kero any puppy pads.

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