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I've never used a dog walker or sitter before, but I think I should acclimate my (potential) new dog to a care giver early, so I can be away when I need to without worrying. Anyone have experience with finding a good dog walker/sitter? And... what rates are you paying these days? I would really just need the dog taken out in the yard or on a brief local walk to empty his or her bladder most days, but might need in home care other times.

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my dogwalker (Bay Area, Northern CA) was recommended to me by a friend who is a trainer with many years of experience. I do have them walk Gibbs every couple of weeks, and when I'm going to be gone more than 6 hours I set up another walk. I know he can deal with it, but if he gets a walk while I'm gone that long, he's much calmer when I get home.


I'd see if any trainers you've worked with, even if it was classes taken years ago, have recommendations. Or your neighbors might be able to refer you.


Good luck!


Ruth and SuperGibbs

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I actually scoffed at the idea of dog walkers/sitters before, but eventually warmed up to the idea of having one. And now, I'm working as one myself.


I work in Brooklyn, NYC, and our rates are as follows:

Half hour walk: $15

Hour walk: $25

Half-day boarding with us: $30

Full day: $40

Overnight: $60


Those prices are pretty fair around here, but your mileage may vary based on where you live.


As far as finding a dog walker, see who is available in your area, and ask around. Experience, references, how long their clients usually stay, and if they've lost some, ask why. Depending on how big the company is, your dog may not get the same walker; the guy I work for has me, himself, and one other person, so all the dogs get the same person every time, but we try to socialize with them all to make sure they're all okay with us. Let the walker know if you have a preference, and ask for the same walker every time if that's what you prefer.


Something I've noticed lately is how we report to the owners: usually, we text them when we pick up the dog and when we drop them off, and how they did on their walk. A neighboring dog walking company here recently lost quite a few of their clients because one of their walkers was taking the dog out for 5~ minutes just to pee or poop (sometimes not even that), then taking him/her back home and lying about it.


Just keep in mind: no matter how they treat your dog in front of you, that may or may not be how they are. What is important is how they act while you're not looking. You can't be around to see the interaction between walker and dog, so if you suspect anything, take precautions; ask a neighbor to observe the walker with your dog, set up cameras, whatever. It's your dog, and you should be comfortable leaving them someone else's care.


If I didn't trust the guy who walked my dog, I wouldn't let him walk him, let alone work for him.


I hope that helps.

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I would absolutely set up cameras if I needed a service like this to come in to my home. My mother in law has a sitter come for their three cats. They set up cameras and they were visible, so the lady was aware. Well, turns out she was only coming every other day, not every day like they had paid for.


A company is only as good as their employees. So if they have a good reputation and reviews, the actual person coming to your house may not be represented by those reviews. I would want to know exactly who was going to be in my house and with my dogs. Plus, I would think that everyone by now should assume they are being recorded when they are doing a job like this. There is no excuse for not doing what you say you are going to do. People take photos and videos of others in public all the time, and coming into someone's home to clean or pet sit, I would definitely assume there are cameras somewhere (inside our outside).

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Really, the best way to find a good sitter is to find someone that a friend or acquaintance uses. That's where a lot of my people have come from. I don't walk dogs because it scares me. If something is going to go wrong that is where it is going to go wrong. Most of my dogs are babies that I take care of quite a bit. I just go and let them out and play with them, make sure they are OK and fed and all cleaned up. And a lot of the time I check out the house to be sure everything is OK - no broken pipes or AC or furnace failures. I am always there on time.


I run into new customers that are paranoid once in a while. Once they actually meet me they don't worry anymore. And I also text people everyday just so they know I'm not dead and I' m getting there and everybody is OK. If there is an emergency or if I have a question about something I don't mess around. I'm on the phone immediately to find out what they want me to do. I have a pretty good idea what needs to be addressed immediately and I get the animals to the vet in a hurry I don't play vet.. But I stay in really close contact with my customers. I like to be in contact every day. I really love the animals I take care of and would never let anything happen to them.


I would be nervous if it was a bigger company. I have heard of people going in, picking up the check and never showing up again. I would want to know the person that is coming and would not like for it to be a different person every time. Or companies that hire kids for minimum wage. It's not enough to love animals. You want someone who knows how to keep those animals safe.

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