A great dog walk is more than just a stroll around the block—it's an opportunity to strengthen the bond between you and the dog you are walking! By preparing before the walk, staying engaged during it, and tending to the dog's needs afterward, you can turn each walk into a pawtastic experience for both of you. We hope this guide helps provide the resources to make every walk a great one!
Before the Walk:
- Make sure you plan your dog walking route for the day. Map out how you'll get from one place to the other, and what time you'll have to start your first walk of the day to make sure you'll make it to the rest of them all within the time windows.
- Make sure your phone has enough battery to get through the walk.
- If necessary, make sure you have keys to enter the apartment.
- Always have a form of ID with you. You will likely need it if the apartment is doorman access, but it's also smart to always keep it with you.
- Give yourself an extra 15 minutes to account for MTA trouble or other delays so that you'll get to the walk on time.
- If you are ever running late, always let the client and the Swifto office know immediately.
- Make sure to wear your Swifto swag at all times.
- Be sure to carry a phone charger or portable battery so your phone never dies.
Entering the Apartment:
- Be sure to read the dog notes again before entering the apartment to remind yourself what to expect. (Some clients don't want you to enter with shoes, some want you to use a special entrance, some dogs need special handling upon entering, etc.).It is always best to be prepared beforehand!
- Don't burst into the client’s apartment! It is the dog's territory, so come in with mellow, non-threatening energy.
- Once you have eyes on the dog, you can start the app inside the apartment. Greet the dog by name, go down to their level, and pet them.
Before Heading Out with the Dog:
- If the dog requires feeding/medication, make sure to locate everything you'll need even if you plan on feeding/medicating post-walk. This way you'll have a chance to contact the client if there are any questions, and you won't have to stay after the walk waiting for a response.
- Any mess the dog makes, even before your arrival, is your responsibility to clean up. Be sure to clean poop/pee in the client's home and to always let them know about it.
- When getting ready for the walk, Put the leash/harness on the dog. Make sure you have with you: Poop bags, your phone, and keys for the apartment (when applicable). Always make sure to put on the dog’s attire (when applicable) and handle any feeding + medication instructions (if needed before the walk). Finally, always lock the door behind you!
During the Walk:
- Curb your dog and do your best to stay away from rats, cats, and squirrels.
- Allow the dog to sniff (unless you've been warned about any allergies), but avoid garbage.
- Don't allow anything in the dog's mouth. If you see anything in the dog's mouth, remove it immediately. If the dog does happen to eat anything, ALWAYS alert the client, no matter what it may be.
- Walk at a pace that is comfortable for the dog. Be mindful of walking too fast for smaller dogs, and walking too slow for larger, more active dogs.
- Unless you are taking a photo of the dog or marking that they peed or pooped, your phone should be in your pocket or bag at all times.
- Always have your full attention on the dog – be attentive to their needs and avoid distractions. Do not wear headphones during your dog walks.
- When choosing the route to take, try your best to avoid crowded streets and choose locations that have nature in them such as parks when possible.
- Be sure to always follow any special route requests from clients. Sometimes the dog will have their own special route request, and you'll know about it :)
- Never cross the street at a red light! This is an insurance issue for both you and the dog. Always walk the dog on a sidewalk even if it's a quiet street and there are no cars around.
- If it's raining, try to keep dry by walking under scaffolding.
- Always be aware of the dog notes and any important comments – did the client indicate that their dog is better off not meeting other dogs? Maybe they request that you take their dog to a certain dog park or instead never go to the dog park? Always read through the dog notes before a walk!
- Make sure you take a photo or two during the walk!
When the Dog Does Their Business:
- Don't allow dogs to do their business on someone else's property and if the dog pees or poops in an inappropriate place (such as in a building lobby), please clean it up immediately.
- Ensure you ALWAYS pick up dog poop. If you're caught, it's an automatic $1,000 fine from the city!
- Please always let the client know of any issues regarding the pup's potty break (i.e., they had diarrhea or did not go poop when they normally do, etc.).
- Always do your best to ensure the dog goes poop on the walk or at least pees (especially if the client is looking for this). You can indicate on the app if the dog went poop and notify the client in the summary message if their dog went pee.
After the Walk:
- Once you're back home safe at the apartment and have successfully completed the walk, it's time to get ready to end the walk!
- After you've closed the door behind you, you can remove the dog's equipment.
- If necessary, dry off the dog. Never leave a wet dog behind! If the client requests that you wipe down their dog's paws or do anything else, be sure to complete these steps before leaving.
- If allowed, give the dog a treat!
- Refill the water bowl (unless the client requests that you do not do so).
- Is the dog where it's supposed to be? (crate, baby gate, out and about, etc.).
- Give the dog a toy, if allowed!
- Lock the door behind you.
- Mark in the app that the walk has ended. This is also when you can write the summary message that will be sent directly to the client.
As you can see, there is a lot that goes into making sure every dog walk you complete here at Swifto is a great one. We are confident that by preparing before the walk and following these guidelines during and after the walk, you'll set yourself up for success!
As always, let us know if there are any questions or concerns. We are here for you! :-)
-The Swifto Team