You should never overpay for any service, dog walks included. But how much should you be paying? And why?
For your child, you may opt for an experienced babysitter over a cheaper, less-experienced alternative. Why? Because quality and value matter and you want the best bang for your buck.
The same applies to the canine in your life. The cost of your furbaby’s walk is directly correlated to your location, your dog’s specific needs, the time of day, the frequency of visits and the quality of the service provider.
Below is our breakdown of rates and options for weekday, mid-day dog walks on Capitol Hill.
When To Say “No”
Here in Washington, DC, a dog walk will run you anywhere from $12 to $30 for the standard 20-30 minute, mid-day solo jaunt. The lower-end may use walkers with little to no training or experience, often without insurance or bond to cover your pet. You can sign up for these walks on Craigslist, social media, etc. Be sure to thoroughly interview and vet your potential walker and verify their insurance.
The mid-price point usually encompasses walkers on websites like Rover and Wag!, local agencies, and more-experienced independent walkers. Rover and Wag! do not provide walkers with liability insurance, so in the event of an accident, the individual walker is responsible. If the walker is unable to pay for losses/damages, then Rover (or Wag!) may cover owners under their guarantee. Individual walkers listed on those sites might carry their own insurance, so be sure to ask during your interviews.
Local agencies are most likely to have their employees insured and bonded; this information may be available on the company website. Again, ask questions and do your research to find a qualified match. Companies utilizing employees, such as Saving Grace, have the highest levels of staff training and oversight. Additionally they likely have a team of managers and back up walkers to ensure that your pup never misses a walk.
Pack or Group Walks?
One question to ask when considering a dog walking service is, “Will group walks work for my pup?” Many agencies and independent walkers provide this option. Since dogs are social by nature, this cost-splitting strategy usually makes for happy humans and doggies.
Pack walk rates typically range between $19 and $25 for 20 minutes for three or more dogs. When considering pack walks, you must know (and communicate) your dog’s level of socialization and any behavior concerns. Dogs in pack walks don’t need to be perfect, but they should be non-reactive in most scenarios. If pack walks aren’t right for your dog, that’s okay—there’s nothing wrong with that. Like us, dogs have their own personalities and some prefer the stability of a controlled 1:1 environment with their walker.
If you are considering pack walks, pick an insured and bonded agency or walker that limits groups to three to five dogs. This allows your dog to make new friends, while staying safe. The more dogs walking together, the greater the potential for group stress or conflict. With up to five well-matched dogs, an experienced walker can maintain the group dynamics while still keeping an eye on each individual dog.
Finding the Right Fit Is Key
Finally, no matter what dog walking service and provider you choose, take time to find the right fit. Always check reviews, do interviews and ask your friends. Cost matters, but make sure it’s coupled with quality, experience, and value. You and your dog will be happier knowing he’s in trusted hands while you’re away.
Are you interested in the peace of mind that dog walks with Saving Grace can provide? We’d love to hear from you!