Although it may seem like a relatively simple task, hiring a dog walker is not as easy as it sounds. There are countless things to consider when finding someone trustworthy enough take your dog out while you’re away. And it isn’t just about finding a reliable dog walking service or walker — it’s about making sure you’ve found the right match for your pet and that your four-legged friend feels comfortable with their new walking companion.

While there may be plenty of dog walking advertisements around your neighborhood, it’s important that you do your research and make sure you find one that’s right for your dog. Here are some things to look out for when finding the proper dog walking service.

1. Professional Experience with Dogs

Your dog walking service should employ walkers with plenty of professional experience working and interacting with pets of all different shapes, sizes and breeds. Just because someone ensures you that they are a huge animal lover does not mean they are right for the job. It’s important to find a service that takes pride in experience and training and sets you up with a walker who is 100% confident about caring for your dog.

2. Good Clientele

A dog walking service with little to no clients is never a good sign. Sometimes the best way to find a reliable dog walking service is through referrals. Finding a dog walking service that has plenty of happy customers is a good indicator that you’re leaving your dog in expert, caring hands.

3. Flexible Training Methods

A good dog walking service will make sure to follow your walking rules. For example, if you train your dog to walk with a harness or if you like to make sure your dog never walks ahead of you, a good dog walker will make it his or her priority to ensure your dog follow your training methods.

4. Flexible Schedule

Although they are doing you a service, your dog walker should be open to working around you and your dog’s schedule. Your dog’s daily schedule is very important. And although your dog walker might be busy, it’s important to that he or she treats your pet as their top priority, giving them the proper length of walks at the proper time of day.

5. Bonded and Insured

Anyone can call himself or herself a professional dog walker, but are they insured? The best dog walking services will have insurance that protects you and your pet, and does not make you liable for anything that happens while your dog is in their possession.

6. Love and Respect

It’s important to find a walking service that employs professionals who not only know how to do their job, but who care for your pet as if it were their own. In addition, you should be able to trust them in your home, especially if they are picking up your dog while you’re away.