Best Dog Walking Business - Yorkshire
The Dog Walker is an award-winning franchise of pet care and wellbeing specialists born from a small Yorkshire business that has grown into a leader of its sector. We find out more from Founder Richie Barlow as he and his team celebrate success at the Pet Products and Services Awards 2021.
Founded by Richie Barlow in 2006, The Dog Walker is today a multi-award-winning pet care and wellbeing specialist that in fifteen years has grown to be one of the largest of its kind in the UK. Predominantly working with dogs and some domesticated cats, The Dog Walker offers fully insured and registered dog walking and home boarding services to those who are not able to look after their pet fulltime, whether it be due to their busy work schedule, trips away, or ill health.
Ultimately, the team at The Dog Walker love animals, hence they go above and beyond to deliver the very best in care for pets of Yorkshire. Known across the region for its reputation, longevity, experience, profound expertise, competency and generosity of knowledge and advice, The Dog Walker’s strong business ethic has seen clients building trusting relationships with the team. They are trusted to look after the keys of their clients, enter their homes and collect their pets, and provide them with exceptional care and support in emergency situations when needed. A pet is part of the family and The Dog Walker recognises that there is no compromise on safety and care for that beloved family member.
That is why Richie and his team carry out thorough risk assessments prior to their walks, ensuring that they won’t encounter problems with livestock, horse riders, hikers or runners while walking multiple dogs, and always ensuring that they stay away from dangerous locations. Moreover, the team has recently invested in dashcams and bodycams in order to protect their pets and themselves – a necessary precaution that has become significant throughout lockdown with the rise in dog thefts.
Indeed, the global pandemic has seen a lot of movement in the dog walking industry. Some of it, like the rise in pet thefts and the decline in home boarding services, has been negative, but The Dog Walker has seen some plus sides to the last eighteen months as well. “One thing we’ve found is that many people have invested in new pets, namely puppies during lockdown, as they’ve seen it as an opportunity to spend a greater deal of time rearing and training their new pets and integrating them into their family,” says Richie. “This has naturally meant that we have seen a trend arise within the industry and have taken on a few new puppy clients, which has been a blessing.”
Fortunately, Richie has a strong team of similarly devoted pet lovers to support him as he takes on his new puppy clients. “I take great care in the selection of my team, as they are my representatives which promotes my reputation and image,” Richie tells us. “Our ethos is very pet oriented and customer focused, their needs are paramount to our companies growth. There are many in our industry that fail to recognise this vitalimportance and for a business in our industry, if you ignore the vitals, you won’t last long. Our teams have to demonstrate that they can self-manage, are work-focussed and have essential pet care experience.”
The team therefore consists of a Silsden & Ilkley franchisee who is a former RSPCA director for the north of England, alongside other significant members of the pet care industry. “This is the typical standard we go for when letting people join our family,” Richie continues. Indeed, the procedure for joining the team, either as an individual or franchisee, is rigorous, encompassing a meticulous process that ensures the candidate’s ability to follow The Dog Walker’s regulationsand company philosophy.
As lockdown in the UK eases, The Dog Walker is looking ahead to a boom in its home boarding services as clients are able to book holidays. Traditionally quite an unpredictable but lucrative branch of the company’s services, the team is this year counting on a fairly reliable and exponential rise in these services this year. As such, it is a busy year ahead but one that the team at The Dog Walker is eager to embark on.