Would You Want Your Dog Walker to Use GPS Tracking?

A lot of dog walking companies advertise GPS tracking so their clients will know the dog is actually being walked.

This is a gimmick.

Here’s why:

I’ve owned a dog walking business since 2008, and my clients generally don’t care about GPS tracking.

This is because a good dog walking business is built on TRUST and good relationships.

If someone trusts her dog walker, there’s no need to check in on some app to make sure she showed up on time and actually walked for 30 minutes.

If you’ve hired a dog walker, let me know if you agree or not. Do you care about GPS tracking? How about using a nanny cam to check on your dog walker?

In my opinion, checking a GPS app or receiving a message that your dog walker showed up becomes yet another automated message in a world that is becoming less and less personal.

As a business owner, I’m not interested in that.

Do dog walkers need to use GPS

If you’re a dog walker, should you offer GPS tracking to your clients?

Maybe, but it’s not necessary.

Many dog walking businesses do offer GPS tracking, and I’m sure some of their clients love this. Let me know if that’s you!

If you’re just starting your dog walking business, I wouldn’t stress out about offering GPS tracking. It’s more trouble than it’s worth, but maybe it’s something you could offer down the road.

My experience with GPS tracking

I use a simple GPS watch to track all of my dog walks and dog runs.

I like to know how far I’ve gone, and I like to be able to report to my clients how many miles the dog and I covered. This is something I report back every now and then casually.

HOWEVER, I find that my clients just aren’t all that interested in receiving a report on how far Clyde ran every single time I’m there or which route Bailey and I took.

Most dogs move at the same speed on all of our outings anyway, so it would get pretty boring to report “Zeke walked 3.35 miles” day after day.

What my clients DO want to know

What my clients do want to know is that their dogs are out and about having FUN with a person they trust.

This is why I text a picture and brief update to many of my clients after each walk.

Many report back that they appreciate seeing Ranger or Zoey out and about on a beach walk or at the park while they themselves are out of town or stuck at the office.

They thank me for the personal message and seeing their dogs’ “smiling” faces.

Options for GPS tracking if you’d like to offer it

If you love the idea of offering GPS tracking as a service through your business, I recommend a couple options.

A Garmin GPS watch

This is what I use. I like to know how many miles I cover each day, and I like to track how far each dog walks or runs for my own knowledge.

If you use a GPS watch, you could report the mileage and route to each client by text or email. Many watches will allow you to upload the information such as your pace, distance and route. This is different than your clients tracking you in real time.

I wear a simple Garmin similar to the one pictured. I’ve used more complex watches in the past, but I love the simpler watches. Click here.

Garmin GPS watch for dog walkers

An app on your phone

The app I recommend is Map My Run. This shows the exact distance with a map, and you could easily save each run to email to a client or send a screen shot.

A ‘pet tracker’ like Tagg

There are all sorts of dog-tracking devices available for dog owners. Usually the dog wears a tracking device on her collar, and any information on where the dog goes can be tracked on the dog owner’s phone through an app.

These devices are designed to notify dog owners if their dogs ever leave the yard or get lost, but they can also be used to track where the dog goes with a dog walker.

Am I wrong about downplaying GPS tracking?

Maybe.

What it comes down to is offering GPS tracking might be a nice service you could offer, but ultimately your business should be based around trust and having a relationship with your clients.

Maybe at some point, all dog walkers will be expected to provide GPS tracking. So far, I don’t see it as a priority, but let me know what you think.

If you’ve hired a dog walker, would you like to see GPS tracking?

Let me know in the comments!

12 thoughts on “Would You Want Your Dog Walker to Use GPS Tracking?”

  1. I’ve never hired a dog walker but if I did, I would want exactly what you’re providing, an occasional picture texted to me of my dog enjoying her time walking or playing and a big ole smile on her face would make me feel pretty happy and confident that my dog was in good hands. 🙂

  2. Yeah, I think I’d rather get a cute picture of my dog than see GPS data. I think GPS is easier to spoof than a picture of my happy dog, too.

  3. Mom likes the webcams at daycare, just to see what Bailie might be up to, but GPS tracking for a dog walker would not be of interest. Either the dog is walked or not. Either you trust the person or not.

  4. I’ve been a dog walker for 4 years now, and started my own dog walking/pet sitting business in late March of this year. I’ve experienced the same you have – none of my clients expect to be able to track their pups via some GPS device, but all love receiving picture and/or short video updates.

  5. I’ve never thought about that before but ya, I would prefer a picture or I might use webcams if I was away from home all day, not necessarily for my dog walkers but just to see what the dogs are up to all day. I’ve been badly duped by pet sitters in the past but in my case I believe my instincts worked well too and I fired them.

    I think the GPS trackers would be very helpful for those who walk dogs off leash. There have been many lost in my area from walkers walking large groups off leash in the hills.

    1. Lindsay Stordahl

      Ugh I often think about your poor experiences with pet sitters. I hope you never have to deal with anything like that again.

      The dog walkers that allow dogs off leash are brave. I’m not comfortable doing that. There are a select few that I’ve allowed off leash with owners’ permission. Two that I can think of.

      1. Well I was just in New York for a weekend and had a friend who also does pet sitting stay with the dogs. It went pretty well and I was SO relieved! I had her keep the dogs on leash for their walks even though I always have them off leash. But they always seem to do one thing completely out of character when I’m away. This time the chewed off a bit of the memory foam on my outdoor couch. Oh well…

  6. This is just me but I would 100% want my dog to be tracked by GPS. I’ve had dog sitters in the past where I was duped, he was supposed to have a daily walk but instead she just let him play in the garden with the other dogs. I’m not complaining he had fun but he also came back to me with a big belly! If I’m paying for a service I expect to get what I paid for. Another point is I’m worried about giving access to my house and worried dog walkers would take the money without walking him. So in order to build that trust I need to see evidence that he is having a walk. A photo doesn’t work, a dog walker could take loads of photos on the same day and spread it out across the week…

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