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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!

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Iwi

Tuesday 8th of December 2020

Hello! I am not sure if you answer me but what should I do if one of my client after 1 year using my service put gps on their dog? I simply dont like it they might follow me? For me it is a bit creepy...

Lindsay Stordahl

Tuesday 8th of December 2020

Hi, that is going to be more common these days as there are more GPS type collars available. I guess it's up to you. They most likely just want to track their dogs general activity or have it for safety if their dog gets loose. I doubt they're going to be tracking you.

emma

Tuesday 8th of October 2019

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...

Rachel @ My Two Pitties

Sunday 23rd of August 2015

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.

Lindsay Stordahl

Wednesday 26th of August 2015

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.

Barbara Rivers

Sunday 23rd of August 2015

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.

Lindsay Stordahl

Wednesday 26th of August 2015

Interesting to hear your take.

Jana Rade

Saturday 22nd of August 2015

If the dog was Cookie and was being walked off leash in non-fenced area, yes, I'd want that. We actually do use one for her all the time.

Lindsay Stordahl

Saturday 22nd of August 2015

Oh, Cookie! :)