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Caregiver Management

Just like our clients and their pets, our caregivers come from all walks of life and experiences!  We have a varied team and it will take some time to get to know each one and their habits when conducting visits and communicating with you.  If you ever have a concern or question about caregiver communication, please do not hesitate to contact kate@doggywalker.com for more details!

Most often during the on-call shift, you will communicate with caregivers by text about arrivals, completions, and common issues.  If you receive a text or call that does not affect a visit that occurs during your on-call shift, kindly redirect the caregiver to share their information with the appropriate manager at the appropriate time. 

Common issues:

#1. Profile is out of date or incorrect:

  • Always ask the caregiver if written instructions are available.
  • May need to review sent emails from Outlook and LeashTime to determine if corrections are needed.
  • Can speak with the regular caregiver for additional details/support especially if items like food can’t be located.

#2. Dog won’t go out/is difficult/is not eating:

  • Use your own experience to provide support to the caregiver. If a cat is not eating, stay in touch with the caregiver and notify the client as soon as possible.
    • Treats
    • Backyard let-out
    • Hold up leash and harness/collar
    • Slip leash
    • Toys
  • Can speak with the regular caregiver for additional details/support as needed.

#3. Unable to gain entry.

  • Clarify he/she is at the right house (or apartment) and at the right door on the right day. They may be at the front door instead of the back or side door. This fixes a lot of problems!
  • Verify the caregiver has the right key number for the visit.
    • Is there another building with the same apartment #? (A lot of apartments in Potomac Yards are similar) Or another wing of the building?
  • Get him/her to try the key by pulling out a little, jiggling it, etc.
  • Provide assurances that we have done many visits at this house, that we check all keys at the consult, and it is unlikely they have the wrong key.
    • If you are close by it’s always helpful and appreciated to go out to the house and help. Another thing we’ve had success with lately is FaceTiming (or similar video chatting) the caregiver and helping that way.
  • In the rare occasion when a lock malfunctions and/or a key breaks in a lock, you should go out and observe the damage. If you need to do that please call the General Manager or the owner before you call a locksmith to re-key the lock. This is expensive and time-consuming and is absolutely the last resort.

#4. Pet is missing.

  • Routine house check (in closets, under a bed, behind the couch, etc.).
  • Ask if a doggy door is in the home if any notes are available.
  • If a dog gets off-leash and is running at large you should make every effort to assist the caregiver in capturing the dog. Lure with treats, herd the dog in the direction of its house or your car or use another dog to lure them if necessary.
    • If you can’t catch the dog right away, please contact one of the senior on-call managers for guidance.
  • Make sure to ask EVERYONE around you if they’ve seen the dog. Lots of times (especially in Del Ray and Old Town) people around you will chip in and help, and the more people talk – the easier it is for people to be looking and see the dog.
    • If the dog is in a dangerous area near a busy street and you are not confident you can catch the dog you should call the Animal Control for that county for assistance (be aware that a neighbor may have already called them and make sure you call the correct city or county, based on where you are).
  • Call/email the client if all other attempts to find the dog have been exhausted.

#5. Pet is sick.

  • Help determine the severity of the situation. If it’s an upset stomach with messy #2’s, keep an eye on the dog and make sure they are acting normal (eating regularly, wanting their treat, and that they’re up and moving).
  • If the dog is lethargic or not responding well to others, it would constitute a call to the client.
  • If you ever have a question about the severity of a situation or whether you should call the client, please reach out to another manager or the pet’s regular caregiver.

#6.  Alarms.

  • If a caregiver calls and a client’s alarm is going off, have them get the dogs out of the house and call the client to ask them what they’d like us to do.
  • There can be many issues with alarms. Sometimes the clients don’t normally arm them and forget we’re coming by, or they have a special code for their dog walker which they accidentally deactivated, or the clients left it off and the cleaning team turned it on…alarms can be jarring – but remember – we set them off a lot, and it’s not always our fault!
  • If we did set it off and it’s our fault, please let the office staff know so they can update the profile and notify future caregivers.

Less Common Issues

#1. Caregiver injury.

  • If anyone (dog or human) is injured (skin is broken), please contact the General Manager for help and guidance.
  • All dog bites should be reported to Animal Control (see phone numbers below). There are different laws depending if the dog has bitten another dog or a person and if the skin has been broken.  The Animal Control notification will be submitted by the General Manager.
    • Please note that Animal Control may not be able to get out right away to interview folks, but ask the caregiver involved to write up a statement (including photos) and email it to info@doggywalker.com or kate@doggywalker.com while the details are fresh in their mind.
  • If a dog bites a human and breaks the skin this also must be reported. When contacting the client, advise them that they must be able to prove that the dog is up to date on rabies shots. A dog that has bitten a person and broken the skin must be quarantined for 10 days to ensure the dog does not have rabies.

#2.  Caregiver callout

  • If a caregiver is ill or calls out with an emergency at the last minute before a visit, please make sure they are OK and ensure that they are unable to do the assigned visit.
  • If they are completely unavailable and/or too sick to complete the visit, please check LeashTime for where the other keys are for that visit and have them drop off their keys if they are needed.
  • See if you can find another caregiver to do the visit (especially if a key is needed) and reschedule the visit in LeashTime accordingly.
  • If no one is available, you are responsible for covering the visit, unless the pet is a female or male caregiver only.


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