Advice for volunteers
Thank you for volunteering to walk dogs for elderly and vulnerable owners who are unable to go out due to the Coronavirus crisis.
Please make sure you read these guidelines carefully and follow them at all times.
Before you start
- Speak to the owner and introduce yourself, preferably by phone or otherwise email.
- Find out as much as you can about the dog. Is it used to being walked by other people? Can it be let off the lead if safe to do so? Is it good with other dogs? Where is it usually walked and for how long?
- If the owner has two dogs, only walk them together if you are confident you would be able to fully control both. Otherwise walk them separately.
Before going out with the dog
- Make sure you have the contact number for the owner for emergencies
- Wash your hands thoroughly
- Wear disposable gloves and present your Volunteer ID
- Have a supply of poo bags
- If possible bring a lead to use (this is necessary if you are walking dogs for owners who are shielded or from a household where someone has the virus or is showing symptoms)
Collecting the dog
- Knock on the door and then go back outside the gate. Where this is not possible stand at least 2 metres away, wait for the owner to close the door and let the dog come to you. NEVER take the lead directly from the owner.
- If possible have your own lead to use.
- Tell the owner where you plan to go and how long you will be.
- Make friends with the dog by talking to it rather than stroking or patting it.
Walking the dog
- Keep at least 2m away from other people or dogs
- Keep the dog on a lead at all times for the first couple of walks so it gets familiar with you, even if the owner says it is safe off the lead
- Keep the dog on the lead where there are other people or dogs nearby
- Only let the dog off a lead in an enclosed area or where you are well away from roads or busy areas.
- Do not let the dog go up to other people or dogs and ensure that no one else pets the dog
- Pick up poo and dispose of it correctly. If bins are full, you must take it back and dispose of it in the owner’s bin.
Returning the dog
- Knock on the door, let the dog go and return back outside the gate. If that is not possible, step back with the dog at least 2m and do not let it go until the owner is there.
- If possible spend a couple of minutes telling the owner how the dog was and what you did.
- If you are walking the dog regularly, arrange the next day and time with the owner
- Remove and dispose of the gloves and wash your hands thoroughly
Additional Instructions when you are walking a dog owned by a shielded person or from a household where a person has the virus or is showing symptoms
- Unless the person lives alone, ask that another person opens the door and hands over the dog and takes it in after the walk
- Use a separate lead
- Wipe the dog with pet-safe disposable wipes or a clean damp cloth before and after the walk (use a different cloth before and after)
- Keep the dog on the lead at all times and keep at least 2m away from other people and dogs
- Never walk the dog with another dog, even your own
- Wash the lead and the cloths thoroughly with soap and water.
- § NEVER take or hand back the lead directly from/to the owner
- § NEVER walk a dog with another dog unless it is your own, and then only if you are certain that the dogs get on and you can maintain full control of both.
- § NEVER let the dog off the lead where there are other dogs or people nearby.
- § ALWAYS wear gloves and dispose of them and replace with new if you are going on to walk another dog.
- § ALWAYS wash your hands thoroughly before and after walking the dog