Dog Walking Contract

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Dog Walking Contract

A Brief Introduction About the Dog Walking Contract

If you have a dog as a pet but don’t have the time to take the dog out for walks and attend to other responsibilities related to it, you need someone who is a professional in the dog walking business. When you engage a professional dog walker to take care of your pet dog, you need to enter into these contracts.

The contract will include the complete details of the services to be provided by the walker. The client will understand exactly what to expect from the walker, and any possible disputes will be avoided. When it comes to charges, pet sitting service contracts will specify whether the walker will charge by the hour, the special rates for weekends and holidays, charges for multiple pets and costs for cancellation or modification.

The contract should also include a disclaimer for liability where the walker will not be held responsible for damages that are due to the actions of the dog. Dog walker insurance is an important part of such contracts, and the conditions for claims should also be stated.

Who Takes the Dog Walking Contract – People Involved

Pet owners who don’t have the time to take care of their pets due to professional commitments need the services of a professional dog walker. The dog walker is a trained professional who charges fees for taking care of the various needs of the dog. In such contracts, the parties to the agreement are the pet owner and the dog walker.

Purpose of the Dog Walking Contract – Why Do You Need It

As the owner of a pet, you would like to hand over the responsibility of their care to someone who is a trained professional. The background of the dog walker needs to be checked and also if the person has an official dog walking business plan.

If the walker is irresponsible, then the dog may be exposed to danger, and its life could be at risk. The walker may not be trained in treating your pet well, and this could have severe consequences for the physical and mental wellbeing of your dog. There could be damage to your property due to negligence of the walker, and you will not be able to make any claim for damages in the absence of a contract.

The dog walker may not be regular in his or her duty, and it would become tough for you to find another walker at short notice. This would also affect you professionally as you would have to take time off from your work to get a suitable replacement for the walker. When it comes to a dog walker, the pet owner might regularly delay the payments due, and this would cause financial problems as this is their profession. Even though they have performed their tasks satisfactorily, they might not get paid on time and would not be able to take any action against the owner without a legal contract.

Contents of the Dog Walking Contract – Inclusions

The contents of a dog walking contract can be checked from dog walking forms available online. Every contract should have provisions to protect the interests of both parties to the agreement.

Here are the contents of a standard dog roaming agreement:

  • The names of the parties to the agreement, the walker and the customer or pet owner
  • The effective date from the agreement starts
  • Nature of employment: The walker is not an employee of the customer and agrees with an independent contractor
  • Responsibilities of both parties: The walker needs to take care of the pets with care and respect. The customer needs to provide all information regarding the pet as well as collars or leashes.
  • Walking other pets: The walker has the right to walk pets belonging to others, but there would be a limit to the maximum number of dogs being walked
  • Duration of the contract: The start and end date along with any provisions for cancellation and extension.
  • Notice for termination: Both parties to the agreement need to serve a written notice either through a letter or an email. The customer is liable to pay a certain percentage of the fee if the cancellation is made within 24 hours
  • Liability: The walker has professional liability insurance, and the customer cannot hold the walker responsible for any damage to his or her property
  • Indemnification: Neither party will be held responsible for any claims due to any negligent action
  • Emergencies: In the event of an emergency, the walker is to contact the customer at the number given in the contract. If that fails, the walker has the right to arrange for emergency medical treatment 

How to Draft the Dog Walking Contract – Points to Consider While Preparing the Agreement

You can refer to a dog walking contract template online if you want to prepare an official agreement. Modifications can be made to the template to suit your requirements.

Here are the points to be considered while drafting the agreement:

  • Meeting eligibility criteria: Both parties to the agreement should be competent to contract. They should not be under the influence of any drugs or be coerced to enter the contract
  • Consideration for the contract: What will be the fee charged by the dog walker to the customer and the basis of the same. Will it be on a per-hourly basis, rates for weekends and holidays and so on
  • Terms of the contract: The terms of the contract should be fair to both parties, and there should be no wrong intentions
  • Dispute resolution clause: If there is any dispute between the walker and the owner, then the process of resolution should be clearly stated including payment of attorney fees, the legal jurisdiction and so on
  • Termination clause: Along with the duration of the contract, there should be provisions for premature termination of the contract along with the notice period
  • Signatures: There should be adequate space for signatures of both parties, the walker and the customer
  • Governing law: The contract should be made by the laws of the state 

 Negotiation Strategy

As in the case of all other contracts, both parties should have a scope for negotiation in a dog walking contract. While the owner may check the average price charged by a dog walker and make an offer, it is up to the dog walker to decide whether to accept it or not. The dog walker may make a counteroffer and eventually, both may come to a mutually agreed fee.

Benefits & Drawbacks of the Dog Walking Contract

The benefits of a dog walking contract are as under:

  • Protection of interests of both parties: The interest of the pet owner and the dog walker are protected. The dog walker will get his or her fees, and the owner will be assured of the wellbeing of his or her pet
  • Extra income: The dog walker can walk dogs belonging to others at the same time. This means that the walker has scope for higher earnings than mentioned in the contract. However, there is a limit to the number of dogs that the walker can take out at a given time
  • Owner benefits: The owner can devote more time to his or her job or business when they have their peace of mind with regard to the safety of their pet. This means greater benefits for the owner in terms of salary or profits

Here are the drawbacks of a dog walking contract:

  • The risk for the pet: In the absence of a contract, the walker can put the pet at risk, and in extreme cases, this could be life-threatening
  • Leaving without notice: The walker may leave without providing any notice, and the owner will then have a difficult time finding a replacement
  • Damage to property: The walker will have to pay for damages caused by the dog if there is no contract

What Happens in Case of Violation of Dog Walking Contract?

There are several remedies available to both the owner and dog walker in case of violation of the agreement by either party.

Here are the remedies:

  • Monetary Compensation: The compensation payable by either party is mentioned in the contract, including the particular clause. Accordingly, the party who has violated the dog walking contract will have to compensate the other party
  • Restitution: This remedy can be availed of when it is found that the party responsible for violation of contract is not competent and therefore, the contract is void. The erring party has to return property or money given as part of the contract
  • Rescission: If one party is unable to execute the contract, then the other party is also relieved from fulfilling any duty under this agreement. The contractual obligations of both parties are annulled.
  • Reformation: If you seek this remedy, then the court will correct any disparity in the agreement. If the notice period is not sufficient or if the present situation demands that the consideration paid to the walker needs to be higher, then the court can reform the agreement.
  • Punitive damages: In cases where one party commits a deplorable act, these damages are awarded. In the case of these contracts, it could be willful negligence on the part of the walker causing harm to the dog.

A dog walking contract is important for both the pet owner and the dog walker. The pet owner can ensure that the dog is well taken care of by someone who is professionally trained. The walker offers professional services relating to caring for dogs and needs to be compensated at a certain minimum rate. To ensure both the interests of the dog walker and the pet owner are protected, the contract should include certain clauses.

The contract must include a termination clause so that if either party wants to end the contract, there is a provision to do so. The reasons could be a deficiency of service or non-payment of dues on time.

A dispute resolution clause ensures that both parties are aware of the process by which any dispute can be resolved. The contract must be made by the laws of the state to be valid. Both parties should read all the terms and conditions of the contract before agreeing.

[Also Read: Pet Addendum Agreement]