COVID-19: Pivot Your Dog Walking Meet & Greets to Comply with Social Distancing Protocols

Amidst a global coronavirus pandemic dog walkers have had to implement new safety measures. Part of that includes how to manage new client meet and greets as we navigate living with COVID-19. 

Some type of social distancing will likely be recommended for an extended period of time. While it's pretty easy to follow distancing protocols while on walks, what's the best way to handle meet and greets with new clients?

First, make sure you stay on top of your local Orders and comply with guidelines for businesses in your area. I've put together some suggestions, but make sure to do your due diligence to ensure they will work locally.

Now let's jump in and explore some options!

Screen Clients Over the Phone or on a Zoom Call

You probably already do some client screening prior to scheduling a meet & greet, either by email, phone or an online form submission. A lot of the questions you ask during a meet and greet can be addressed over the phone or via a Zoom call (or similar alternative), so that might be a viable option to minimize contact with clients. While you can't physically meet new dogs that way, you can get all the information you normally would during a meet & greet and go over policies and procedures as well as your service contract. This will help keep your in-person contact to a minimum.

Allow Online Submissions

If you don't already have online screening forms for potential clients to fill out, now is a good time to look into that and get them set up. Google forms and Jotform are just a couple options, and your website platform may also have forms built in. You can also look into ways clients can sign your service agreement online so you don't need to worry about getting a hard copy from them. 

Meet Outdoors + Require Face Masks

If you do the bulk of your screening via phone or Zoom, you'll only need a brief meeting to make sure the dog's temperament is as the client described. To minimize your exposure to coronavirus, meet outdoors, wear a mask, and require your prospective client to wear one too. Practice social distancing the entire time, and keep it brief. Since you've already collected the information you need, this is all about letting the client meet you briefly, assessing the dog's temperament and behavior and getting the dog comfortable with you. 

Take the Dog on a Trial Walk Without the Owner

After a brief introduction and no handshakes (that's going to feel so weird!), take the dog for a walk while the dog's owner stays home. That way the dog gets to know you and you can evaluate their behavior to ensure the dog is a good fit for you. 

Clearly Communicate the Process

When you speak with potential clients, let them know what to expect from the meet and greet process so things run smoothly and there are no surprises. Make sure to emphasize the steps you're taking to protect them and their pets too. Need ideas? Check out this post.