Frequently Asked Questions & Safety

How do I connect with dog owners or helpers on the website?

All members to dogshare (whether paid or not) have access to 'Find Matches" which is a map that shows you dog owners and helpers in your local area. We do not collect specific address details from our members, just a suburb, so all locations are general in nature.

Once you have completed a profile yourself, you can also view the profiles of local dog owners and helpers.

How do I find a dog helper to assist me with my dog?

If you are keen to access our volunteer cohort make sure you have the option "Find non-dog owners to assist with my dog" ticked in your profile and you will be able to view dog helpers on your Find Matches map also. They are represented by a green person icon on the map.

How is my information used and shared and with who?

The information in your profile is available for other users of the website to see. This includes your name, profile picture, suburb, and 'what you are looking for' along with your dogs details (if you have one).

Your email address and mobile is not visible on the website, nor is it provided to other members at any time.

I don't need any help but would like to make local friends with Dogshare.

Good one! Lots of our members use Dogshare to find a walking buddy, or to help find a couple of local dogs that you can socialise with without having to brave the dog park. In these circumstances, you may never 'leave' your dog in the care of someone else and that is totally fine! In your profile, tick the park playdate and walking options and make it clear in your description that you are looking for a walking buddy (someone you can share dog walks with) or looking to create a few 'tried and tested' dog-friends for your dog.

How long does it typically take to find a match with Dogshare?

Generally between 3 - 6 months. If you don't have this amount of time to wait for a match then we suggest we are not the right fit for you.

I feel uncomfortable about the idea of a stranger looking after my dog.

It's really important to remember that Dogshare is just one of many potential options available to you as a dog owner. It may well be that your dog, or you, are not suited to our platform... and that's OK!

We want you to find the best solution for your needs. If you've got a dog that is challenging to walk on lead, you will probably be better off with a professional dog walker. Or spending further time with your local trainer working on your on-lead walks. If you've got a dog that isn't particularly social with other dogs, please don't force them into 'play', it's not necessary! Not every dog is social. Our job as owners is to listen to them and respond to their needs.

Note: We have a business listing service for professional dog walkers, sitters, and trainers - these businesses must have their own ABN and Insurance to list with us. You can find them in 'Find Matches' (this is a members-only area) by using the 'business' filter. Would you like to see more functionality around local dog-centric businesses? Shoot us a note at hello@dogshare.com.au we would love to hear your ideas!

Another service that is available to dog owners for walks or care is pet sitting websites such as Mad Paws, Pet Cloud or Pawshake. These platforms are 'booking platforms' whereby you can pay for a walker or minder to look after your dog (at your place, or at theirs) for a fee. We differ greatly from these services as all of our members at Dogshare are volunteers. They aren't paid for their time or effort which we think makes them pretty amazing and certainly here for a genuine love of dogs. However, unlike a booking platform, we would greatly discourage you from ever leaving your dog in the care of someone that you haven't spent appropriate time getting to know and trust.

Getting back to the idea of 'strangers', the idea with Dogshare is that you meet people locally and continue talking to them and meeting them (several on-lead walks is ideal for this!) until you reach a point where you feel you know them adequately enough to feel confident in their ability and trustworthy enough to follow the instructions you have provided for the dog in their care.

How many times should I meet a member on Dogshare before letting them walk my dog?

The answer to this varies greatly on the members involved, but we would highly recommend that you have a minimum of 3-4 in-person meetings before you even consider leaving your pet in someone's care. There is a lot to cover and we think the best way to talk through this is through a series of on-lead walks where you can really get to know one another. Some topic suggestions for your walks are:

- Get to know each other! This is a genuine human connection thing, how long have you both lived in the area, what are your favourite walking trails, what do you both love about dogs

- Chat about your dog(s) This conversation could go on forever if you've found a true dog lover! What are their funny quirks, where are you at with training, what type of personality does the dog have with other dogs

- Get specific around safety - It's really important for both parties to disclose any potential safety risks here. For dog owners, you'll need to let people know if your dog is; a runner (note: we highly recommend dogs are always kept on lead when being cared for by another member), can contort out of their collar, poos 75 x per walk, has a habit of chewing through leads, is no good in the car, finds children overwhelming, can pull heavily on the lead, will chew things around the house, is a bigtime backyard digger, can jump fences, etc etc. You know your own dog and the things to 'watch for' so remember to disclose ALL this information. It is your duty to do so. For dog helpers: Be really honest about your experience with dogs and level of understanding and capability - We already ask for some of this information in your profile, but again, get really specific - is your house and backyard dog friendly, what could be potential hazards? How much experience have you had walking a dog, what do you do when approaching another dog on lead, what is the plan if something goes wrong - i.e. the dog is unwell, gets injured or somehow escapes.

- When you are ready, you might like to jot down the specifics of the care that is to be provided. It's a great thing to have in writing so it's really clear for both parties what is needed, expected and agreed upon for the dog in care - however short that care might be.

As you progress with your on-lead walks, if you still aren't feeling comfortable with the relationship (either party!) then there is no obligation to proceed further. You can politely let people know that your circumstances have changed and you don't want to progress further. It must feel right for both parties!

What are the costs involved?

It costs $20 to activate your profile for the first time and then it's $5 per month (billed quarterly) - you can snooze your profile at anytime, which takes an immediate pause to your payments. This applies to all metropolitan postcodes.

How do I know how many members are in my area?

You can join for a free account and access our 'Find Matches' map which will show you the members located in your area. Look for members listed with a small green dot in their profile picture, these are members who are actively seeking a match for providing or receiving assistance.

What if something happens to my dog whilst in someone else’s care?

You should discuss emergency veterinary care with your dog-match before you leave your dog with anyone. This includes your local vet details, emergency contact numbers and any other preferences to vet care you may have (i.e. call me first then vet, etc). As a general rule of thumb, emergency veterinary treatment is just that – an emergency. Get the dog to the vet, ask questions later. Responsible dog owners would never question that logic.

You must keep in mind that the relationship you strike up with your new dog-match is no different to meeting someone at the local dog park. The success of the Dogshare concept relies on users to do their research, use best judgment and realise that like the real-world every interaction we make carries a small element of risk. So de-risk your own situation by spending adequate time building up trust with your new dog loving pals.

If you suspect that someone doesn't have the right attitude, or isn't displaying good respect for a dog's well-being then please report this to us at hello@dogshare.com.au.

What about Insurance?

Dogshare is an emerging IT platform that facilitates the introduction of dog-lovers and dog-walkers for the benefit of both parties. We think of ourselves as matchmakers, like dating applications.

Our services are limited to the introduction of both parties and as we outline in our terms and conditions, you agree that we are not liable for any subsequent events which are outside of our control once the introduction has been made. We include a screening process of dog-owners and dog-walkers and are always looking at ways to improve. We’ve also had zero incidents reported since we began in 2015.

Dogshare’s insurance policy covers our business, which is the development and operation of an IT application. This insurance is not designed for any injury or property damage that is outside of our control. If a claim is made, our insurer will consider each claim based upon its merit.

We recommend taking out cover with your respective home and contents insurer as most policies have allowances for third party property damage and personal injury under the liability section of your domestic policy.

We are developing an insurance product that will have allowances for third party property damage and personal injury and even vet bills, which will be available to purchase as an optional “add-on” to every membership and renewal. We hope to one day have this available, but it will be a user pays add-on and as I’m sure you can appreciate, Insurance doesn’t come cheap and we’ve not seen significant appetite for this product from our customers just yet… but we are always listening to your feedback!

Please do take your time to build good connections using Dogshare and ensure you have established trust and feel confident and capable with the dog you are considering helping. We encourage users to start off with a dog trainer to help you navigate those first meetups and feel confident with another dogs’ behaviour.

What if there are no dogs in my area?

We have enough coverage in most metropolitan areas that there is a member in either your exact postcode, or a postcode immediately adjoining yours - but please check coverage first before signing up to make sure there is a current demand. Our coverage is better in highly built-up areas (inner city) and so if you are on the city fringe and curious about Dogshare, please send us a note and we can chat with you about your particular area to make sure it's going to be a fruitful endeavor for you. We will also commit to recruiting new members in any area that is 'light' for memberships when someone joins our family.

If you are in an area where there are no fees (All postcodes outside Metro areas) then you certainly haven’t lost anything by signing up and being the first in your area. You will need to check back every so often to see if new dogs have registered in your area.

Questions about using the Dogshare platform can be found here: https://www.dogshare.com.au/ho...

Do you have anything you would like to ask? Email us and we will do our best to answer any curly questions and add them to this list.