10 Step Safety Checklist

Dogshare Safety Checklist

  1. Create an honest profile: The best profiles include lots of great information about you, your background and experience with dogs and what you are looking for. Friendly ‘selfie’ profile pictures also go a long way to building trust, something that is very important when beginning any new relationship. . If you aren’t confident walking big strong dogs, it’s important not to put yourself in a situation where this might happen! Putting this information into your profile will help avoid these situations. Likewise, if you’ve got a dog that is still working on something or has shown previous fear towards something – you have a duty to your best mate to disclose this information, so everyone knows what they are getting into. Safety for everyone involved is the number one priority and you are responsible for your own safety and the safety of others who you meet. Feel free to re-read our T&Cs if you need a refresher on the obligations you signed up to.
  2. Shortlist potential candidates using the Find Matches map to find suitable matches that will potentially suit your requirements. Consider location, activity status, what the user is looking for (you can also filter for this within the map search) and the suitability of any pairing based on your own needs and capabilities.
  3. Introduce yourself Most people prefer introductions that start with a polite introduction and then move into why you think you would be a good potential pairing. Remember, just because you want to meet up with someone, they are not obligated to meet you if they don’t think the pairing is suitable – so go to some effort to tell them about you and how you think you might be able to help one another. Here are some examples:
  4. Keep chatting online – Online is a great, safe way to get to know your potential match so try to keep the conversation going! Great conversation starters are to talk about any dogs involved – what are they like, do they have any funny quirks, how old are they, etc. It’s important that you feel comfortable with your match at this level before considering a meet-up in real life. It’s up to you if you want to exchange phone numbers at this point, some of our members find it easier to have a discussion on the phone rather than chatting online – another great, safe way to get to know your match.
  5. Outline any specific documentation you would like to view – Some of our members like to have an additional layer of safety that would request some personal identification, for example, you could ask to view a working with children check, a driver’s license, etc. Be respectful, the need for this type of documentation is up to you and your match. For us, building personal connections is way more important than any documentation so we would prefer you focus on spending real time connecting, but everyone is different and at the end of the day – this is your journey – we are just here to provide the technology and community to enable it!
  6. Organise your first meet-up – If you are meeting up with a dog owner and helper, we highly recommend you do this as a walk. It’s a safer and less distracting environment than a park and allows you to ‘walk and talk’ getting to visibly see the dog in question and how they behave on lead with the owner present. If you are meeting as two dog owners, you can take it in turns to do this with just one dog at a time. It’s a really nice way to get to know one another and see some of the dog’s personalities before introducing two dogs together.
  7. Not feeling it? If things aren’t feeling right, move on to your next match. You are the best judge of character and if the pairing doesn’t feel right, just politely let the other person know that your needs have changed, or this isn’t the right pairing for your dog / you.
  8. Want some expert help? Getting a local trainer involved is a fantastic idea too! Particularly if you need to scrub up on your dog handling skills. Dog training (it’s human training really!) has come a long way since the age where we thought we needed to be ‘dominant over our dogs. There are some fantastic positive-based trainers around who you can engage to teach you the basics of dog care and handling and help you navigate the Dogshare experience. Let us know if you would like a local trainer recommendation.
  9. Are things going well? Keep asking questions! Keep up those walks with your match and be sure to ask key questions like habits of the dog you should know about, and limitations in your knowledge or capability with dogs too! Exchange emergency contact details (A secondary contact number, Local Vet, or other emergency contacts)
  10. House / Backyard Checks: If dogs are going to be cared for at someone’s home – be sure to do a house/backyard check to ensure it’s a safe environment.

Remember that everyone here in the Dogshare community is a volunteer which we think makes them pretty paw-some! But it does come with its own set of considerations and precautions. So above all, take your time and work on developing real friendships that you can trust!

Photo by Veronika Jorjobert on Unsplash