- Why Wag! and Rover Aren’t So Hot
Here's how they work: The apps connect dog owners with individuals who are paid to either walk or board your dog. Wag and Rover say their workers undergo an extensive vetting process, but with 50,000 and 80,000 care providers, respectively, it's really up to user reviews to determine the merits of individual walkers or sitters. The innovation is convenient on-demand service, not a higher level of care than what was already available.
There are online quizzes for applicants to take, but there is no in-person witnessing by representatives from either company to assess animal handling ability and skill. Customers select dog walkers and pet sitters in a manner similar to how one chooses an Uber or Lyft driver: looking at starred ratings and availability. A meet-and-greet of the animals with someone who already knows them is not a standard procedure (but they can schedule them). In any case, there is the possibility that strangers are coming into your home. The potential for an attack or a frightened animal that runs away remains high, and in fact, has actually happened to walkers for each company. Walkers for both Wag! and Rover have lost dogs.
Both companies have downplayed their responsibility and have hired attorneys to mitigate any damage to their brands. Wag! has even served one owner whose dog was lost with a cease and desist letter after she publicly complained about the company's handling of the situation on social media.
We have had several customers say they tried these dog walking apps, but their experience is that the "convenience" comes at the price of potentially incompetent care.