It’s no secret over here at Stay Classy Canton that we’re dog fanatics. We don’t hesitate to hold yappy hours, slide pictures of our pups into the blog more often than we’d like to admit, and provide support to organizations and companies that are all about helping Cantonites live better with their furry friends.
When we heard about a start-up in Washington, D.C. and Baltimore that provided on-demand dog walks through a mobile app, we had to meet the owners and give it a spin around the block. Two dog walks later, here are four things to know about Barkly’s on-demand dog walking app.
For those on-the-go: you can book and get a walk in under an hour
When it comes to remembering to schedule dog walks, I tend to strike out. Most dog walking businesses require you to schedule your walks well in advance and in some cases stick to a weekly schedule. You can do all that with Barkly, but they’ve also kept in mind the on-the-go and absent-minded dog parent. Right now the app allows you to schedule walks for a three-hour time slot (i.e. 11 a.m. – 2 p.m.), but you can usually schedule and get a walk in less than an hour. I tested this concept on a recent weekday and scheduled a walk for the 11 a.m to 2 p.m. timeslot at 11:15 a.m. The dog walker dispatched to my house (it is random, based on which available walker is located closest to your house, kind of like Uber) showed up to my house a little after noon.
You can rest easy. The owners meet and vet every dog and every walker
An Uber for dog walkers? Who are these people that show up at your house? Barkly has a rigorous dog walker on-boarding system that includes a background check and observation on their first walk. Barkly also comes to meet your dog when you sign up for the app.
Approved walkers who are dispatched to walk your pup can get access to your house either through a lockbox attached to your house, or if you’re like me and have a guest key code for entry, you can send the code directly to to them in the notes section of the app. For safety, I’ll probably change the code every couple of walks.
Prices are average.
Prices for Barkly, if walks are scheduled in advance, are on par with the rest of the dog walking groups I’m familiar with around Canton. For your dog to get a private walk, you pay $16 for a half hour walk if you schedule your dog walk via the app 24 hours in advance. A few years back I paid $12 for a half hour walk that was not private, but that service has since upped their cost, and I’ve struggled to find a dog walking company that charges less than $14 a walk.
On-demand walks are on the pricier side; my half hour walk for one dog was $22. It’s not something I’d do every day, but when I get stuck at work or brunch it’s worth the relief.
What else I got for the price: text updates from my walker (including photos on their walk), a post-walk note about how it went, if she went #1 or #2, etc., and a map that showed me where my walker went during their walk. The map of my pup’s most recent walk is below.
The app is still in Beta, but available now. And, it holds a lot of promise.
Barkly is a still a start-up: their Beta app is only launched in Washington, D.C. and Baltimore for now and they built a web-based application that currently works on Android and iPhones alike. Instead of heading to the app store to download it, you can head to their website to get started. From there, you just save the website to your homescreen and it functions just like any other app. Eventually, you’ll be able to find Barkly in app stores, but for now the owners are just looking for new users and feedback. We at Stay Classy think Barkly holds lots of promise, so much so that we got a promotional code for new users to get a free first walk: StayClassy.
When it comes to an on-demand walk service that keeps your pup happy even on your busiest of days, we think Barkly is barking up the right tree.