So You Want To Be a Dog Walker
Every Dog Walker’s Guide To A Walking, Happy And Safe Pack
If you run a pet sitting business, then you already know that walking dogs is part and parcel of that business. Indeed, for a number of pet care professionals, taking other people dogs out for their daily walks is possibly the only service they provide, particularly when all they want is to earn some extra cash.
Whether you are a full time or a part time pet care provider, being a professional dog walker comes with a host of advantages, as you are likely well aware. You have a measure of freedom to choose your own hours, are part of a growing and exciting business field, plus you don’t need a significant financial investment. Of course that’s not forgetting the fact that you get to meet a wide variety of canine buddies and forge unique friendships with each and every one of them.
With so many positive aspects to dog walking, it may seem easy to think there’s only an up side. Unfortunately, quite the opposite can prove to be true! For professional dog walkers, planning the route, caring for the safety of the dog or dogs you are walking and dealing with a good spot of trouble-shooting along the way can have even experienced dog walkers looking for a little advice.
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We don’t have time here to deal with every possible scenario you may face, but let’s at least take a look at a few of the most vital aspects to a day in the life of a professional dog walker.
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Planning The Doggy Route
Knowing your neighborhood is vital. Knowing your dogs is crucial. If you have a variety of dogs to walk you will need to group them accordingly. For example, you may be able to walk a few ‘handbag’ dogs on the leash in a quiet residential area in the morning. However, if your afternoon shift includes a bouncy Boxer, an energetic Lab and, dare we say it, a springy Springer, your morning route may not swing it! If you are offering a leash walk option and an off leash option, routes should be planned accordingly. In general, leash walks should avoid areas of heavy traffic, building work, children’s play areas or other places where distractions are galore. If you are offering an off leash choice, double check that the area you plan to use is safe with no risks of a runaway dog making it to a road or other place of danger. Never underestimate the acceleration of a pooch on a mission!
Keeping The Pooches (And Yourself) Safe
One of the first things to mention here is vaccinations. It may seem like an obvious one, but it can easily be overlooked. Make sure that every dog you walk has all the necessary and up to date, jabs, including Kennel Cough. You should also check that each dog has been treated for worms and fleas at the appropriate intervals. Once you are sure your pack is walk-worthy it’s time to get on the move. Just be sure you have emergency telephone numbers for the owner of each dog, including instructions for what to do in the case of an emergency if the owner is unavailable.
What Every Dog Walker Should Do (And Not Do)
A professional dog walker needs to have a passion for canines, that’s really where it all starts. However, as many of you likely already know, this alone will not guarantee an enjoyable and successful career. Professional dog walkers need a solid understanding of canine behavior. This may require a professional qualification or a lot of self-study, whichever method a dog walker chooses, gaining such an understanding is not optional, it’s a necessity. There’s also the option of individual walks versus group walks, leash walks or an off-leash option. Ultimately it’s up to each dog walker which choice they offer, much will depend on their locality, as well as their experience. Just be sure, as a dog walker, you are always clear on what service you are actually offering to each client. Speaking of such matters, whether you are just starting-up or are already an old-hand, have you got yourself liability insurance? This provides an affordable level of protection, essential when dealing with a variety of canine personalities.
Why Being A Dog Walker Is The Best Job Ever
Well, perhaps not THE best job ever, but it’s pretty cool. It’s true that being a professional dog walker comes with quite a number of challenges. However, by addressing them head on and having a hands-on approach to offering the best service in your area, it’s more than possible to enjoy significant job satisfaction, a successful and healthy income, and a whole lot of doggy delights!
… And one last thing. As a savvy pet business owner, it’s a really good idea to ensure that you carry a pet insurance. Such policies are affordable in terms or expenditure, and invaluable when you consider the protection they offer.