Dog walking may not sound like an actual job or career, but in today’s society where the majority of people own pets and have a need to have those pets walked; this is more than just a viable way to make money. Because so many dog owners have to work long hours, the need for someone to walk their dogs and get them out of the house for exercise and interaction is getting larger all the time.
There are many ways to get started in this fun and rewarding career. You don’t have to have any special schooling or training but having this certification or training can really boost your credibility and popularity. A true love and understanding of dogs is a must. Another important trait for you to have is a sincere level of comfort around all dogs, regardless of size or breed. Since you’ll be working with clients that have dogs of all sizes and kinds, the more you can learn about the individual breeds’ traits and even health problems.
The benefit to knowing about the common health problems the different breeds may have is that when you are walking the dogs each day, you can be on the watch for any issues or problems the dog may be having. Your clients will really appreciate the fact that you are so watchful of their pets. Catching problems early on can prevent high vet bills and stop a small health problem turning into a bigger and more serious one due to it not being caught when it first starts.
You should also know pet safety and have the knowledge to know what is safe and unsafe for your pet clients. For example, knowing that chocolate is never supposed to be given to a dog is an important thing to know when out walking in case a child comes up and offers a dog a candy treat they have or the dog finds chocolate that has been dropped on the ground. You never know what you could encounter on your walks, so knowing these safety measures can keep your pet clients safe in your care.
When you are just getting started as a dog walker, your friends and family will be your best bet. Although you are doing it for cash, you may consider asking one or two of them if you can walk their dogs regularly in exchange for a referral/reference for your new business. They will more than likely be happy to help you get started and no one needs to know that they aren’t paying you in cash but by referrals and references.
Even if your first one or two jobs are for references and referrals only be sure to treat them exactly the way you would your paying clients. Your reputation can make or break you, so make sure that people have nothing but great things to say about you and your work ethic and how you are with their cherished pets.
It is a good idea for you to know the layout of your city as well as the city’s laws when it comes to dogs and their walkers. Do they require insurance? Do the dogs need to be licensed? Where are the dog parks and regular parks that you and your pet clients can walk? The more you know about the city you’re working in the more prepared you will be and the less problems you will encounter.