How To Be A Dog Walker
If you love dogs you might consider setting yourself up as a dog walker. You don’t need any special skills or training, just a love of dogs of all shapes, breeds, sizes and temperaments.
What Do I Need To Be A Dog Walker?
You will need to be reasonably fit as obviously the job involves a lot of walking. In all weathers. (Dogs still need to be exercised when it’s raining or when ten inches of snow have fallen overnight). So if you scurry indoors at the first sign of a shower then perhaps this is not for you. But if your an outdoorsy kind of person then this should be a good fit for you.
Invest in some sturdy wellington boots, a waterproof jacket, gloves and a warm hat. Other things you will need are bags for poop scooping, bottles of water and drinking bowls, doggy treats and contact details for the owners in case of emergencies.
You will also need a car to pick up and drop off your charges and drive to the park or common. You can walk more than one dog at a time but make sure the dogs get along. You don’t want to be spending all your time breaking up fights and untangling leads. A waterproof sheet to protect your car seats and carpets from muddy paws is a good idea, as well as some kind of restraints to keep the dogs safe in the event of an accident. And do check your car insurance policy to ensure you are covered for any mishaps.
So How Do I Get Started?
A good place to start is to ask around in your neighbourhood and find out if any of your neighbours have a dog but work committments make it difficult for them to give their dog enough exercise. Or perhaps there is an elderly person who can no longer walk their pet due to failing health? This could lead to word of mouth recommendations for you from other neighbours, their friends or families.
Also, you could advertise on sites like Gumtree, or create a simple ad and place it in shop windows, veterinary surgeries, pet shops and schools (ask permission first though!) Social media is another great place to advertise your services, particularly Facebook. And none of these ads will cost more than a few pounds at the most.
Can I Scale It Up Into A Full Time Business?
Yes, absolutely! Dog walking has great potential for growth. From dog walking you could start to provide pet sitting services, either in your home or the client’s home. Visits can range from a few hours to just popping in to feed the dog or let him out in the garden to relieve himself.
You could also look at dog training. This would command a higher fee per hour than walking a dog but you may have to get a recognized qualification in dog training such as the one below; (if the link doesn’t work, copy and paste it into your browser)
Formal qualifications are not essential, but it would help with credibility and give pet owners confidence in you.
I hope you enjoyed reading this article. Next we will look at ‘flipping’ websites for money!