dog with stick

7 Ways to Become a Successful Dog Walker

You love dogs and walking and need some extra cash, so why not combine it all and start a dog walking business?

As easy as this may sound, there are some steps you should know in order to start off on the right foot. Check out our 7 ways to become a successful dog walker.

dog with stick

1. Must Love/Know Dogs

It’s one thing to “love” dogs from afar, but when it comes to walking them, it can be a challenge. Before you embark on a dog walking adventure, we suggest;

  • Doing some research on the net into the common breeds
  • Volunteering to walk dogs at your local shelter to gain experience when it comes to walking dogs. If you have friends or neighbors with dogs offer to walk those, as well…you can never have too much experience.
  • Learning about canine posturing to avoid incidents
  • Having a good basis of dog handling
  • Knowing dog socialization techniques

The more knowledge you have about dogs, the more confident folks will be leaving their pets in your care.

emotional support animals

2. Is There a Demand?

Whether you live in a big city or a small community, knowing if there’s a demand for a dog walker is key. Look through your local ads, public bulletin boards, veterinarians and the animal shelter to see if there are already ads placed for this service or ask around about known dog walkers. If there is, that doesn’t mean you can’t start a dog walking business, it just means you may have some competition.

3. Start Off Small

Don’t overload yourself with numerous dogs when you first start out. Gaining experience in handling one or two dogs successfully is more important than mishandling several.

This is also a great time to enlist the help of those friends, family and neighbors we mentioned earlier. Whether you charge them full-price, a fraction of what you want or just do it on a volunteer basis, the experience and the word-of-mouth advertising you will receive is priceless.

exercise with dog

4. Get Your Name Out There!

You can’t run a successful dog walking business if no one knows you’re out there, so advertise, advertise and advertise some more.

Even if you don’t have a ton of expendable cash on hand just yet, advertising doesn’t have to be expensive.

 

First. Make up a professional-looking flyer on your computer (no handwritten ones).

Second. Distribute these to people you know (and give a few extra for people they know).

Third. Ask if you can leave your flyers with the local rescue group, veterinarians and pet retailers.

Fourth. Pin the flyer onto public bulletin boards.

Fifth. Many local city web sites have a classified section that can be advertised on for free, so put your info up there with a professional-reading ad.

5. Know Your Limits

It may be exhilarating when you have calls coming in from many clients, but know your limits. Having too many dogs can make controlling them more difficult. Plus, giving each one the time and attention the pet parent is paying for, and the canine deserves, gets even harder.

Additionally, know your limits as to which clients you can take on. If you have difficulty walking large breeds, those that are more rambunctious or non-compliant to your commands, then you may want to leave those pets to another walker.

Giving your client’s the best service is paramount, whether that means doing your best or referring them to another dog walker.

 

6. Know Your Walking Areas

Although, dog parks are very popular spots for people to let their dogs off-leash, being at the dog park with other people’s canines may not be the best choice. Some pet parents do not have or feel they need to control their dogs at these locations, so there’s a higher risk of incidents happening. Finding less populated places to walk your crew can be less stressful for both you and the dog(s). In addition, some places in the world get very hot during the midday hours, so be aware of walking during this time. If a client needs the dog walked during hot weather, be sure to go to shaded areas and bring plenty of water.

Remember: Avoid if you can, but plan when in demand.

dog in sun

7. The Extras

When starting out a dog walking business, you will have to establish your rates. If you can, check with other dog walkers in your area to see what they are charging to get a gauge on the rate. In bigger cities or those with a higher income ratio, you can charge from $10 to $20 for a half hour, $20 to $40 for a full hour.

Some cities may also insist you have a license to start a dog walking business. A simple call to your “city hall” will tell you if this is required.

Once you start getting a number of clients you may also want to look into dog walking insurance. Some insurance brokers are now carrying this type of liability claim service, so research around to see what they cover and the monthly fee. Having both of these will only make your dog walking service more desirable to potential and long-term clients.

A standard contract should also be written up. This doesn’t have to be fancy, but it should include the dates, times of walking, and your rate. Plus, there should be portion where the pet parent signs verifying that the canine has been vaccinated, microchipped or with proper collar-tags and that they will be liable for any property damage their dog may do.

Dog Walk Your Way to Success

Being a great dog walker can be a lucrative business. Follow these helpful tips and ways to dog walk your way to success.

 

About the Author: Sandie lee is a regular contributor to the The Pet God. She enjoys writing informational articles to help pet parents everywhere. She hails from a small town in Ontario Canada, with her three rescue cats, two goldfish and a hubby of 20 years. Check out her latest article about wireless dog fences.

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2 replies
  1. eric
    eric says:

    The Top Best Dog Food for Chihuahua
    Chihuahua’s size are normally in small, but they could be ravenous when it comes to food. The best dog food for Chihuahuas are the kind that contains nutrients for strong bones, shiny coats, and respiration improvement. The last one can be a bit tricky to find, but we’ll give you a few of the best options for the top dog food for Chihuahuas.
    How to select Dog Food for Chihuahuas breeds
    Like most dogs, Chihuahua will eat almost anything. They are not a picky breed. They may be tiny, even if they are teacup Chihuahuas, toy Chihuahuas, or mini Chihuahuas. Their appetites can be huge because of their energy levels. You can feed them the best dog food you can find, but sometimes you’ll need to look into it some more. Here are some points to consider when choosing the best dog food for a Chihuahua:
    Anatomy Consideration
    Chihuahuas fall under the toy dog or small breed category because they don’t grow larger than 8 inches at the withers. The ratio of food to the size and weight of their body must be adequate, but not too much that they will become overweight.
    Chihuahuas also have small mouths, which makes it difficult for them to eat large pieces of kibble. Their stomachs are also tiny, which means they can only eat a certain amount of dog food.
    They need more protein for muscle repair because Chihuahuas can be very energetic and intense when they’re playing. They also like running long distances and agility exercises. So, when you choose dog food, calorie levels are important to consider.
    Health Concerns
    Chihuahuas are also prone to periodontitis. The teeth and gum disease can be quite painful, and the only way to know it’s there is to check the dog’s teeth. You can also tell that there may be a problem when they refuse to eat kibble. Chihuahuas with periodontitis usually eat wet dog food, regardless of the pain they feel.
    Aside from tooth and gum disease, Chihuahuas are also prone to tracheal torsion or collapse. It happens when your Chihuahua starts to make a honking sound instead of their regular bark.
    The only way to deal with it is through surgery, but the immediate response to an emergency incident is to massage the front part of the neck. Do this until your Chihuahua calms down enough and the trachea starts to relax again.
    I mention tracheal torsion because feeding your Chihuahua large bits of kibble may trigger it or they may choke on their food if they experience tracheal collapse while eating. This means that you should probably consider a smaller type of kibble.
    Nutrition Requirements
    Apart from the teeth and respiratory issues, the Chihuahua is considered to be one of the healthiest dog breeds. They grow fast, their bodies are lean, and they are very energetic. However, their stomachs can be sensitive, especially if they’ve only eaten dog food all their life.

    Reply

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