Dog walking is a fun, rewarding career that can offer flexible work hours and the chance to bond with animals. While this career can be done part-time, it’s best to pursue it full-time if you want to make it your primary source of income.
How to Become a Dog Walker
The most important qualifications for becoming a dog walker are passion and experience. The latter is a must because this job requires extensive time spent outdoors and interaction with dogs. It’s also helpful to have a background in animal behavior and training, or experience working with rescue pets.
A dog walker needs to be willing and able to provide a variety of services for a client’s pet, including feeding, administering medications, taking the dog on walks or to the vet, and practicing training methods with them. They should also be able to understand how the dog responds to certain commands and handle it accordingly, especially if there’s a behavioral issue.
Most dog walkers have a consistent schedule, and they usually see the same dogs over and over again. This consistency can be a big benefit to the walker as it can help them build a rapport with the animal and get to know its unique needs better.
When hiring a dog walker, look for a company that provides references from satisfied clients and has a good reputation in the community. Then, choose a dog walker with experience handling different breeds of dogs and a strong commitment to customer service.
What to Expect from a Dog Walker
In addition to ensuring the dogs have fresh water, food and are comfortable, dog walkers must take care of their own needs as well. They should wash their hands after each walk and wipe the paws of their dogs before they return home. This can be a tedious and physically demanding job, but it’s also a very important one.
You can work as a dog walker from your own home or as part of an established dog walking business. The former is a good option for people who want the independence of having their own workdays, while the latter may be more convenient for clients who need someone to come and go during specified times.
How to Be a Dog Walker
While there is no specific education requirement to become a dog walker, having a degree in animal sciences or animal first aid can improve your chances of getting a job. Other training options include attending pet-care classes, volunteering at a local animal shelter, or studying canine behavior and training techniques.
A passion for dogs is essential for becoming a dog walker or pet sitter. The more you learn about the different dog breeds and their characteristics, the more you can tailor your services to meet the individual needs of the dogs you walk.
Dog walkers typically have a minimum of six months of experience and are often certified through the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) or another recognized organization. Some dog walking companies also have certification courses that can teach you everything from how to handle various situations to basic health and safety skills.