Want to Be a Dog Walker? Here’s What to Expect.

Photo credit: dog walker by dee_dee_creamer@flickr.com

We know a lot of pet industry entrepreneurs who got their start in the biz as a dog walker, either as a side job or student employment. Although in most cases you don’t have to have previous experience as a dog walker to get a job as a dog walker, you do need to be able to handle a variety of responsibilities and “non-negotiable” job requirements, such as:

  • Be consistently available during one or more time slots every day (e.g., 11am – 2pm or 4pm – 7pm), and have good time-management skills.
  • Be willing to commit to a certain period of time in the job, sometimes as long as a year.
  • Be willing and able to take on a variety of assignments, from Chihuahuas to Pit Bulls to Great Danes. (Not to mention cats, birds, reptiles, and small mammals.)
  • Be prepared to go out in all types of weather, and be able to get around on foot, by car, by bicycle, or by public transportation.
  • Be willing and able to administer medicine, put on dog booties or coats, and put out food and water as necessary.
  • Be able to respect client confidentiality and privacy expectations, and be comfortable running into clients if they are at home; discretion is the name of the game.
  • Be able to use your smartphone to check in with the head office and inform clients when dogs have been walked, and be willing to take pictures and post on social media, as appropriate. Many companies also require a smartphone for GPS/time tracking purposes.
  • Be willing to develop and practice solid dog handling skills, and be able to exercise good judgment during walks. No one is expecting you to be a Grand Master of Dog Walking when you first start out, but you should know how to handle a variety of dogs on leash.

Jump start your dog walking career with dog*tec’s Dog Walking Academy – classes are offered worldwide!

Compensation: you can expect to get paid around $6-10/walk, depending on duration and time of day. Weekend, evening, and holiday hours tend to have higher rates of pay.

Equipment: a sturdy leash, treats, poop bags, a good pair of walking shoes, and some sort of all-weather coat. Some companies may request that you wear a company logo shirt.

Pros: lots of fresh air and exercise (no desks!) and the acquisition of an impressive array of dog handling skills. You will also get to meet like-minded people (staff and other dog walkers), and owners will absolutely love you because you are allowing them to own a dog and work without feeling guilty.

Cons: holiday and evening hours, no health or vacation benefits, and being outside in all types of weather.