So you want to be a dog walker?

Susan's picture

 If you visit my facebook page, you might see some pictures of me and the dogs that I walk and you might think to yourself " Hey, that looks like a fun job!" Trust me it can be very fun and walking 10 or 12 miles every day has it's health benefits too.

Living in a college town, it's common to see ads and flyers and online offers for dog walking services.

I don't worry about the competition from these college kids, but I do think you should know the real facts about making dog walking a career choice and what to look for if you are shopping for a dog walking service.

First of all, how reliable is the walker?

 I walk in ALL the weather, because the dogs need me. I can't call in for a snow day, ice storm or on rainy days. The dog still needs to poop!

How long is the walk and where will it be?

How many dogs will they be walking at a time?

 I walk one dog at a time ( unless they are house mates) and I take them on public and private trails. I pay an annual membership to the local land conservancy so I can walk dogs there. I have to keep them on a leash and I have to pick up after them. Sometimes that means carrying a bag of poop for an hour or until we can find a receptacle. The duration of the walk depends on the age,health and activity level of the dog, but ranges from 30 to 60 minutes.

How experienced is the walker with dogs?

 Loving animals and growing up with a few pets is nice, but will the walker know what to do if your dog starts limping, has diarrhea, or tries to pick a fight with another dog on the trail?

What if a loose dog starts chasing you? What if a group of kids wants to come pet the dog? What if the leash breaks or slips out of your hand? What if the dog slips out of it's collar? What if the dog bolts out the door when you arrive? or worse, won't even let you into the house?

Is your walker insured or bonded?

 If you are taking dogs off the owners property, your car insurance doesn't cover dogs.

 I carry a policy that includes care, custody and control. I am also a legal corporation, so I deal with things like payroll, SS and disability, unemployement benefits and best of all taxes. Yes, dog walking is a taxable service in my state.

 So while it might seem like an easy way to make a few bucks, the responsibility and liability of caring for someones fur baby is HUGE.