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How much money does a professional dog walker make?

How much money do dog walkers make?

If you want to start a dog walking service or similar business, sooner or later someone will ask something like, “Oh, do you actually make money?”

I met a guy through a friend over the weekend, and he asked me what most normal people ask:

“What do you do?”

Usually my response to this question is something like, “I have a pet sitting business, and I take dogs walking and running.”

Woman and black lab sitting in a field in the North Dakota badlands

I’m not very good at promoting myself during these conversations, so I usually feel like my response is kind of lame. I’m painfully shy and awkward, so I try to avoid small talk. It’s why I write, instead.

What do I do?!

I have the best job in the world! I hang out with dogs all day, taking them on crazy outdoor adventures. I run up to 80 miles per week, and when I’m not running, I write about dog behavior on one of the world’s top dog blogs.

That’s what I do.

But that’s not exactly how I say it.

“Oh, I own a pet sitting business where I walk dogs.”

And usually, people look at me like they are really impressed by this, or they assume I have some other part-time job.

This guy I met on Friday said what most people probably think but don’t actually say:

“Is that a lucrative thing?”

I’ve had a handful of people actually ask this question over the years, and I find it extremely offensive because it implies I must be struggling or unsuccessful.

And I don’t have a good response.

“It’s awesome. I’ve been doing it for three years. People are crazy about their pets,” is what I said Friday.

I can think of a few other responses that may or may not have been appropriate.

And so, for dog walkers, pet sitters, dog trainers – heck, any kind of “small” business owner out there, how do you respond to these kinds of questions?

Sooner or later someone will ask, “So do you actually get paid to _________?”

The reason this question irritates me is the person sees nothing wrong with asking. People find it appropriate to ask how much money I make through dog walking and through blogging, maybe because they are afraid to admit they could turn their own hobbies into actual careers. It’s easier for them to believe they are better off at their current job.

I know it is not worth the energy to dwell on someone who can’t understand the value of what I offer. Most people just can’t understand. I should appreciate that they care enough to show some interest in what I do.

So I am making a point to focus my energy on what I can control and to focus on what I do best – write, create, care, exercise some pooches and make the best of each day.

Thank you to all who read my blog and to all who leave their animals in my care.

The photo of Ace and I is from a few years ago. It’s one of my favorites. We were backpacking in the North Dakota badlands. I love how dogs lead us on these types of adventures.

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