What every dog walker should know
If you’re starting a dog walking business, there are just certain things you should know, right? I’ve put together my list of things every dog walker should know, but I’d also like to hear from you. If you’re a dog walker, pet sitter or trainer or if you’ve ever hired one of these professionals, what would you add to the list?
1. You assume you’re being watched.
As an experienced dog walker, you assume there is always the possibility that someone has installed a “nanny cam” or some other type of camera in the home. People can even place gps devices on their dogs to make sure the dogs get walked. This is not an issue for you, because you take your job seriously regardless of whether or not anyone is “watching.” You also treat the client’s home and property with respect.
2. You know someone could be in the home.
You knock every single time you enter a client’s home because you know sooner or later someone will be home and it’s best not to just barge in on that person. Sooner or later you’ll still walk in on something awkward even though you knocked, but that’s for another post. 🙂
3. You know not to judge pet owners.
If you’re starting a dog walking company, you must work with a variety of pet owners and most of them will not treat their dogs exactly the way you treat yours. That’s OK. Dogs deal with it. They adapt. Dog walkers get used to different dog training collars and feeding different diets and disciplining or rewarding certain behaviors. As long as the dog is happy and safe, you learn to accept and embrace that we all treat dogs differently and usually that’s OK.
4. You’re always calm and in control on walks.
You’re always on the watch for others dogs, but you aren’t tense or nervous about it. You know to keep the leash loose and to calmly do a “u-turn” when necessary. Even if the dog you’re walking is reactive to other dogs, no one would know it because you’re ahead of the game, always preventing stressful encounters. You know to gently but firmly block the dog you’re walking from lunging at other dogs by using your body. You also know how to break eye contact between dogs. All of this is second nature. You don’t have to think about it.
5. You know the importance of staying in touch with clients without being annoying.
You learn to read each client. Some prefer a text after every single walk, and you’re happy to do so. Some love to see a photo. Some want to hear how far you walked, others only care about how the dog behaved. Some just want to know their dogs are happy and cared for. You adjust to each client, keeping in touch with each individual to match that person’s comfort level.
I’m sure there are plenty of other things professional dog walkers should know, but these are some of the most important to me.
Whether you are a dog walker or not, what would you add to the list?