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Five things experienced dog walkers should know

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.

Five things every dog walker should know

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?


Sunday 18th of January 2015

These are great tips! I also suggest being knowledgeable about the closest emergency vet, and having some items that you always take with you. For example, in the Summer I always bring water, and all year I make sure to carry a back-up slip leash in case the dog's own gear has a malfunction or we encounter a stray/runaway, as well as natural dog biscuits in case anyone needs particular coaxing in a surprise situation

Lindsay Stordahl

Sunday 18th of January 2015

Yes, the emergency vet info is good info to have on hand. An extra leash in the car is good too. I don't have an extra leash on me during the actual walks, but I have one in my car I can grab if the owner for some reason doesn't have one. It's happened a few times!


Wednesday 4th of December 2013

#1 for sure, in and outside. But I use it like a two way form of communication. For example, if the dog is getting only 2 visits a day and i show up to find poop on the floor, I run commentary about how sorry I am that their owner only wanted two visits and gave him no option but to go inside. Maybe next time they'll get three. Or if they say I'm supposed to feed or give them pills, and they aren't out or in the location specified on their profile i'm like "how am I supposed to feed you canned food when I can't find any in the house! Do your owners expect me to go through all of their drawers to find it!" I hope they're listening :)

Lindsay Stordahl

Thursday 5th of December 2013

Ha! Yes, that's a good point. I've been in a few of those situations myself :)


Sunday 24th of November 2013

Great list!

I would only add - Give the dog lots of treats! - But then I'm a dog! Tee Hee

I hope you're having a fun day,

Your pal Snoopy :)


Friday 22nd of November 2013

#1, and #2 sounds like the basics #3 is so hard!! #4 and #5 will make the dog walker/sitter super to me.... :)

I have been visiting dog boarders and gave never had the opportunity to observe them walking the dog.

Alfie - Alfie's Blog

Friday 22nd of November 2013

Pawsome tips! My human would definitely want to know how long I was out for and where we went *Waggy tail*

Lindsay Stordahl

Friday 22nd of November 2013

Yes, I'd want to know that as well if someone were walking Ace.