So you want to become a dog-walker? Of course you do, dogs are great! What could be better than walking a dog, getting to play with them and snuggling for a little bit then dropping them back home ? It’s kinda like being an aunt to an adorable nephew... you get to be there for the cute stuff and then hand him off to his “owner” (your sister) for the less cute stuff like diaper changes or temper tantrums. Dog-walking and petsitting is a great way to earn extra money, stay active and meet new animals! (And people too I guess)
If you are interested in becoming a dog-walker/petsitter, here are a few pieces of advice that I will give to you:
1. Be prepared to be given and follow special instructions in order to keep their pups/ cats happy.
Most times people love their animals more than they love other people. So what they request is what you do.. esp if this is now a job of yours.
I kid you not when I say that I have been requested to sing to the dog that I am currently walking in order to help her go pee and poop. So there I am walking dog the street chanting, “Go poopy, Go Pee Pee”. And miraculously it works! Putting my embarrassment aside, I know this dog has go to the bathroom. So everyday at 5 PM you can find me chanting while walking three incredibly cute dogs down the street.
2. Understand that you will never escape dog or cat hair for the foreseeable future. (Unless they are a hybrid poodle dog or hairless!)
Dog hair has become part of my daily outfits. The more I try to remove it from my clothes the more I seem to find clinging to me. I have made the mistake of wearing dark clothes over to the apartment where work and I walked out looking like someone pranked me with glue and dog hair. I recommend clothes that are slippery or such that lint/fuzz doesn’t stick to it. I find that exercise shirts/pants that are made of moisture wicking fabric seem to be my best bet of lowering my risk of becoming a dog haired yeti. In the end it is inevitable that you will get hair on you so also be sure you aren’t allergic to the pet hair or dander. That could be a major bummer for you.
How could you be mad at that face for covering every piece of clothing in hair??
3. Try to find dog-walking/petsitting jobs by word of mouth or Facebook groups.
Although third party apps are a great way to find people in your area, they are also quite costly to the walker and the owner. The third party app that I have used has taken as much as 20 percent of the money from both myself and the pet owner. After a while that 20 percent starts to add up and you end up losing a great portion of your earrings. Try joining Community Facebook groups or local forums for job postings or people searching for services.
4. You must have a flexible time schedule to walk your new four-legged friend(s).
Being a Personal Trainer gives me the flexibility I need to be able to walk dogs as well. Remember that the pups/ cats rely on you to use your opposable thumbs to turn the door knobs and unlock locks so they can go about their business outside. If you have a busy schedule start small with just a few walks a week. The best way to maximize your time and money making is to walk multiple dogs at one time. (That being said all dogs must get along with each other or else there will be big problems!)
5. Remember to update the owners to ensure their pet’s safety.
What I tend to do at the end of a walk is send a text with a picture and summary of the walk. I include if anything seems out of normal behavior for any of the pets. (ie: not eating, not playing, a change in bowel movements... etc).
People love to get picture updates of their pets because they can’t be with them while at work... And who doesn’t love getting cute animal pictures at work?! This summary also helps the owner know the time and what was done on the walk so that they can maybe extend their time at the office (or happy hour).
A face NOT only a mother can love!
If you love animals especially cats and dogs I strongly suggest making extra money as a side hustle or even creating a career out of walking dogs and taking care of cats. I myself find that I am happiest when I am outside with a dog.... or three on a leash walking around enjoying the day.