People often tell me I have a very cool job and they’d love to be able to spend the day walking dogs. I couldn’t agree with them more but in all honesty, it’s not all fun and games. Being a professional dog walker takes A LOT of time, energy and dedication. People are entrusting you to enter their home and take care of their loved one so you need to be sure you have all the bases covered when embarking on this employment adventure.

The first thing you need to ask yourself is “How committed am I to this?”. Is this going to be a hobby/pass-time or is this your career choice? If you’re looking to make money quickly, quit while you’re ahead. It takes time and serious work to gain customers and generate revenue. If you want to make a career out of dog walking, then you’re speaking my language.

The next thing you need to ask yourself is “Can I afford to make little or no money for a while until I have a steady stream of customers?” If you depend on a weekly paycheck, then dogwalking is not for you. I remember starting off very slowly, and by slowly I mean I made like $50-$100/week. Those were some dark days and very discouraging ones. There were many times I just wanted to quit and go back to an office job I loathed. BUT, I stuck it out and I am so happy I did.

The third question you have to ask yourself is “Am I ready for the physical wear and tear that dogwalking will have on my body?” Sure you’ll get into wicked shape but walking for hours on end every day will take its toll on your bones and joints. I’m still young and after just 4 years of this career I can honestly admit to aches in my hips and knees towards the end of the week. I go through a new pair of runners every 4-5 weeks to ensure my aches are limited and manageable. Come to my place and peek in my closet – it’s like Foot Locker only the shoes are unusable.

Lastly, and I’ll only touch on this briefly since I will discuss it further in “Becoming A Professional Dog Walker, Part 2”, please please please realize that you will be working in beautiful weather but you will also be working in truly miserable weather. Depending on your geographical location, you might be facing scorching heat every day or you might live in a climate like mine where I brave the heat and brutal cold depending on the time of year. Oh yes, and don’t forget the days of torrential downpour where no matter what you wear, you end up cold and wet by the end of it. If you’re a tough cookie and can brave the weather 365 days a year, then a job as a professional dog walker might be for you!

If you’re still reading and not discouraged at all by my words, then stick around and in the upcoming week you can read “Becoming A Professional Dog Walker, Part 2” where I discuss in depth the business side of this career.

Tonia
Tonia has owned her own dog walking company and been a full-time professional dogwalker for over 4 years. She is a member of Pet Sitters International and the Pet Professional Guild (the Association for Force-Free Pet Professionals). She volunteers weekly at a local dog shelter where she gets to feed and spend time with many furry friends.
She started Dogwalker World to share her knowledge and passion about dogs and their natural instinct to walk and explore. She believes (and knows) that walking your dog can be a fun activity that will only strengthen your bond with them. This website is her dedication to you to ensure that you find the tools and advice necessary to make walking your dog a success!

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