Last Updated on October 20, 2022
Do you love spending time with dogs? Do you have a lot of energy and love to walk? If so, then becoming a dog walker may be the perfect job for you!
There are success stories in the dog-walking business too. Take the example of Ryan Stewart who makes 100K a year from it in New York City.
This well-researched guide will teach you how to become a dog walker, even if you don’t have any experience. We’ll go over everything you need to know, from how to find clients to how to stay safe while walking dogs. So whether you’re looking for a new career or just want some extra money, read on for all the information you need to get started as a professional dog walker!
What Is a Dog Walker?
A dog walker is someone who walks dogs for a living. Dog walkers typically work with multiple clients and can walk several dogs at once. They may also offer other services such as dog sitting, feeding, and grooming.
What Are the Requirements to Be a Dog Walker?
There are no formal requirements to become a dog walker, although most dog walkers have some experience with dogs. It’s also important to be in good physical shape, as you’ll be walking for long periods of time. Finally, you must be comfortable working with various if not all types of dogs, as each dog has its own personality and needs.
The Benefits of Being a Dog Walker
There are several benefits to being a dog walker. For starters, you get to spend time outdoors and stay active. You also get to meet new people and dogs and build relationships with both.
Additionally, dog walking is a flexible job that can be done around your other commitments. You work when you want. It can be during your free time or a full-time thing.
And of course, it’s rewarding work knowing that you’re helping to care for someone’s beloved pet. Who wouldn’t feel great?
6 Steps to Become a Dog Walker and Make Money
Now that you know what a dog walker is and what the requirements are, let’s get into how you can actually start making money by walking dogs!
Step 1: Decide if becoming a professional dog walker is right for you
This job requires a lot of time spent outside walking, so if you don’t like being in the great outdoors or being around dogs, it’s probably not the right job for you. However, if you love spending time with furry friends and don’t mind getting some exercise, then dog walking could be perfect for you!
So, don’t just think of it as a way to get easy money if you don’t actually like dog company. You may find yourself with problems that you didn’t know you could experience. However, there are various other ways to make quick money in a day as well as ideas to get paid to walk.
Step 2: Choose whether you’re going to offer other services
In addition to walking dogs, you may also want to offer other services, which include the following:
- Dog sitting
- Administering medications
- House sitting at the owner’s place
You’ll find that some dog owners will need someone who can care for their “pawsome” ones in several ways, not just walking them. So, offering multiple dog-related services can help you attract more clients and make more money. It would also mean that you’ll have to spend more time with each client’s dog.
Step 3: Set your prices
Once you’ve decided what services you’re going to offer, it’s time to set your prices. When setting your prices, make sure to consider the following:
- The going rate in your area: Look at what other dog walkers in your area are charging and price yourself accordingly. You don’t want to charge too much and lose potential clients, but you also don’t want to charge too little and not make a profit.
- The services you’re offering: If you’re only offering dog walking, you can charge by the hour or by the number of dogs. If you’re offering additional services like feeding or cleaning, you’ll want to price those separately.
- Your background: Are you a beginner or have years of experience with animals? If you’ve ever worked with dogs, you can charge a higher rate than someone who hasn’t.
The average dog walker earns $15 hourly according to Payscale. Expect anywhere between $10 to $30 in 30 minutes or an hour depending on your client’s budget. Of course, just like many other gigs, you can land a one-of-a-kind deal that pays well as a dog walker, e.g. walking dogs for a prominent person.
Step 4: Take some dog walking training
Although there are no formal requirements to become a dog walker, taking some training courses can give you an edge over the competition. These courses will teach you how to safely walk dogs and how to handle different types of breeds. You can find dog walking courses at your local community college or online.
Getting training will also help you land more opportunities since many dog owners would prefer you over someone untrained. Still, it’s possible to get dog walking gigs even minus taking any courses as long as you’re willing to learn by yourself as you go. The good thing is that if you use a dog walking platform online, chances are that you’ll find guides and information on how to get the job done the right way.
Check this dog walking training video by Jackie of In Ruff Company:
Step 5: Get insured
As a professional dog walker, you’ll be responsible for any accidents or injuries that occur while you’re walking a dog. For example, if a dog you’re walking gets loose and runs into the street, you could be held liable if the dog is hit by a car. To protect yourself, you should get liability insurance specifically for dog walking.
This insurance will cover any medical expenses for the dog as well as any damages caused by the dog while under your care. Remember, depending on where you are, you may find yourself in legal trouble if you don’t have it. You can get liability insurance through your local animal hospital or pet store.
Step 6: Find clients
The best way to find clients is to start by asking people you know if they need a dog walker. You can also put up flyers in your neighborhood or local dog parks.
Another idea is to offer your dog walking services online. Many clients would just go to the Internet and search for a dog walker because that’s an easy way.
Once you start getting clients, be sure to provide them with excellent service so they’ll keep coming back to you. They may also refer you to their friends who own dogs too — which means good business for you!
What Are The Best Websites to Find Dog Walking Jobs?
If you’re wondering where to get dog-walking jobs, here’s a list of sites and apps to use:
Rover is an online platform that connects dog owners with dog walkers. It’s free to create a profile and start applying for jobs in your area. You choose when to work, select your pet preferences, and get paid soon after providing a service.
Wag! is an app that allows dog owners to find and book dog walkers in their area. It has over 400K pet caregivers nationwide.
You can join the community too. Simply create a profile as a walker, set your rates, and start walking dogs right away.
3. Fetch! Pet Care
Fetch! Pet Care is a professional pet-sitting and dog-walking company. They offer services in over 115 locations in the US.
To work with them, you need to fill out an online application and pass a background check. Once approved, you can start receiving job requests from clients via the app.
Pawshake is another app for offering pet care and getting paid. You can join as a dog walker and start receiving job requests from pet owners in your area.
Indeed is a job search engine. Although not specifically for pet care, you can use Indeed to find dog walking jobs in your area.
To do this, simply go to the site and type “dog walker” into the search bar followed by your location. You’ll then be presented with a list of available jobs near you.
Craigslist is a classified site where you can find all sorts of gigs, including dog walking jobs.
To find these gigs, go to Craigslist and search “dog walker” in the search bar to see whether there are any available jobs near you.
7. Facebook groups
Another way to find dog walking jobs is by joining relevant Facebook groups. For example, you could join a group for pet parents in your city and start networking with members. Once you’ve built up a good relationship, you can then offer your services as a dog walker.
This is a great way to find long-term clients since you’ll already have a relationship with them. Plus, you can get referrals from clients who are happy with your service.
What Are Some Tips for Walking Dogs?
Here are some tips for walking a dog:
- Always keep the leash short. This will give you more control over the dog and prevent them from getting away from you.
- Be aware of your surroundings. This includes other dogs, people, and traffic. If you see another dog while out walking, be sure to keep your dog close to you. You don’t want them to get into a fight with another dog or get hurt.
- Avoid distractions. You don’t want to have your headphones on or be playing mobile games when you’ve been given the job to care for a dog. Dogs are playful and you could quickly lose sight of them.
- Have a routine. As a walker, you need to keep in mind that having a routine is helpful in dog walking. The dog will know when they’re supposed to go out and where at specific times and thus stay calm.
- Bring the necessary tools. Besides a leash, you’ll need other stuff like poop bags. You don’t want to be fined when it happens. You could also carry toys for the dog.
- Don’t forget treats. Treats are great for rewarding dogs for their good behavior. If you have something they can munch on, they’ll be more willing to listen to you.
Dog Walking FAQs
What do you need to be a dog walker?
To be a dog walker, you’ll need a few things:
- A love for dogs
- Some basic knowledge of dog behavior
- A clean criminal record
- Liability insurance
- A way to get around (e.g. a car or bike)
How much do dog walkers make?
Dog walkers typically get $15 to $20 per dog walk on average. However, rates can be higher depending on factors such as the length of the walk, how many dogs are being walked, and the location.
How much should I charge for walking a dog?
You can charge starting from $10 to $30 for a walk that lasts 30 minutes to an hour. Be sure that you don’t set the prices too low or high than the rates in your area.
How often do dog walkers work?
This depends on the needs of the clients as well as yours. Some dog walkers may only work a few days a week while others may work every day. Also, it’s up to you to decide how much you want to work.
What are some of the challenges of being a dog walker?
Some of the challenges of being a dog walker include:
- Dealing with bad weather
- Handling aggressive dogs
- Walking multiple dogs at once
- Getting bitten or scratched
- Taking care of dog poop
Wrapping It up
Becoming a dog walker is a great way to make money while spending time with dogs. It’s also a flexible gig that you can do on your own schedule.
To get started, simply create your dog walker profile on a relevant platform like Rover. Once you’re approved, you can start taking on clients and walking dogs.
Keep in mind that you’ll need to be comfortable with some challenges like bad weather and aggressive dogs. When setting your rates, be sure to charge enough to make a profit but not too much that you’re pricing yourself out of the market. By following these tips, you’ll be well on your way to becoming a successful dog walker.