When jumping into a new profession, it is crucial to understand the baseline requirements as well as how to progress from beginner to expert. In this article, we are going to highlight several dog walking tips for beginners to get you started on the right path to success as a dog walker.
Getting the Right Gear
As a dog walker, many of your clients will have their preferred collars, leashes, and other items. However, it is a great idea to stock up on a few items so that you’re prepared for any situation.
- Waste bags – you can never be sure if your client will have these on hand and it is not only unsanitary but actually illegal to not clean up after your dog in most cities. Don’t risk a fine over something that can be easily remedied.
- Water – especially during the summer and on long walks, it’s never a bad idea to have water available. Many companies make collapsible bowls or bottles specifically designed for this.
- Extra leash/harness – again, this is more of a backup than anything but if there is ever an issue with your client’s leash or harness, you won’t have to cancel the walk if you have your own leash on hand.
- Hand towel – something you don’t mind getting dirty. This is great for cleaning up dirty paws or any small spills.
- Bright or reflective clothing – if you are dog walking at night, this is a must to keep both you and the pup safe from cars or bicyclists.
On the Walk
Once you’ve got all of your gear ready to go, there are a few things to consider when you are out on the walk with your client’s dog.
- Let the dog sniff around. This is actually very mentally stimulating for our four-legged friends. As this is often the only time they get some fresh air, their powerful noses need some exercise too!
- Be aware of other dogs and always ask their owner if you can approach. This is not only polite, but it can also prevent any issues such as biting, growling or aggressive barking from either dog.
- Bring some treats! Especially if this is a newer dog to you, a few treats will help encourage him or her to follow your commands and have a happy walk. Of course, please check with their owner first.
- Avoid pulling hard on the leash. Though a bit counterintuitive, this can actually make the dog pull harder in the opposite direction. Instead, offer a verbal command such as “let’s go!” in a bright, cheery voice to encourage the dog to move along.
- Consider the weather. A few things to consider are of course the temperature as well as precipitation. Very hot concrete can be painful on a dog’s paws and so can ice or snow. Consult with their owner on the best course of action if there is adverse weather.
After the Walk
Now that the fun part is done and the pup has worked off some of their energy, there are a few more dog walking tips for beginners to consider before moving on to your next client.
- Clean up. If there was in fact some adverse weather or their dog simply got into the mud or water, please make sure to clean their paws before letting them loose in the client’s house.
- Check food and water. After a long walk, dogs are likely to be both hungry and thirsty, so make sure they are topped off.
- Lock up. Double-check to ensure that the pup is secure as well as the front door or any other door you may have opened or unlocked.
To find out more about being a dog walker with Barkly, click here to begin your application!