There are a number of ways people get into dog walking. Some people move away from home and miss their family pet and need to get their pup fix in somehow. Others have their own dog, love taking it for walks, and think ‘This is great, I wish somebody would pay me to do this.’ Still others are looking to start a career in pet care and need experience. However, they end up in the industry, they all end up with a job that’s convenient, great for your health, and just plain fun.
If you think dog walking is right for you, here are some tips to make sure you’re the best dog walker you can be.
- Communication — Good communication is the foundation of a good dog walker. The customer should know that you are going to be there, they should know you expect to arrive, they should know when the walk starts and stops along with the details of what happens on the walk, and, last but certainly not least, they should get a picture of happy pooch to brighten their workday. As Barkly Pets walkers know, most of this is handled by the app itself, but some still must be done the old-fashioned way, by text message (boy does that make me feel old). Maintaining a good rapport with customers is key to building trust and trust is key to dog walking.
- Planning ahead — So you’ve got a few consistent customers, congrats! You’re well on your way to being a pet professional! Now you have to make sure you can keep all your customers (2-legged and 4-legged) happy. This means not overbooking yourself and not making commitments you can’t fulfill. Beyond that though it means planning your day so that you get to each pup on-time. For example, lets say you live just outside Old Town Alexandria and have a walk just down the block from you in Cameron Station, 2 in Old Town, and an afternoon walk in the Carlyle Mill Mill Apts. In this case the best way to go would be to do the nearby walk first, then take a scenic bike ride along the Eisenhower Ave Trail into Old Town to do the 2 walks there before heading back to Carlyle Mill for the afternoon walk. Once done you can then proceed straight to Port City Brewing for a celebratory pint on your way home. This may seem obvious, but it’s an important to plan out your day like this so that everyone is walked on-time and you aren’t wasting time that could be spent loving on pups!
- Paying close attention to detail — Everyone owner has their little quirks and preferences with their dogs (they don’t call them fur-babies for nothing). As a dog walker you’re responsible for keeping track of all this and making sure nothing is forgotten. If you’re walking on your own, this means depending on a hand-written note left on the counter or remembering what they told you when you met. With a company like Barkly these are provided to you via the app before and during the walk. However you receive them, customers will only trust you with their pets if you fulfill all their requests and instructions on every walk.
- Have fun! — This the easy part, to be a good dog walker you must love dogs and you must love spending time with dogs. If you’re excited to see a pup and get out into the fresh air then the dog will be too and owners will only trust someone who truly loves their pet to care for them. If you enjoy spending time outdoors with any and all dogs then you’ll start to understand that old cliché, if you find something you love to do, you’ll never have to work a day in your life.
If you’re interested in becoming a dog walker with Barkly Pets, you can apply here! We are always looking for talented and caring pet-lovers looking to begi