Career Development

What Does a Dog Walker Do?

Find out what a dog walker does, how to get this job, and what it takes to succeed as a dog walker.

Dog walkers are responsible for taking dogs out for exercise and fresh air. They may also be tasked with providing general care, including feeding, bathing, grooming, and veterinary appointments.

Dog walking is a relatively simple job that requires a lot of patience and compassion. Dog walkers must be able to read their dog’s body language in order to determine when they are uncomfortable or unhappy about something. This might include anything from being too hot or cold to feeling threatened by another animal or person.

Dog Walker Job Duties

Dog walkers have a wide range of responsibilities, which can include:

  • Observing dogs’ behavior to identify potential issues or problems that might need to be addressed in therapy sessions
  • Maintaining detailed records on each dog’s exercise habits and medical history
  • Walking multiple dogs at once to provide them with social interaction and stimulation
  • Communicating with clients to ensure that their pets are comfortable with their walkers and vice versa
  • Cleaning up any messes made by dogs during walks in order to prevent disease transmission
  • Providing general care for pets such as feeding them, brushing their fur, and bathing them
  • Preparing meals for pets and making sure they have fresh water available at all times
  • Preparing pets’ food and feeding them according to instructions from owners
  • Observing the behavior of pets to determine if they are experiencing any health problems

Dog Walker Salary & Outlook

Dog walkers’ salaries vary depending on their level of experience, the type of dogs they walk, and the number of hours they work. Some dog walkers may also receive benefits, such as health insurance or paid time off.

  • Median Annual Salary: $36,000 ($17.31/hour)
  • Top 10% Annual Salary: $69,500 ($33.41/hour)

The employment of dog walkers is expected to grow much faster than average over the next decade.

Dog owners are increasingly interested in having their pets stay at home while they are at work or running errands. As a result, demand for dog walkers will increase as pet owners want to provide their dogs with exercise and companionship.

Related: Dog Walker Interview Questions and Answers

Dog Walker Job Requirements

To become a dog walker, one may need to have the following:

Education: Dog walkers typically need a high school diploma or GED certificate. Some dog walkers choose to pursue an associate or bachelor’s degree to increase their earning potential and qualify for higher-level positions. Some of the most common degrees for dog walkers are in animal science, animal care, animal behavior and kinesiology.

Training & Experience: Dog walkers typically receive on-the-job training from their employer. This training may include learning the company’s policies and procedures, the routes they typically take with the dogs and the best ways to interact with the dogs and their owners. Training may also include learning how to use the company’s scheduling software and how to communicate with clients.

Dog walkers can also receive training from their previous experience. For example, if a dog walker previously worked as a dog groomer, they may already have the skills to bathe and brush the dog. If they previously worked with dogs as a volunteer, they may already have the experience to interact with the dogs and their owners.

Certifications & Licenses: Some companies may require employees to pass an industry-specific certification to show their general understanding of the field.

Dog Walker Skills

Dog walkers need the following skills in order to be successful:

Dog handling skills: Dog handling skills are the abilities that a dog walker uses to interact with dogs. Dog handlers should be able to read a dog’s body language and understand when a dog is feeling anxious or aggressive. They should also be able to read a dog’s emotions and know when a dog is happy, playful or sad. This is important because it allows a dog walker to know how to approach a dog and how to interact with them.

Communication skills: Communication skills are also important for dog walkers. You should be able to communicate with pet owners about their pet’s needs and preferences. You should also be able to communicate with other dog walkers about scheduling and other details.

Time management skills: Dog walkers may have multiple clients throughout the day, so it’s important for them to manage their time effectively. This may mean starting and ending their walks at the right times to ensure they can meet all of their obligations. It’s also important for dog walkers to manage their time during each walk so they can complete all of their duties, like cleaning the dog’s area and checking in on the pet.

Physical stamina: Physical stamina refers to the ability to sustain physical activity for long periods of time. Dog walkers may need to walk multiple dogs at once, so it’s important to have the stamina to keep up with them. This can also help you when you’re walking or running with your own dog.

Attention to detail: Dog walkers should be able to notice any changes in their pet’s behavior. This can help them identify any potential health issues and take the pet to a veterinarian. It can also help them notice if the pet is in pain or uncomfortable, which can help them provide the pet with the care it needs.

Dog Walker Work Environment

Dog walkers typically work outdoors, walking dogs for 30 minutes to an hour at a time. They may work in all weather conditions, including rain, snow, and extreme heat or cold. Dog walkers typically work Monday through Friday during the daytime, although some may work evenings and weekends. They may work full time or part time, and some may be self-employed. Dog walking is a physically demanding job that requires walking long distances and being able to handle large dogs. Dog walkers must also be able to control dogs that may be unruly or aggressive.

Dog Walker Trends

Here are three trends influencing how dog walkers work. Dog walkers will need to stay up-to-date on these developments to keep their skills relevant and maintain a competitive advantage in the workplace.

More Dog Parks and Play Areas

As dog owners become more educated about the importance of exercise and play for dogs, they are looking for ways to provide these activities for their pets. This has led to an increase in the number of dog parks and play areas across the country.

Dog walkers can take advantage of this trend by becoming certified in pet first aid and CPR. This will allow them to provide additional services to clients, such as emergency care and home visits. In addition, dog walkers should be familiar with the local dog parks and play areas so that they can recommend the best ones to their clients.

More Pet-Friendly Housing

The trend of pet-friendly housing is growing rapidly as more and more people are choosing to live in apartments or condos that allow pets. This is good news for dog walkers, who can now find more opportunities to work with clients who are looking for someone to come into their homes and take care of their pets while they are away.

Dog walkers who are able to work with pet-friendly housing will have a competitive edge over others in the industry. They will need to be able to provide excellent customer service and be comfortable working in unfamiliar environments.

More Attention on Wellness Programs

Businesses are increasingly turning to wellness programs as a way to reduce costs and improve employee productivity. One of the most popular types of wellness programs is those that focus on pets, which can include everything from dog walking to training.

Dog walkers can capitalize on this trend by becoming experts in pet wellness programs. They can then market themselves to businesses as a resource for all things pet-related, including health care, nutrition, and grooming.

How to Become a Dog Walker

A dog walker career is a great way to be your own boss and work flexible hours. It’s also a great way to help dogs who need exercise and socialization.

To become a dog walker, you first need to be certified by the National Association of Professional Dog Walkers (NAPDW). This certification process includes taking an online course, passing a written test, and completing a practical assessment. You must also have liability insurance coverage.

Once you’re certified, it’s important to build your client base and promote yourself. You can do this by posting flyers in local pet stores and veterinary clinics, advertising on Craigslist and other online forums, and networking with other dog professionals.

Advancement Prospects

The best way to advance in this career is to get more clients. The more clients you have, the more money you will make. You can also advance by becoming a dog trainer. This will require more education and training, but it will also pay more.

Dog Walker Job Description Example

We are looking for a reliable and trustworthy dog walker to join our team. The ideal candidate will have prior experience walking dogs, and will be comfortable walking multiple dogs at the same time. He or she will be reliable and punctual, with a flexible schedule to accommodate the needs of our clients. The dog walker will be responsible for walking the dogs in accordance with the client’s instructions, and will be expected to provide a detailed report of the walk (including any incidents or accidents) to the client at the end of each walk.

Duties & Responsibilities

  • Maintain a safe, clean, and organized work area
  • Follow all company policies and procedures
  • Greet customers and their pets in a friendly and professional manner
  • Walk dogs of all sizes for the duration requested by the customer
  • Keep an eye out for any changes in the dog’s behavior or appearance and report to the customer
  • Collect payment from customers at the end of each walk
  • Wash and disinfect leashes, collars, and other equipment after each use
  • Refill water bowls and provide fresh food as needed
  • Scoop up and dispose of pet waste properly
  • Take pictures of the dogs during walks and send them to the customer
  • Keep track of time spent walking each dog and mileage covered
  • Maintain records of services provided, including dates, times, durations, and special requests

Required Skills and Qualifications

  • Genuine love of dogs and dog walking experience
  • Ability to handle multiple dogs at once, of various breeds and temperaments
  • Strong physical stamina for walking long distances
  • Flexible schedule availability for early morning or late evening walks
  • Reliable transportation
  • Proof of current professional liability insurance

Preferred Skills and Qualifications

  • Professional dog walking or pet sitting certification
  • First aid certification
  • Additional experience with other pets, such as cats, birds, reptiles, etc.
  • CPR certification


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