Being a dog walker can be a lot of fun, especially in good weather. But despite the weather, there are a few characteristics that the best dog walkers share – rain or shine.
On any average day, many things will happen: schedules will change, accidents will occur, construction will make a few dogs fret. The best dog walker starts with a schedule and a plan, builds in cushions and takes changes calmly and in stride.
Being adaptable doesn’t mean being disorganized. A good dog walker is always prepared for (almost) everything. That includes having a charged cell phone, Ziploc bags, gloves, doggie treats, extra poop bags, tissues, hand sanitizer, spare leashes, a notepad, pens, bottled water, a pocket umbrella and more. Murphy’s Law is always in full effect!
Comfortable with animals
A good dog walker doesn’t have to be a lifetime or even a current dog owner. The best dog walkers are comfortable with and around dogs. A good dog walker also understands the basics of dog body language and the basics of dog training. Dogs understand human body language and often react to human behavior, so a nervous walker is going to elicit certain reactions in dogs.
A good communicator
While a good dog walker doesn’t need to be a perfect writer or a grammarian, they should be able to clearly and accurately relay concerns, situations and overall good news about a dog’s walks, behavior and schedule. Being able to communicate with client’s may not seem like a big deal but it’s almost as important as the walk itself.
Since much of the job involves walking, a good dog walker needs to have a certain level of physical ability. They do not need to be a marathon runner or a crossfitter, but a good dog walker does need to be in good enough shape to walk up and down several flights of steps and walk with several dogs at a brisk pace. A good dog walker should be able to run after a dog for a block or so if needed.
Alert and Aware
A good dog walker isn’t texting or talking to friends during their walks, they’re concentrating on their dogs and the environment around them. Especially in the city where the situation can change in a second, a good dog walker stays alert at all times and is aware of what’s happening around them and their dogs. A good dog walker is aware of potential dangers like other dogs, cars and construction vehicles and always has a backup plan or escape route ready.
Dog walking is a great job. A good dog walker knows that dog walking involves taking care of dogs, being prepared for anything, looking out for dangers and always focusing on their safety. And still having fun!