Many people have said to me that they have thought about becoming a dog walker as it’s an easy way to earn some extra money. I’m sure this been said with the best of intentions but I think people misunderstand exactly what is involved in my job.
It is not just as simple as putting a few dogs in the back of the car and frolicking in the park, which seems to be the general perception. There are some really important responsibilities to start with such as insurance, ensuring all dogs are safely transported to and from their walk, emergency first aid but above all of that an understanding of the dogs in our care is key.
Those people who have questioned just how easy the job is, may have had their own dogs, but I suspect they would presume that all other dogs are just like theirs. Each dog like each person is completely individual with a unique personality and set of requirements to be happy, and like humans they do not all like each other. This is the reason why we never take out more than 3 dogs at a time. It’s simply too difficult to physically handle more dogs than this and being able to properly socialise and interact with more than 3 dogs at a time is just not practical.
Grouping the dogs to match personalities, temperament and enthusiasm is one of the hardest parts of the job and can actually keep me awake at night thinking about who I will walk together the next day. I want each walk to be more fantastic than the last walk for each of them.
As the business continues to grow we recently needed to advertise for someone to assist me. We had an enormous response gaining well over 100 applications but I was shocked that some people didn’t even mention dogs anywhere in their CV’s. Later, while I was reviewing some of the better applications someone asked me why it was taking so long as surely it should be easy to hire someone with two feet and an arm for the leads. I took great relish in explaining that there was more to it than being just a dog walker. We weren’t looking for someone with lots of qualifications or experience but we did want someone who could demonstrate a sound knowledge of dogs. Out of the huge response we had, I could count on one hand those who had really thought about social interaction and mental stimulation.
The person we chose, had a fantastic empathy with dogs and better still, practical experience. I am really looking forward to sharing more news on our new starter over the next few weeks, however I am very confident she will fit in perfectly and learn to understand your dogs just as well as I do.