Do you want to work as a dog walker?

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UPDATED: 29 August 2020

1. What is a Dog Walker?

A dog walker is a person walking with a dog or a group of dogs, usually from the dog’s home and then returning the dog back to its home.

​A dog walker can either be an individual or be part of a business. He or she will be paid by the dog owner to walk their dog or dogs for them as a part of their daily exercise routine to keep it healthy.

2. What does a Dog Walker do?

Career Category:

The Dog Walker career can be found within the following career categories:

  • Animal Care
  • Business

What does a Dog Walker focus on?

Dog walkers are responsible for providing exercise for their client’s dogs each day. Walks usually run in half hour or one hour increments. Dog walkers often are also responsible for checking the dog’s food and water supply to make sure basic needs are met after their exercise. Working with other people’s beloved dogs requires a large amount of trust, and that also includes trust between the walker and dogs.

Here are a few reasons why someone will employ the services of a dog walker:

  • They may work long hours and do not wish to leave their dog home alone for long periods
  • A client with physical disabilities may not be able to exercise their dog
  • A hyperactive dog will require long periods of exercise to tire them

What are the daily tasks of a Dog Walker?

  • collecting the dog or dogs
  • walking the dogs
  • ensuring that the dogs remain safe
  • give them water and food
  • keep control over the dogs while in public
  • clean after dogs
  • administer medication, if required
  • schedule walks
  • communicate with clients

3. The Working environment of a Dog Walker

Where does a Dog Walker work?

Environment –

Most of the work done by dog walkers will be outside, during good weather.

Places of Employment –

Dog Walkers mainly have their own business, or assist in existing dog walking businesses.

What is the average annual salary of a Dog Walker?

The prices of dog walking can range between $10 – 15 per hour. Dog walkers usually charge per dog, per hour, and if you are able to take several dogs at once you have the potential to earn significant amounts per day. On average a Dog walker can make US$20,000 per year working full time.

Can a Dog Walker be promoted?

Most dog walkers work for themselves, but those that are employed by a business could start as a junior and work up to manage a section or department within the business.

Trainee walker > assistant walker > junior walker > manager

What kinds of difficulties does a Dog Walker face?

The most difficult part of this career is being able to work with difficult dogs. Learning to deal with such animals is important to make dog walker your ideal career. You may also be required to work irregular hours including evenings, weekends, and holidays. You should also be able to work in a highly allergenic environment with all the dog hair.

Future Growth and Possibilities:

Dog walking seems to be an industry that has been growing steadily over the past 5 years, and is in high demand in countries such as New Zealand. A dog walker can be versatile by doing it part-time, or beginning a registered business. This is also a very good temporary profession to follow by those studying towards a different animal care degree and who need experience and income while studying.

4. Which Skills do a Dog Walker need?

The skills required for a career as a dog walker can be divided into two very important groups. The first is the group containing life skills, which are the core skills that are necessary or desirable for full participation in everyday life. The second group is career skills, or the specific skills required to allow a person to enter and operate effectively within a specific career. Some or maybe even all of the life skills can assist in strengthening the career skills, and they might even be the same for specific careers.

Life Skills:

  • Self-awareness
  • Empathy
  • Critical thinking
  • Creative thinking
  • Decision making
  • Problem Solving
  • Effective communication
  • Interpersonal relationship

Career Skills:

  • Basic animal handling and care techniques
  • Basic customer service skills
  • Good health and physical fitness
  • Basic computer literacy
  • Business skills (when starting a business)
Life Skills
Career Skills

5. Which Subjects must I have at School to help prepare for the Career?

The subjects you choose at school are important as they lay the foundation for further studies at college or university. While still at school, it’s also important to learn more about the animals you will work with, as well as gain some experience.

OZT has a list of various tertiary institutions where you can study further, after school. Each of these institutions also have their own Group page on OZT where you will find the exact subjects they require of you to have passed in school. Keep these requirements in mind, and discuss it with your school, guidance counselor and parents to ensure that you are prepared!

6. What will I need to Study to become a Dog Walker?

Minimum educational requirement:

Whist there are no specific qualifications required to become a dog walker, having qualifications in areas such as animal first aid, animal behaviour, or animal care, will enhance your professional standing. If you choose to work for an existing dog walking organisation you will find that the entry requirements for different job vacancies vary.

Study Focus:

Although no formal training is required, a few short courses should help, especially in dog behaviour. Certain tertiary institutions, mostly online colleges, have seen the gap in the market and have been offering good online dog walking certificates and diplomas. In some countries and cities it is mandatory to be licensed and have animal first-aid before you are allowed to be a dog walker.

Study Duration:

The duration of most College Diplomas are between 2 and 3 years, and the duration of short courses differ, but can range from a few days to a few months.

Possible Career Preparation Paths:

If this is your dream career that you want to pursue, then it’s important to plan the way forward.

Why is planning important?

​To ensure that you understand the requirements for your career, and that you are always prepared for the next step on the road towards your dream. A Preparation Path is like your road map to where you want to be.

Possible Paths:

Possible Combined Career Paths:

It is possible to sometimes combine two or more related careers. This normally happens when you studied and you are already working in a specific career, but the knowledge and experience gained can also help you to have a second paying job or secondary income career.

Possible Alternative(s):

Stepping Stone Career:

Dog walking can also be used as a stepping stone career. A stepping stone career is one which is used to help you get to another career, normally because the second career is too difficult to reach (high fees etc). You can begin as a dog walker after basic short courses. The money made while working can then be used to pay for studies towards a different career, and the experience can also help in gaining knowledge. One career paying to help get to the other.

Some of the possible paths:

Training and Apprenticeship:

Even though it is important to study to get into some of the animal care careers, most of the required skills will be acquired through on-the-job training. This means that you will learn how to perform some of the daily tasks by actually doing it a few times and learning the steps.

In some cases entry level positions (or junior positions) require training sessions even before you are allowed to actually perform your job duties. These sessions are offered by the place of employment, after you have successfully applied.

Working as a dog walker doesn’t require a high level of prior training or apprenticeship, but if you are looking at moving up to a different career later, then it would be wise to learn from a possible mentor (maybe by working under an established dog walker) while working. Short courses are also extremely important.

Join the Dog Walkers Group to learn more and even interact with the educational institutions that will help you secure your dream career!

Average level of education of those entering the career:

High School Certificate 0%
Diploma or Short Courses 0%
Degree or Higher Studies 0%

7. Licenses, Certificates, Registration and Professional Associations

Certain animal care careers do require some form of legal certification or licence to prove that you can indeed do the work.

Most countries (and therefore their municipalities and city authorities) do require you to be certified or registered to walk dogs. You might also be required to have completed a certified course in pet first aid.

Learn more about requirements by joining the Group.

Professional Associations:

8. Where can I study further?

All of the above information will help you understand more about the Career, including the fact that there are different paths to take to reach it. But if you are almost done with High School (Grades 11 or 12), you also need to start thinking about further studies, and WHERE you will study.

See the List of Universities, Colleges and Online Training Academies who offer courses towards animal care.

Do you want to contribute to the Career information? Please click on the red beetle to learn about being a mentor or contributor.

Dog Walker

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Join us as a special member and learn more about becoming a dog walker.

Members of the Platform have special access to:

  • Info on the best places where you can study (colleges, universities and online)
  • Expertly designed advice to prepare you for the career, and links to places where you can gain valuable experience. For some career experience is necessary, otherwise you wont get the job!
  • Top notch info on each of the different species you will work with
  • Make friends around the world and share knowledge
  • Compete and win points, badges, games, prizes and certificates. Be the best of the best, while you learn and prepare!

If you have decided on being a dog walker, please click on the JOIN GROUP button. Members will be directed to the Group, and non-Members will be assisted to register first.

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