Business, Lifestyle

Maximizing the Benefits of Dog Walking

Walking dogs is physically demanding, so it’s essential to ensure you’re healthy and fit. Incorporating resistance training into your walks can help you build strength and tone your muscles.

It’s also important to set goals for yourself, whether daily or monthly revenue targets or the number of clients booked within a specific time frame. This will help you stay on track and maximize the benefits of your dog-walking service experience.

Schedule Your Walks at the Right Time

A dog walk is a great way to burn energy and help keep your dog mentally and physically healthy. It’s also a great way to prevent destructive behaviors, such as chewing on furniture or digging holes in the yard, by giving them an outlet for excess energy.

Your dog’s age, activity level, and health should be considered when planning your walks. Older dogs and puppies typically need shorter, less frequent walks. Limiting walk time is essential in the summer to avoid heat-related health issues.

As part of the recommended daily exercise for dogs, be sure to factor in any special needs that your dog may have, such as anxiety or aggression towards other dogs. Regular, consistent exercise helps manage these issues and encourages your dog to socialize more.

Make a schedule and post it in a central location, such as the kitchen or living room so that all household members can see it. Encourage everyone to set alarms and reminders to ensure they attend all walks and remember their assigned times. You can even consider putting an active web-connected “nanny cam” by your front door or throughout the house to increase accountability.

Bring Your Dog’s Food and Water

Providing your clients with food and water is essential for their dog’s well-being. This can help reduce a dog’s stress while away from home. It is also a good idea to bring some treats. This will give the dog something to look forward to during their walks.

A dog walker needs to provide outstanding customer service to attract more customers. This means ensuring that your business is always clean and inviting and that your staff is courteous to pets and their owners.

You can also promote your business by attending local dog events and networking with other pet professionals. Additionally, you can place flyers at local Petcos and other places that allow companies to place them for a fee or in exchange for services. Another great way to promote your business is by encouraging customers to submit evaluations by offering incentives like a free session or discount on future services.

Keep an Eye on Your Dog’s Health

When walking your dog, you must walk ahead of them. This demonstrates that you are in charge and makes the dog feel secure. Additionally, it will allow you to monitor the dog’s behavior and ensure they follow your lead.

Social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram are great ways to attract new clients. Creating business profiles on these platforms allows you to share pictures of your services and provide updates and promotional offers. You can also use email marketing to stay connected with your audience and build a stronger relationship with them.

Another great way to increase your client base is by networking with local pet owners and offering referral incentives. For example, you can submit a discount on future walks to customers who refer their friends to your business.

You can also hang flyers in local businesses and places such as Petco, which may allow you to create your business’s flyer for free. Additionally, you can use online marketing strategies such as search engine optimization and pay-per-click advertising to target potential clients in your area.

Be Prepared for Unforeseen Circumstances

Dog walking can be an enriching experience for you and your pet. But it’s essential to be prepared for unforeseen circumstances.

For example, if the dog you’re walking has a lot of triggers (other dogs, children, strangers), it’s best to keep your distance. Otherwise, they may start barking or behaving aggressively towards you or others.

Also, it’s helpful to network with other dog walkers in your area and nearby towns. They can help when a client cancels, or you must take a day off. Plus, they can refer you to clients who match your services well.

Finally, don’t be afraid to say no to a client or dog who makes you unhappy or uncomfortable. It’s better for you and the pup in the long run. Just ensure you’re being ethical and in the best interest of your business. That means not hiring or accepting people who are underpaying you or trying to push you beyond your abilities. That kind of behavior won’t lead to a long-lasting and enjoyable career.

Be Prepared for Emergencies

In addition to checking dogs’ paws for cuts and bruises, inspecting the terrain for things like sharp rocks or tree roots that could cause injuries is wise. Checking the air for dust, pollen, and other allergens is also helpful, especially if you walk near wooded areas or heavily trafficked roads.

For dog walkers, having the information to contact the pet owner and their veterinarian in an emergency can prevent panic and make all the difference in a fast response. It is essential to keep up-to-date client records on file, have the information for local emergency vet clinics pre-programmed into your phone (and preferably any car you use to transport pets), and have a well-stocked 1st aid kit on hand.

Most dog walkers are genuinely caring people, but there is no shortage of stories in the news about the occasional “bad apple.” Always decline clients with challenging behavior or that fall outside your skill set. Be mindful of group composition when walking groups, and don’t accept more than one project/difficult dog per week if you’re working with multiple dogs at once.