Dogs are animals that need a lot of attention and exercise. Unfortunately, not every owner can offer them enough exercise. Especially working and living in small apartments mean that more and more dogs suffer from a lack of activity. Owners and women who want to change something about this can look forward to a new trend that has come to Germany from the USA and is gaining more and more followers. We are talking about so-called dog walkers – people who walk strangers’ dogs and get money for it. Sounds like a dream job to you? Then you should definitely read on to find out which requirements you have to meet as a budding dogwalker .
Dogwalker: tasks, everyday work, requirements
First of all: the activity of a dogwalker seems quite simple to outsiders, but the appearance is cloudy. Anyone interested in the implementation of this business idea should definitely know that there is much more to be done than “just walking for a walk”. As a dogwalker, you must, among other things:
- Run multiple dogs at the same time
- Feed dogs
- Give medication to dogs
- Pick up and return dogs from the owner
- Supervise dogs (until owner picks them up)
- Do small exercises with the dogs
When your working day as a dogwalker begins and when it ends, depends largely on your customers. Many dog walkers offer their services in the early morning hours and do not say no to an evening dog tour either.
Tip : If you want to avoid very early and very late orders, you should communicate fixed business hours right from the start.
What does a dogwalker have to be able to do?
Now we come to the requirements for a dogwalker. Even if there is currently no state-recognized vocational training in Germany, that does not mean that anyone can do this job. On the contrary, as a dogwalker on the road to success you have to meet a number of requirements:
- Love of animals in general and love of dogs in particular
- professional knowledge of everything to do with dogs
- Lightning-fast assessment of dangerous and conflict situations
- good responsiveness
- Enjoyment of working outside (regardless of wind and weather)
- Joy in movement
The typical career path of a dogwalker
As already mentioned, you cannot learn the profession of dogwalker in training or as part of a degree. However, if you want to realize this business idea, you can still prepare yourself professionally.
Most dog walkers can already look back on several years of experience as walkers in animal shelters and / or dog sitters at the beginning of their self-employment . These activities are ideal for learning basic skills and getting a feel for a wide variety of dog types. Because every dogwalker should be aware of one thing: There is no such thing as “the one” dog. Every animal is a unique individual with strengths and weaknesses, quirks and endearing qualities.
In order to recognize these as quickly as possible and to be able to work with them well, it also makes sense as a prospective dogwalker to complete training or a workshop to become a dog trainer . In the course of these measures, you not only learn how to handle the animals professionally, you also learn how to de-escalate sensitive situations, keep particularly complicated cases at bay and quickly teach dogs basic commands.
If you don’t want to leave anything to chance, you can now search the Internet for special training opportunities for prospective dogwalkers . The business idea has become so popular that it is hardly surprising that the first seminars and online workshops are already springing up like mushrooms.
Becoming a dogwalker: what else do you have to consider?
Insurance : Walking someone else’s dogs is always associated with various risks – for you as well as for the dogs and, last but not least, other people who can be attacked by one of the animals, for example. In order to be sufficiently covered in such a situation, it is essential to take out appropriate insurance.
Customer acquisition : Are you well prepared to work as a dogwalker and can hardly wait to take the first animals out? Then you should first of all get the word out. In order to win customers, you can use a wide variety of advertising channels – from the Facebook page to flyers to the exhibition stand.
Office : Although you will be outdoors most of the day, as a dog walker you will need to set up an office. Here you can check emails, make phone calls, coordinate customer inquiries, do marketing and do many other administrative and organizational tasks. To save costs, it makes sense to set up a home office.
Clothing : One aspect that is often forgotten is the right work clothing for dog walkers. Above all, it should be wind and weatherproof. Make sure to invest in a pair of decent (hiking) shoes, comfortable trousers and an all-weather jacket at the beginning. The items of clothing can be booked as business expenses and deducted for tax purposes.
Dogwalker – a job with a future?
The triumph of dogwalkers in Germany has only just begun. The business idea is still perceived as exotic and unusual, but at the same time it is convincing more and more interested parties.
The fact is: acceptance will continue to increase over the next few years. This in turn means that more and more dog owners are willing to place their pets in the care of a professional dog walker. After all, they only want the best for the dog, which in most cases is a steadfast and dearly loved member of the family.
Important: Register a business!
If you want to become self-employed as a dogwalker and earn money with it, you must of course not forget an important step: Registering your business with the local trade office.
Please note that you specify a legal form. Most dog walkers are sole proprietorships. This legal form is not only relatively unbureaucratic, it also does not require any share capital. The big disadvantage of sole proprietorship: If you fail with your business, you are not only liable with your business but also with your private assets.
Note: Many dogwalkers start their own business in the secondary business. If you then have enough customers, the job can easily be changed to a full-time job.