Whether you are thinking about becoming a dog walker or hiring the services of one, it’s a win-win for everyone involved.

Dog walking provides people that have a bit of spare time during the day with a great means to earn some extra income, as well as keeping fit and hanging out with dogs all day. How pawsome is that?

For a busy owner that works all day it provides peace of mind that their dog’s daily exercise and social needs can be met, whilst for the dog that would otherwise be left at home alone all day, it provides the mental and physical stimulation that all dogs need.

So how do you go about finding a dog walker in your local area that you can trust your precious pooch with, or how do you get started as a dog walker?

Since starting my own dog walking business over 4 years ago, I have seen a massive rise in the amount of dog walking businesses and individuals offering this service, but of course it’s not always easy to get a business started, so that’s where Pawshake comes in.

You can use their website to search a local dog walker, check their credentials and look for a 5-star rating so you know the person you will be entrusting your pooch (and access to your house) with.

Or, if you want to get started as a dog walker, you can use the website to upload a profile and let people know about your experience with dogs, how much you charge, and directly liaise to set up a meet and greet for you and the owner to work out the details, when and how often, and how you will gain access to the dog.

As the payment goes through Pawshake, neither party has to worry about exchanging cash and the owner can feel secure the team at Pawshake are there to assist with any issues that may arise, and the walker can feel assured they will be paid on time.

Top Tips for Owners:

  • If the dog walker picks your dog up and drops them off at home, be sure to give them a key to your house or apartment.
  • Tell the dog walker where they will find everything that they will need for the walk or leave it all in one spot near where they will enter to collect your pooch.
  • Advise the dog walker of any behavioural issues that they need to be aware of including reaction to other dogs, children, bikes, strangers, jumping, biting etc.
  • Let them know of the commands your dog understands and how good/bad their recall is and if they are allowed on or off-lead in public spaces.
  • Provide them with emergency contact details, as well as your vet’s details.

Top Tips for Dog Walkers:

  • Know the local council bylaws in relation to how many dogs you can walk at one time and where the local off-leash parks, beaches and other areas are.
  • Ensure your car is equipped with appropriate safety harnesses or barriers to keep the dogs safe and secure if you pick them up and drop them off in a vehicle.
  • Ensure the owners has briefed you on all behaviour issues and commands and ensure you know how well they recall when off leash before taking the risk of letting them off lead in areas that are not contained.
  • Make sure you know what their dog-to-dog reactions are like ie: are they okay with all sized dogs, or only small ones. Do they have a phobia to certain situations or people, or even other dog breeds?
  • Ensure you have the owner’s contact details, a back up contact, the details of the dog’s vet.
  • Always remember your keys! I keep my client’s keys all together on a lanyard that I can wear around my neck with the dog’s name written on a tag joined to each key. I also have a tag on the lanyard that has my name and contact details with a ‘please return’ if anyone should find them.

To become a dog walker or to find one in your local area, visit Pawshake.com.au

About the Author: Lara Shannon is co-Host of Pooches at Play and has completed a Certificate III in Dog Behaviour & Training with the National Dog Trainers Federation. Lara also runs her own dog walking, dog minding and dog training business in Melbourne’s Bayside area.