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I'm considering heavily giving dog walking a go, but I want to know some things from dog walkers that are already established! Any tips tricks warnings or advice is extremely welcome!

First, what other things do you offer, any basic training or leash training? What places do you take them? How long do you usually walk them for? What things do you do to make it better for the customer? How much do you charge and how do you determine how much to charge?

I can't think of a ton of questions right now, but I'm sure more will come as others above are answered!

Thank you :)
 

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Eeee it's exciting that I get to answer this question!!!

I started dog walking back in February and properly started my business in March so I'm about 9months in and absolutely loving it.

I offer walking, home boarding, cat visits, small animal visits as well if clients need help with recall/general obedience stuff I help out however I can.

I take the dogs to quieter places, places where they can run off lead and not be disturbed every 5 minutes by the public. I'm still learning to drive but when I pass my test I'll be getting a van and starting 2 group walks a day with up to 6 dogs at a time.

I offer 30 minute and 1 hour walks, 2 hour walks can be arranged aswell. When I start group walks I'll be holding a 'dogs on tour' day on the first Saturday of the month and take the dogs away for the day.

I feel as though I bring a lot more to the table than your average dog walker, I use my knowledge and thirst to learn to give myself an edge. I learn about training methods, nutrition, behaviour, take courses, become as knowledgeable as I possibly can cause this'll stand me in good stead to do my job as well as I can. I also am pretty casual and relaxed with my clients, I spend time getting to know them and their dogs before hand, popping round to their house for a cup of tea and a chat so they get to know me, I feel this puts their mind at ease knowing what I'm like human to human.

I charge round about what everyone charges in my area so look up all the walkers in your area, study their prices and how they do business.

Get onto your local council and see what you need to do legally, like insurance etc. I went on a canine first aid course and I'd highly recommend that. Once your all covered you can start to look for clients.

I'd get a note pad and write down every single thing you could possible think you'd need, that's how I first started then I spoke to the employment office and got started. You may also be entitled to funding, here in the UK I received a grant which was super helpful.

Get yourself a Facebook page and focus on getting a bunch of likes, shares etc. I posted my page on my personal account and asked everyone to share it I'm now up to 663 likes so that's constant publicity through all my followers seeing my posts.

I take a crap load of photos of the dogs everyday, making sure their good quality and post a selection of pictures from all my walks. Just share the crap out of your page I cannot stress enough how key Facebook has been to my business growth.

Get some business cards and fliers and post them around your area, in pet shops, vets, supermarkets, pretty much anywhere that'll let you advertise.

Business for me has been amazing, I've gotten myself established VERY quickly, I'm almost fully booked for next summer for home boarding, people are booking their holidays around my availability which is very humbling.

Any other questions you can think of don't hesitate to give me a message or reply back on this thread.

Sorry if this is so jumbled around and doesn't make sense haha, I get so bloody excited talking about it haha
 
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I'm too lazy to do anything but cover this in point form; good thing BusterBCsmum got me covered on the detail :D

What I Offer (other than walking): In-house sitting, an extra hand for things like puppy classes or baths (I just charge my hourly rate for solo walks), and basically anything that I can do to give a hand... If someone wants me to hang around at their house for an hour and ring the doorbell so they can practice training their dog to have visitors over, I'd do it. I just charge by the hour.

Basic Training: Dogs that pull heavily on leash are put on a front clip harness nd/or clipped to my waist. If it is a solo walk I will train them to walk on lead, if it is a group walk I don't bother so much. Usually after a good play they settle down. One other thing I will do sometimes is couple them (on a LONG, 3-4' coupler) to a big dog's harness so that I have that dog's help in anchoring them. :D

Length: Always about an hour. We walk/drive to a park, romp around off-leash for 30-45 minutes then head home.

I charge: $5-10 under the going rate in my area. I'm dirt cheap.

Extras: I take lots of pictures and videos with my phone and send them to the owners. They like to see the adventures that their dog goes on, whether its walking down the sidewalk, getting a bath with their friends or running around the park like hooligans.

The only other things I consistently train at this point are:
(a) An ultra-solid recall.
(b) They never get to go off leash until they are sitting nicely.

That way if they see a cat or a squirrel or something that they want to drag me after, I can trick them into sitting if I think they are going to rip my arm out. Hah!

Length of walk: Around 1 hour. We walk/drive to a park, hang out for 30-45 minutes, then head back.

I charge: $5-10 under the going rate in my area. I'm dirt-cheap. But that will probably change soon :D

Extras: I take lots of pictures and videos and send them to the owners. They love to see what their dogs get up to, and see who their friends are. The best is when I can send them pics of the dogs going to a variety of places doing a variety of things.
 
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