Tuesday, March 23, 2010

The Traits of a Good Dog Walker:

An excerpt from "The Dog Walker & Pet Sitter Bible"

Engaged with their dogs: A good dog walker makes eye contact with their dogs and speaks to their dogs periodically through the walk. They speak to a dog in a high pitch voice. Dogs find a high-pitched voice to be welcoming.

Avoids danger ahead of time: A good dog walker doesn’t continue to walk into danger areas over and over again without noticing. They direct most of their attention to what is in front of the dogs. A good dog walker sees a problem way ahead of time and avoids it with plenty of space to spare.

Carries backup equipment: You never know if you’ll need a backup leash, collar, etc. and you should carry extra equipment with you at all times.

Walks dogs on the left side of their body: Nothing looks more professional than a dog walking short and on the left side of your body.

Not on their cell phone through the walks: Have you ever seen someone walking a dog while talking on their cell phones? If so they were probably not engaged with the dogs they were walking. A dog walker can not give a dog their full attention while yapping on the phone all day.

Not dragging or yanking dogs: You should never drag a dog down the street. It looks terrible, it’s mean and there are many other solutions to get a dog to walk.

Wears a cell phone earpiece: Of course you’ll need to take some phone calls during your walks but they should be short, you should stop walking the dog while you speak and/or you should use a wired earpiece. Using a wired earpiece allows you to still use both of your hands while you walk the dogs and on a side note I don’t think wireless/Bluetooth earpieces are safe to use (based on the radiation they emit).

Notices the problems their dogs are having: A good dog walker should notice if a dog is limping, has a loose stool, throws up and/or has low energy, among other things.

Carries waste bags: It might sound silly but it looks pretty unprofessional to see someone searching for a way to pickup a dog’s stool. It looks even more unprofessional to see a dog walker not pickup a dog’s stool at all (and in some areas it’s against the law not to pickup after a dog).

Can use and recommend the most proper equipment: A good dog walker should know how to use all the main equipments made for dogs. They should also be able to recommend equipment to a client if they think it will improve the experience of walking the dog.

Educated on the basics of house training, leash training and puppy training: A good dog walker ideally knows more about dog training and psychology than their clients do.

Doesn’t force their views on their clients: Some clients will want you to decide everything for them while others will not want any advice on how to care for their dogs. Make sure that you don’t become too pushy with clients when it comes to advice on their pets.

Leaves polite and upbeat messages for their clients: A good dog walker should be polite and upbeat in their messages even on day they are not in a good mood. Be extra careful not to write your messages in a way that could be misunderstood. What client wants to come home to read a message that sounds passive, aggressive, blunt or bossy? Speak clearly, positively, with optimism and use lots of smiley faces and in your messages!

Doesn’t walk more then 3-4 dogs at a time: Personally I prefer individual dog walks, or 2 dogs walked at a time only but I do feel you can have a positive walk with 3-4 dogs at a time. Walking anything more than 3-4 dogs at a time looks unprofessional and can be chaotic and dangerous.

Sit stays: At certain times you will need to be able to control the dog you are walking. A good dog walker can put a dog in a sit stay at will because they have practiced putting the dogs into a sit stay (explained later).

Give their dogs lots of love: I’m amazed how I see some dog walkers never give love to the dogs they walk. Make a point of rubbing your dog’s chests periodically through your walks.




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