10 Tips to Follow When You Start A Dog Walking Business

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NARPS UK brings you 10 recommendations when you start a pet sitting and dog walking business to ensure that your business thrives over time.

  1. Set A Limit: Starting your new business, you will be excited to get going but don’t let your workload overwhelm you and take on dogs you cannot handle. Start slow and gradually increase your number of walks. You must set a healthy limit of dogs that you can take on at a time especially when you are just beginning. Also, set a limit your service area to the number of bookings you can manage.
  2. Think About Extreme Weather Options: If you’re a dog walker then you may incur adverse weather at some point during your career. If it is too hot or too cold, you can make changes to your schedule by walking at cooler hours of the day in the summer, or in shady areas. You can also offer alternatives like a drop in session with 30 minutes of play time. The dog’s safety is the most important thing to consider so ensure you have a safety kit of water, towels, etc to keep the dogs from overheating or getting cold.
  3. Keep the Dogs Hydrated: You must take extra care of keeping the dogs hydrated since walks can be tiring. If you use a vehicle to get to the walking area, you can keep a water bottle in it to use after walks or carry dog water bottles with you to keep them hydrated when they get exhausted. Dehydration can cause severe problems since dogs are more prone to it due to their heavy coats.
  4. Off Lead Walking: NarpsUK advise against walking dogs off lead, however if a client insists on this, you can ask them to sign an off lead disclaimer form so that they take on all responsibility for the dog. This way if there was an incident, you would be protected.
  5. Discuss Medical Conditions Beforehand: Always make sure to discuss medical conditions with dog owners before you take them on. Dogs with medical conditions might need extra care and attention and you may be asked to give medication. This information would also be needed is there was an incident where the dog needed to visit a vet.
  6. Stay Off High Traffic Areas: A good rule for any Dog Walker is to stay away from high traffic areas. Sometimes it cannot be avoided, but generally parks and woodland areas mean less chance of vehicles, less chance of unwanted attention from other dogs, and more space to control multiple dogs at one time.
  7. Invest in Quality Equipment: Always pay special attention to the equipment you are using. You might be tempted to save money and buy the cheaper option but it is better to choose items which will last for longer and be more reliable. You can search for reviews of items such as harnesses, dog crates, branded clothing, dog waste bag carriers, etc on dog walking forums to get a good idea of other people’s experiences with them.
  8. Learn The Dog’s Behaviour: The best way to learn about how to handle a dog is by researching and undertaking courses in dog behaviour. Whenever you take on a new dog, NarpsUK recommend a trial walk with the dog’s owner first so that you can observe how they behave in a variety situations. How do they behave near people? Are they friendly? Do they scare easily? Are they aggressive? These little details will help you learn how to manage them when you are out walking, or may make you decide whether or not to take on the client.
  9. Always Be Prepared: With any animal, it is always sensible to be prepared. In an unruly scenario, you are the one responsible for them and so it is only best to be prepared for what can happen. Bad weather, road accidents, altercations with other dogs, or medical emergencies are just some of the things you can expect. Always keep your client’s details with  you which should include details of their emergency contact and vets. Investing in dog walking software with an app is a good idea since it can manage all your booking and client information in one place and view whilst out. Also, carry a small first aid kit with veterinary medicines for medical situations.
  10. Be Insured: Lastly, take the time to get yourself insured. With insurance, you can safeguard yourself and your business against unforeseen circumstances so that if there was an accident or incident, regardless of blame, you would be covered for vet bills or any other financial losses.

For more valuable information on starting a pet sitting and dog walking business, visit NarpsUK Ltd.

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