Are you good at connecting with dogs and enjoying spending time with them? Then a career as a dog walker might be perfect for you.
Dog walkers are trained individuals who offer paid dog walking services to busy pet owners. They earn by taking people's dogs for outings for a definite period.
To become a dog walker, you don't need to complete formal training. However, undertaking a Certificate III in Dog Training and Behaviour or Certificate IV in Companion Animal Services may improve your job prospects.
In this blog, you will discover the job role, personal and training requirements, and steps to pursue this career and set up your dog walking business in Australia.
1. Who Is A Dog Walker?
Dog walkers assist owners by taking care of the dog's overall health and well-being. Their objective is to provide loving companionship, regular exercise, and positive reinforcement to the dogs.
Dog walkers offer some physical and mental benefits for dogs as it increases serotonin, increase relaxation, reduce problem barking, and keep them in great shape. They either work independently or for a dedicated animal service business.
Based on their experience, and abilities, they may take one or multiple dogs for an outing.
2. What Are The Duties Of A Dog Walker?
Based on their qualifications and training, they perform a wide range of tasks and duties for their clients:
Visit clients' homes to take their dogs for an outing and bring them back safely.
Take dogs for walks around a safe and approved route at the right time to avoid the chances of burnt paws and heatstroke.
Maintain control of one or multiple dogs of different sizes or breeds
Improve the temperament of a dog by making them socialize with other dogs
Teach basic life-saving commands to dogs, such as come, sit, stay, etc.
Ensure dogs are safe and appropriately cared for throughout their walk
Provide dogs with food, water, and simple medication as instructed by clients
Keep dogs adequately hydrated and fed all through the day.
Take care of dogs in the absence of their owners.
Give treats "as a reward" to dogs for their obedience.
Play with clients' dogs
Book periodic appointments and take dogs to local vets
Perform admin tasks such as bookkeeping and invoice preparation
Assess the "on the road" dog's behaviour, compile a comprehensive report, and provide the same to the owner periodically.
Advise owners on the best dog-walking practices
Safely introduce the client's dog to other people and dogs.
Avoid trigger events and situations that can produce fear, anxiety, and aggression in dogs, such as cats, birds, traffic, or other dogs.
3. Dog Walker Skills For Success
Do you love dogs and are interested in becoming a dog walker? The below skills will help you excel at your job:
Ability to connect with different breeds of dogs
Good understanding of canine body language, including behaviour and temperament
Able to read subtle signs of fear, aggression, anxiety, distress, etc., in dogs
Physical fitness and strength
Good social skills with animals and people
Able to build a good rapport with clients
Quick problem solving
Time Management skills
Attention to detail
Safety skills to assure the well-being of other dogs and people
Good organization and bookkeeping skills
Able to calm a dog in stressful scenarios
Knowledge of correct equipment, walking routes, and treats to ensure the safety and well-being of dogs
4. Requirements To Become A Dog Walker In Australia
There are no formal requirements to become a Dog Walker. However, a university degree in Animal Behaviour and Wildlife will help you get technical knowledge of working with dogs.
Besides education, you also need the following to work in this role:
Recent National Australian Police check (received within the last 12 months)
Reliable vehicle to pick up and drop off dogs at your client's home when it is not within walking distance of parks
Those who want to start a dog walking business may need to obtain a license and an ABN number and fulfil other legal state-level requirements where they wish to work.
5. Steps To Become A Dog Walker As A Teenager In Australia
Here is a comprehensive step-by-step guide to help you pursue a dog walker profession:
Step 1: Get Trained
Though there are no formal training requirements to work as a dog walker, a university degree or certification in Animal Behaviour and Wildlife may help gain knowledge and the basics of a dog's temperament.
Formal education may boost your reputation and credibility to show your competency in dog care to potential dog owners. Moreover, certified dog walkers also have an easier time locating clients. Here are some great study options to consider for becoming a professional dog walker:
Certificate III in Dog Training and Behaviour
Certificate IV in Companion Animal Services
Step 2: Get A First Aid Certificate
A dog walker should be qualified and trained to provide emergency medical treatment. Consider taking a Certificate in Pet First Aid from a reputed organization like Pet Professional Guild Australia.
Step 3: Learn About Dogs
As the profession requires working with dogs, focus on developing good dog handling and socialization techniques. Get a thorough understanding of different canine breeds and their behavioural tendencies, temperament, body language, and posture.
Find out what type and breeds of dogs (territorial/ predatory/ adventurous) you are comfortable working with. Where some breeds of dogs get over-stimulated quickly, others are more fearful.
Thus, before handling dogs alone, understand the dogs' behaviour better and identify the breeds you are more comfortable with.
Step 4: Get Experience
Experience is a great way to improve your chances of earning a competitive market position. Once qualified, you can apply for an apprenticeship to build relevant industry experience.
Develop a portfolio of working with different types of dog breeds. It will assure prospective clients about your capability to work with the traits/ temperament of a particular dog breed.
Step 5: Conduct Extensive Research
Assess your monthly expenses and liabilities and determine how much income you need to meet them. Go through job sites to know how much professional dog walkers get paid for the service.
This advanced preparation will help you set realistic expectations and take steps to pursue the role.
Step 6: Start Networking
You can apply for dog walking jobs and start working with the necessary qualification. However, to get the job, you need to reach out to people and get them to know about you and your skills.
Networking is one of the best ways to market your talent and services to people. Communities, social media pages, and job portals are great places to find relevant clients and jobs. These platforms are also great for exchanging ideas and gaining business tips.
Step 7: Learn About Safe Dog Handling Methods
Knowledge and implementation of Safety practices are essential to working as a dog walker. You must know about staying safe and keeping your dog safe throughout this job. Your dog can turn aggressive or fearful when approaching other dogs or under specific circumstances.
Carrying citronella spray and other safety equipment to deter approaching dogs is recommended. Knowledge about calmer and safer walking routes and methods to control your dog under less favourable conditions is essential.
Remain watchful of your surroundings and constantly scan the area throughout your walk.
Step 8: Set Your Boundaries
As a dog walker, strictly define your work limits and stay within them. Be transparent and open with your clients on day-to-day tasks and duties. It will help avoid any misunderstanding later.
Step 9: Start Small
Experienced dog walkers can walk multiple dogs at once. However, as you are new in this profession, focusing on gaining expertise in your job is recommended.
Start small, stay patient, and learn step by step in the direction of your goal till you become competent for other roles. Perform your best in every job. It will help you build a repertoire, a base of recurring clients, and references.
6. How To Set Up And Run A Dog Walking Business?
Are you excited about establishing your dog walking business but need to know how to start? Here is a series of steps to help you lay the foundation for your business:
Step 1: Dog owners prefer professionally trained and confident dog walkers to have the assurance that their pet is in safe and experienced hands. It is essential to undertake accredited education and training to gain the technical knowledge, skills, and confidence to work with animals safely.
Consider completing recognized courses like Certificate III in Dog Behaviour and Certificate IV in Companion Animal Services. Delta Society Australia is a reputable institution that offers these courses.
Step 2: To make a great start with your first dog walker business, you should have good knowledge of business, accounting, and marketing. Start reading business books, blogs, and articles to develop a solid understanding of business.
Undergraduate university qualifications in these areas will equip you with the necessary skills, knowledge, and confidence to read and write business contracts. Further, it helps in revenue projections and forming marketing strategies that are a must to run this business.
Step 3: Consider gaining accreditations in animal care to gain more authority and attract potential clients.
Step 4: Decide on your business name and get your ABN number to work as an independent business in Australia.
Step 5: Set up a separate bank account to receive payments.
Step 6: Research the pet boarding market to understand the competition and get a fair idea of the hourly rate for the job.
Step 7: Learn about the upfront and ongoing expenses you will incur to set up and run the business. It includes rental costs, business insurance, petrol costs, vehicle maintenance cost, marketing costs, safety and general equipment costs such as dog leads, doggie first aid kit, poop bags, treats and plays toys, etc.
Step 8: Contact the local council to find a suitable location, such as beaches and parks, to take the dog for a walk.
Step 9: Determine the type of service that you will offer, such as dog walking, dog boarding, dog sitting, dog grooming, etc.
A few other things to look at are as follows:
Learn the rules and procedures to conduct such services in your state
Determine the size and breed of dogs that you want to walk
Decide the number of dogs you can walk at once
Decide how you charge pet owners, such as daily, upfront payment, or weekly.
Are you authorized to provide first aid to a dog?
Do you have specific procedures in place to deal with emergencies?
Membership in PIAA gives you an excellent opportunity to develop and expand your business. You get peer assistance, access industry experts, and participate in workshops, local pet events, and networking events.
Step 12: Identify and implement the best marketing strategies for your dog-walking business to build a customer base. You can invest in low-cost or expensive ways to promote your business and its services based on your budget.
Some of the recommended marketing channels are websites, social media, PPC, or placing ads in the local paper. Get in touch with local vets and hand out your business cards or flyers. Come up with an introductory offer to attract clients to try your services.
7. Dog Walker Courses in Australia
Do you love working with animals and want to undertake further studies to develop a career in the animal service sector? If yes, here are the top three courses to learn about animals, their behaviour, hygiene, health, and well-being.
The Certificate IV training program teaches about animal behaviours, basic first aid, rescue, handling, and the transportation of animals to make you skilled for the job.
Certificate III in Dog Behaviour and Training
Certificate III in Companion Animal Services
TAFE International WA
Melbourne Polytechnic TAFE
South Metro TAFE
Certificate IV in Companion Animal Services
8. Job Opportunities For Dog Walkers
Walking with dogs is an essential responsibility of dog owners as it keeps their dogs happy and healthy. Several dog owners look for trained dog walkers as they don't have time to walk their dogs.
This indicates that plenty of work opportunities are available to dog walkers all over Australia. Mad Paws and Pet Cloud are the two reputable organizations that help dog walkers find dog walking jobs near them.
Let us look at the features, services, and benefits offered:
Mad Paws is the best place to find a local dog walker job that works around your schedule.
It is a Sydney-based start-up firm formed to meet the ever-rising need for economical and safe local pet accommodation. They offer love, care, and attention to pets.
You can find different categories of dog walking jobs in Sydney on this pet boarding service platform:
Pet Day Care
Features of the service:
Specify your prices
Decide the type and size of dogs you are comfortable walking.
Make your Calendar and set your work schedule.
It includes Premium Accident Cover, which covers the dog walker, the owner, and the pet.
Facility to Repeat Weekly Bookings function to secure ongoing and regular Dog Walks
Excellent emergency support
Fast and secure online payments
Continual marketing of dog walkers
Click here to find dog walker jobs in Sydney with MadPaws and apply for them.
Are you looking for a fantastic opportunity to kick-start your dog-walking career? Pet Cloud is a highly trusted Pet Care services company semi-owned by RSPCA Queensland to facilitate responsible pet care.
If you are above 18 years and have undergone a Police check, you can join and start earning as a casual dog walker. The platform also provides advertising tools to get new bookings and expand your business.
Features of the Service:
It saves you time and pays you money
Automatic SMS And Email reminders related to meet and greet, booking, email reminders, and review requests
Automatic Insurance Cover
Easy tracking of earnings
Live Chat with clients
Online digital verification badges to develop trust quickly
Accredited RSPCA Pet Care Course to promote and understand local laws and build your client base
Excellent Customer Support via the website, phone, and email.
Benefits of Choosing Pet Cloud service:
Flexibility to choose when and how you want to work
Freedom to choose the breed and size of dogs you wish to walk
Fast, friendly, and convenient technology that offers escrow payments
Live Chat with clients
Pet Accident Insurance policy
Are you Interested in becoming a part of Pet Cloud? Join for free and access National Pet Jobs Board to view and apply for dog walker jobs in Australia.
9. Work Conditions For A Dog Walker
It is a purely outdoor job. A dog walker has to work in all types of weather, including extreme weather conditions (sun/rain/hail). They generally work on an "on-call" or "per-requirement" basis.
The work may require them to work irregular hours or overtime (weekends and public holidays) based on the client's availability and preferences.
Dog walkers generally carry safety spray and other safety equipment to keep themselves and the dog safe.
10. How Much Do Dog Walkers Get Paid In Australia?
The average yearly pay for a Dog Walker is $50,648 per year, equivalent to $25.92 per hour.
The salary of a dog walker depends on age, education level, experience, type of employment (full-time or part-time), and area of work. In addition, the earnings also depend on the duration of the walk. For example, for a 30-minute and 60-minute dog walk, dog walkers earn around $36 and $49.
Dog walkers who do small group walk with multiple dogs earn differently than those who do private solo walks for high-energy, unsocialized, and aggressive dogs.
NSW is the top-paying city for Dog Walkers, paying approx. $48,792 per year.
11. How Old Do I Have To Be A Dog Walker In Australia?
You must be 18 years old to work as a professional dog walker. It ensures that you can walk dogs safely and drive pets to an emergency Vet hospital in critical situations.
12. How To Become A Dog Walker In Melbourne?
Kangan is a reputed institute that offers six months of full-time Certificate III in Animal Studies course that prepares you for a dog walker profession.
13. How To Become A Dog Walker In Sydney?
Consider taking a Certificate III in Companion Animal Services at TAFE NSW to gain the necessary knowledge and skills to work in this role.
A dog walker can be a fun and emotionally rewarding career path. You can be with animals and care for their overall well-being. Further, it is a great career option for those seeking a lifestyle away from a desk cubicle.
Gaining experience and accredited certification will improve your career prospects. So, what are you waiting for? Go ahead and get qualified to pursue your passion.
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