Dog-walking – What's involved?
No tricks: dog walking really is as easy as it sounds. You arrange to pick up the animals, take them for a walk and then return them home. You might need to do it twice a day for each dog and a good walk means a minimum of half an hour – ideally an hour.
Dog-walkers charge per dog, per hour. Rates range from about £ 10-15 per dog, per hour (or half hour in some cases). If you're able to take several dogs at once you can earn significant amounts per day.
However, to start off with you need to be careful not to take on too many dogs for one walking slot. You should be able to cope with about three or four dogs depending on their size, speed and levels of obedience early on. As you get to know their characters, you can organize them into groups that will get on well together.
There are no current legal limits on how many dogs you can take out at once but local councils say the worst problems that they have with dog walkers who take out more animals than they can meet with at any one time.
The main problems are typically dogs running away and not coming back (dangerous and very bad for business), and dog walkers who can not clean up after all of the dogs under their care (this is not only illegal, it's a health hazard) .
Important: Laws that will affect you
While you are out with your batch of dogs you are responsible for them and their behavior. Be aware that there are various laws and rules you should know about before you beginning taking dogs out:
Under the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991 if you lose control of a dog in your care it is your legal responsibility, not the responsibility of the owner.
Under the Dogs (Protection of Livestock) Act 1953 or the Animals Act 1971 a dog must not worry livestock on agricultural land. The person in charge of the dog at the time will be charged with the indemnity, not the owner. Take care when walking on downs or farmland, especially in Spring around lambing time.
If a dog fouls you have to clean it up by law and dispose of it properly. If you ask your local council they may give you biodegradable poop bags for free.
Check the rules of your local park, these are usually posted at the entrance.
It is also useful to have the details of your nearest Dog Warden – contact your local council for details.
It is also a good idea to have the vet details for each of your charges in case of illness or accidents. You do not need any training for this work but you could consider a canine first-aid course. Look up local ones in any search engine.
Pet-thinking is similar to babysitting for pets. It involves going to someone's house to feed a pet, clear litter trays and generally make sure the pet is happy and healthy in the owner's absence.
Some pet minds are also house-sitters which could be a good way to make extra money, if you have the time to spare. Others just go in once or twice a day to feed and water the animals and sometimes take them for walks.
When looking after pets at your home, make sure the owner brings everything they need with them: food, bowls, any medicine, bedding, clothes and cages. Can you imagine a cageless hamster?
Find your first customers just by asking around. After that, if you're good and reliable, you'll get clients through word of mouth. Many dog-walkers get clients when they meet them in the park.
If regular work is your main priority you could consider joining a dog-walking agency. Just put 'dog-walking' into your search engine with your local area and see what comes up. There are lots of little, local agencies all over the country.
Get yourself some free business cards from Vista Print and hand them out to dog owners when you're on a walk. You can also put an ad up on the notice board in your local vet practice, pet shops and at rescue centers if they will let you.
The national agency Animal Aunts looks for people who can look after pets in all areas. Contact them if you want to work through an agency.
What will it cost me?
It should be fairly cheap. Running this sort of business should not involve much in the way of set-up or running costs. Petrol could be a factor if you're driving to meet people. Also, you should have a ready supply of pooper-scoopers and poops bags. You may also like to get gloves and / or antibacterial gel for keeping your hands hygienic. Apart from that, the largest expense will probably be insurance.
Try a specialist insurance website like Pet business insurance as they offer a total package; public liability – if the dog runs out into the road and causes a pile up, or bites someone; care, custody and control cover – looks after the pet itself, if it gets injured while under your care; and Key replacement cover – if you lose your employers' keys they'll pay to change the locks. As with other insurance policies, the more experienced you are the lower the cost.
Source by Jasmine Birtles