Dog walking may be a literal walk in the park, but throw a few extra floofers into the mix and you’ve got a lot on (or, as the case may be, in) your hands. There are certainly worse ways to make a living, though. Just imagine spending time with furry cuties and walking through so many beautiful parks. There aren’t that many jobs that make it mandatory to up your ‘step count’ for the day, that’s for sure.
If you’re a professional dog walker, you’re going to need a few more tools than the average Bob and his dog. If walking your own dog(s) is like minding our own children, then think of this as running a small daycare center. Which accessories should every dog walker have? To find that out, you’ll have to keep reading. Let’s get started!
A sturdy leash with a hands-free function
You’re gonna be walking a lot of dogs. Dogs tend to pull. Walk a lot of them and you’ll literally be pulled in all different directions. The best way to combat that is by choosing a leash (or leashes) that is (or are) tough as nails. We’re talking leashes made from rope or leather (if you have some very strong doggos in tow).
The other thing you’ll want is a hands-free function. With two hands and however many dogs, you’ll need all the hand availability you can get! There are only two solutions to this: become an octopus, or find a leash that either ties around or attaches to your waist. Wild guess, but we reckon you’re gonna opt for the latter.
And, of course, with so many dogs on your hands, you’re going to need copious supplies of poop bags. We’re not going to go into the list of reasons why you need to pick up your dog’s poop, but we will take this opportunity to recommend biodegradable options. If you’re willing to put in the effort, there are also other measures you can take to ensure the most eco-friendly disposal of dog poop. In any case, be sure to have at least one thick roll handy for when shit happens!
Dog first-aid kit
It may sound excessive, but if we’re going with the analogy of hosting a daycare centre, having a dog first-aid kit makes more sense. Remember, these doggos are under your duty of care. If any of your dogs sustain an injury or cut on your walk, it’s best to attend to it immediately. With a dog first-aid kit, you’ll have the sterilisation materials and bandages available to apply a literal Band-Aid fix.
Should ever this happen on one of your walks, you should inform the dog owner. Don’t be afraid to recommend a pots-walk vet checkup, either—just to be safe.
A way to a dog’s heart is through their stomach. Treats are the best incentive for behavioural change you’re gonna get. If your dogs are acting up or behaving in an unruly matter—and if you’re walking a small pack—then you’ll be grateful for keeping some treats handy. In reward-based dog training, we inspire behavioural change via positive reinforcement, and treats are the most common rewards in circulation. When offering a treat, ensure your dog has obeyed your command before you dispatch it. If one of your dogs is exuding angelic behaviour without prompt, you may want to reward them for that, too. Who’s a good boi?
Collapsible dog bowl
If you think walking dogs is thirsty work, imagine how the dogs feel. Dogs aren’t built to regulateheat as easily as we are, so they will need to drink deep from the pool of life on the regular. The last thing you want is a hot dog on your hands (unrelated: we wouldn’t want a hotdog on our hands either because those things are gross), so bring a collapsible dog bowl on your travels. The great thing about these receptacles is that they’re compactable and easy to carry. You never know where the next doggy bowl will be, so bring a bottle of water so you can fill up the bowl when required.
That’s about it
This list is fairly standard. Professional dog walking is like regular dog walking, only on (non-literal!) steroids and with financial reimbursement. Whilst they’re in your care, you will be responsible for the dogs’ wellbeing, so it never hurts to be prepared with emergency supplies and to go that extra mile in the interests of TLC. Again: you will be running a mini childcare centre of sorts.
If you do dog-walking on the side of a regular full-time job, and you need to walk the dogs in the absence of sunlight (for an early-morning or late-evening stroll), you may want to invest in extra equipment such as a torch or some doggy jackets. If you’re walking with dogs in the dark, it’s important to maintain at least some visibility. If it gets cold, it’s always nice to have some warm woollies in which to wrap your dogs!
When dog-walking, prioritise your dogs’ welfare and your own manoeuvrability (hence the suggestion about a hands-free leash). Most importantly, never take on more dogs than you can handle! Come prepared with the equipment you need and the gig should, indeed, be a walk in the park. Your dogs will thank you, too. Happy walking!