Job Dreams: Dog Walker
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As part of our Job Dreams series, we speak to professionals from different careers and share their advice with you. Last month, we learned what it's like to be a yogi-preneur. And this month we met Brodie who told us what it’s like to be a full time dog walker!
What do you do?
I have a dog walking and sitting business in Sheen.
Can you tell us what your day-to-day is like?
I start by working out the schedule for the day, looking at how many dogs need to be walked or looked after. I then work out how many walks I need to do and group the correct dogs together, depending on age, size and energy levels. Then I’ll focus on the schedule for my two employees to make sure they know what they need to do for the day too. I make sure the van is clean and has everything I need - water, treats, keys for the client’s houses and a first aid kit for any accidents or emergencies that may occur. I then drive to pick up my first dog of the day and continue on my route until I have picked up all the dogs for the first walk. We head to the park and I’ll walk the first six dogs. The dogs have fun playing together and basic training is done throughout. Once the walk is finished, the dogs are put back in the van, watered and dropped back to their homes. I will then start picking up for the next walk. I can do up to four walks a day!
What do you love most about your job?
I absolutely love dogs! I also love nature and the outdoors and much prefer to be on the move than stuck indoors at a desk. Seeing the dogs enjoying themselves and the clients happy with the job I do is also really satisfying.
What do you find most challenging?
Probably the weather! It can be hard going during the winter months. The traffic too - especially living in London - can cause a lot of disruption to my day when it’s really bad. Taking on new dogs can also be challenging, as I have to make sure they integrate smoothly into the pack. It can take a while to fully trust a new dog and can take a lot of hard work and consistency to get them well trained and working well with the others.
What did you see yourself doing when you were a kid?
Being a vet, or working with animals in some way.
What challenges did you face in reaching where you are today?
Building the business up. In the early days balancing things was quite difficult, until the business grew to a good enough level to support me.
If you weren’t working in this field, what do you think you’d be?
Working with animals in some way or another!
Where do you see yourself going next?
I’d love to expand my business to incorporate dog training and behaviour as well as walking and sitting.
What do you know now that you wish you’d known when you first left school?
To follow what you are passionate about and what you love.
What advice would you give to someone interested in joining your industry?
Find a reputable and fully established dog walking business or daycare centre to work with before you set up your own. You can learn a lot and gain confidence in yourself from someone else first. And do some dog training and animal first aid courses.
What’s the best piece of professional advice you’ve been given?
Be more DOG!
What quote do you live by?
“One life, no fear” and “seize the day”!