The Self Employed Pet Sitter
Finding a Career in Pet Care
Mar 3, 2010 Jennifer Henderson
With millions of pet owners across the county, many of whom think of their pets as family members, the demand for pet services is one that can be offered by the self employed animal lover. Professional Dog Walking
Dogs are social animals that need to have interaction in order to feel content. They are also pets that require often a high amount of exercise each and every day. When owners are away at work for hours at a time, neglected animals can become unhappy or even destructive. For that reason, owners may hire a dog walker to pick up the dog once or several times each day in order to provide that much needed interaction and exercise.
Dog walkers may have pet first aid, bonding, and insurance, as well as experience in working with dogs and an obvious love of animals. Such qualities help clients to seek out dog walkers as professionals, and to respect the work that is done.
Many dog walkers will pick up several dogs at a time, and take them for walks, runs, or play time in local "off leash" parks. This helps to make job worth the dog walker's time, as with the time it takes to pick up the dog, and the hour or so spent in walking and exercising, taking individual dogs is not often a financially productive use of time.
Dog walkers should be sure that they maintain a high level of supervision for the animals in their charge, to prevent accidents and dangerous situations. A good knowledge of the personalities of the animals being cared for helps a walker determine which animals are okay to be let off a leash, and which might require more supervision.
In order to maintain acceptance of this profession, it is essential that the dog walker provide thoughtfulness in their service. Dogs must always be cleaned up after, prevented from posing a threat to the public, and brought to areas where dogs are welcome, and will not cause a disturbance to others around them.
Pet sitting is like dog walking in that it is providing for the needs of the animals while the owner is unavailable, however it is often done in a person's home, and contains such tasks as feeding pets, bringing in mail, watering plants, and watching over a person's home while they are away, in addition to walking dogs. Working as an Obedience Trainer or Dog Groomer
As a more specialized profession, those interested in obedience training or dog grooming would need to seek out a good study program and hands on practicum to learn how to properly train or groom dogs.
Some jobs that might be available to the experienced dog trainer include: pet dog obedience trainer puppy training search and rescue dog trainer police dog trainer guide dog trainer hearing dog trainer therapy dog trainer
Dogs can be very sensitive about their appearance, says Billy Rafferty and Jill Cahr in their book Happy Dog [New American Library, 2009], and it is therefore important that a dog groomer have much hands on experience as well as training before venturing out to open their own grooming saloon. Dogs will often leave a saloon with the contented spring in their step of one who feels good about themselves, but have been known to hide in embarrassment when faced with a poorly done haircut. Personality Traits in Pet Care Professionals
There are many choices for an animal lover who is looking for self employment in the pet business. A patient, caring, and thoughtful attitude, along with training and experience are the building blocks of a successful pet care business.
Sandlin, Eileen Figure and Entrepreneur Press. Start Your Own Pet Business and More. Canada: Entrepreneur Media Inc. 2009
Eibner, Dianne. The Face in the Window: A Guide to Professional Dog Walking, Second Edition. Canada: Webcom Limited. 2006.