Okay so you have made the decision to start walking dogs…now what?
I could start with Licensing, Insurance, Pet CPR Certifications and Branding but there are plenty of blogs out there dedicated to explaining the importance of those things and how to get them. Instead, I am going to give you an idea of what kind of gear and tools you should have on hand from the beginning to set you up for success. Walking a dog seems like a routine activity but a good walk always starts with preparation and the right equipment.
Picking up dog poop: it’s a stinky, thankless job, but we all gotta do it. But there are so many bags to choose from! How do you pick? What’s the right choice? Fortunately for you, I have tried 20 different brands over the years and I keep going back to the same one. I prefer an earth friendly bag, very large and has a scent. My go to is Pogi’s Poop Bags!
First Aid Kit
You never know what will happen and it’s good to be prepared! Pet first aid kits provide you all the bandages, tools, and materials you need to ensure you can treat your clients pet on the spot in case of accident, injury, or illness. I recently purchased the RC Pet Product Pet First Aid Kit for all my walkers to put in their bags and this little thing has everything. Its not too bulky either.
There’s such a wide variety of leashes, it can be difficult to know which leash to choose. I always carry a standard slip leash, a medium thickness leather leash, harness and a martingale collar for those times when a client fails to leave the leash and collar where their supposed to be or for those times when a clients call me because there is a loose dog by their house. Trust me this will happen to you..a lot. I have a couple different brands of slip leads but the slip is use most frequently is the Mendota. I very rarely ever use anything other than a leather leash and the Leatherberg has never disappointed me. In fact, I have gifted them to clients with new puppies, I like them so much. I carry a Medium sized halter in my car- do I use it everyday? No. But it is nice to have on hand. I have been using Sporn dog harnesses forever. Lastly, I carry a couple different sized Martingale collars.
There are so many dog treats out there, it’s hard to know where to spend your money. Not only are they expensive, but you want to make sure your clients dog will like them, that they have good ingredients, and won’t make the dog sick. I have client pups in all different life stages, some with allergies, and some who are very picky. I have tried a variety of treats and I have found a treat that not one dog has yet denied! The best part? It only has one ingredient!! Stewart Dried Liver Treats are the best and extremely stinky- its literally doggy crack! I buy in bulk and put in sandwich baggies for quick grabs.
Who has walked into a clients house and been hit by an offensive smell? How about a poo explosion? a yack attack? a garbage apocalypse? No one? Just me? If you have not experienced this, you will. I have a couple go to products that I carry to win the war on any mess…well most. I always carry a sturdy paper towel, garbage bags, and my all time favorite cleaner, Simple Solutions. I always have a gallon refill at home and I carry it in a marked spray bottle in my car.
When you head to a clients house what do you do with the poop bags? The treats? The Client’s Keys? Stuff them in your pockets or purse? Wear a jacket just so you have extra pockets? What about your gear – your wallet, keys, and phone? Do you risk leaving them in the car or do you add them to your already over stuffed pockets? Sounds unorganized and inefficient. Don’t fret! I have used all kinds of bags, fanny packs, bumbags, cross body bags and have even tried to sew my own (bad idea)! After trying a number of bags at the expense of my wallet- I have found a bag I absolutely LOVE. The Furry Buddy, Hello pockets! Its meant for hands free walking (which I never do) but it holds my phone, keys, treats, pet corrector, Sabre Spray, and cash.
Dirty hands really do poison thousands of people…or in our case: Dogs. I am a hand sanitizer fanatic! I like to try every kind, every smell and sometimes my hands hate me for it. I have finally found a product that does not dry out my hands, smells good, and its a spray- NO GOO! Dr. Bronners Organic Lavender Hand Sanitizer is my go to sanitizer. These made great gifts for my walkers this past Christmas too!
These days, our businesses are mainly run from our smartphones, but unfortunately it’s hard to make sure they’re always juiced up, so having a car charger is a necessity. I would love to tell you go out and buy a cheap one they are all the same! Wrong. Make the investment and get a decent car charger. The one I use is Anker 24W Dual USB Charger and I bought extra USB cables too.