Do you love dogs and would gladly play, walk, or snuggle with them? Well, you might be interested in becoming a professional dog sitter. After all, spending on pets is up 90%, and owners are willingly paying money to have their pets kept happy while they are away.
A professional dog sitter is a type of pet sitter responsible for taking care of dogs when the owners can’t. Basically, you pick up the dogs from the owner’s house, walk them, feed them enough water and food, and keep them safe. Animal care and service workers such as dog walkers require few training and education prerequisites. To get into the professional dog sitting business, you can work for a reputable dog sitting company such as Mad Paws Dog Sitting or start your own.
Here are the steps to become a professional dog sitter…
1. Obtain a high school diploma. There are no official educational requirements in becoming a professional dog walker, but animal care organizations prefer those with GED or a high school diploma. The animal science background from high school will prepare the applicants for this career opportunity. Other high school activities that involve responsibilities such as taking care of pets or animals will also help in forming a love for these creatures, which is an essential requirement for pet sitters.
2. Start classes. Various organizations provide training courses for aspiring pet caregivers and pet owners. Some colleges offer courses or certificate programs on animal care or dog sitting. These courses will usually cover topics in dog obedience, pet grooming, disease prevention, and animal behavior and nutrition.
Be certified! Some training programs include certification for dog sitters that will cover on-site training related to first aid, animal body language, leash training, and dog behavior. Certification may require passing an exam.
3. Gain experience. Aspiring professional dog sitters can also undergo on-the-job training offered by well-known dog sitting businesses. You can also opt to volunteer for dog sitting positions at various animal welfare organizations. Here, you will learn how to transport animals safely, feed them properly, correctly dispose of their wastes, and control leashed animals.
If you are planning to start a dog sitting business in the future, you can gain useful experience by working with professionals. Here, you can study how managers talk with clients, control finances, schedule dog walker shifts, and run promotional campaigns.
4. Consider business courses. This is important if you are planning to get into a professional dog sitting business of your own. Before establishing your own business, you may want to learn about the different business practices in this field, which you will obtain from taking up business courses. These courses are usually offered by organizations or universities that offer certificate programs that specialize in teaching skills related to the animal care industry. Expect to learn about getting insurance, establishing your business plan, setting fees, and promoting and operating an animal care business.
5. Obtain licensing. An employed professional dog sitter needs to know about the laws and licensing prerequisites in the animal care business. Some cities, for example, have restrictions on the number of dogs a sitter can walk at the same time. There are also other policies that a dog sitter should know. This includes reporting procedures for lost animals, dog waste disposal, animal transportation safety, and leash laws.
Self-employed professional dog sitters are also required to obtain business licenses with government agencies. They may also need permits for walking the dogs within city parks. Liability insurance will be helpful especially if something unexpected happens to the dog, dog sitter, or owner. Independent professional dog sitters also need to track vaccination history and record dog license numbers.
Professional dog sitters and business owners who transport animals should keep their business and drivers’ licenses consistent with local laws. Certified dog sitters are also required to renew their certifications. Renewal may require retaking exams, paying fees, or finishing education courses needed for animal care.
For you to become a professional dog sitter, you should have at least a GED or high school diploma and take courses on animal care. You should also be comfortable around and sympathetic to dogs and their owners. To learn more about controlling dogs and specific policies related to the animal care business, becoming certified is an excellent option. Self-employed dog sitters or those who need to transport the animals by car must have their business and drivers’ licenses.