How Can I Make Money Working With Dogs?

Dogs are so popular these days that there are lots of people who would like to create a career in dogs for themselves. They love dogs, they enjoy spending time with them, and they feel they have something positive to offer to both people and dogs by working with animals. Fortunately there are many dog-related careers available to people. Here are five good ways to make money and earn a living working with dogs.

As a job, dog walking has become very much in demand in the past few years, particularly in larger cities with many apartment dwellers. People who live in apartments or in homes without sizable backyards, and who work during the day, are often in need of a good dog walker for their dogs. A dog walker will come by the home and take the dog out for a good walk, usually while the owner is at work. Many dog walkers will walk the dog for about an hour. For some dog walkers more vigorous exercise is involved, such as jogging. The good thing about dog walking for the dog walker is that he can walk multiple dogs at one time and have several clients per hour which improves his income. You can become a dog walker anywhere that there is a demand for such a service, though dog walkers are usually found in urban areas. You could also walk dogs for the elderly or the disabled in smaller towns or rural areas.

If you decide to become a dog walker it’s a good idea to get some insurance and consider becoming bonded since you will be responsible for other people’s pets. Decide how many hours per day or week you want to devote to the work. You can be flexible if it’s a part-time job, but you must be reliable. Keep good financial records and have a written contract with your clients. It’s a good idea to have extra collars and leashes with you when you walk dogs in case one breaks. Always pay close attention to the dogs and know where to take them for veterinary help.

Like dog walking, pet sitting has become very popular. Many people prefer to hire a good pet sitter rather than take their dogs to a boarding kennel. A pet sitter can come to someone’s home and take care of the dogs without causing them the stress and upset of sending them to a strange kennel with unknown dogs.

In order to become a pet sitter you should do many of the same things discussed for becoming a dog walker: get insurance and become bonded. You will be in your clients’ homes and you don’t want to be blamed if anything should be missing or broken when they return home. Your insurance and bonding will cover you in case of any accidents. You should also keep good financial records and have a written contract with each client that details your services. Make sure you have contact information for your clients when they are out of town and that you have contact information for their vet. You should also know about any medications or special foods their dogs get. It’s a good idea to visit with the clients and their dogs, in their home before they leave so you have a chance to meet the dogs and assess them. It also gives the dogs a chance to get to know you a little.

As with dog walking, a pet sitter is able to have multiple clients at any one time. It’s usually only necessary to spend an hour or so with each client dog or dogs to handle feeding, play time and to make sure the dogs are all right. You may wish to visit twice a day in some cases depending on feeding schedules. These are things to work out with your clients.

Another popular dog profession is running a doggy daycare. Many people who work feel very uneasy about leaving their dogs home alone all day. They don’t like to crate them or leave them lying around bored. Or, perhaps they have a dog that is destructive in the house. In these cases some people choose to take their dogs to doggy daycare. Doggy daycare facilities are just what they sound like – playtime for dogs. Dogs run, play with each other and with toys, have nap time, all under the supervision of qualified humans who look after them until their owners pick them up after work.

If you think you might like to run a doggy daycare business you will need to follow normal best business practices – find out what business and tax licenses are required in your town and state. Obtain insurance. Find a facility that can accommodate the number of dogs you have in mind as clients. You will need to think about both indoor and outdoor use. Consider how you will manage things like doggy poop and time-out for dogs. You will need some equipment such as fencing and probably some kennel runs for when the dogs are resting. It’s a good idea to try to visit other doggy daycare facilities, if possible, in order to see how they are run and what other supplies you may need. You may need to hire an assistant or two if you plan to have more than a few dogs.

Interest in what our dogs eat has sky-rocketed in the last ten years. Not only are we feeding our dog’s gourmet and holistic dog food, but many people like to buy their dogs fresh-baked goods such as cookies and other treats. In many cities doggy bakeries have become very popular. In some cases doggy bakeries are more than simply places where you buy dog cookies. They are also places where dog owners can take their dogs to let them socialize with other dogs. Dog owners can sit and have a cup of coffee with each other and talk about their dogs. Some doggy bakeries even organize games and events for their customers (the four-footed customers). Entire lifestyles are being built around doggy bakeries.

It’s not hard to find good recipes for doggy biscuits and other treats. You may use some of the recipes you find online or in books. Other doggy bakeries are part of doggy bakery chain stores. You can buy into a franchise if you have the money. Or you can start small with your own space and recipes. You don’t have to limit yourself to merely selling dog treats. You can also offer some dog toys, bowls, shampoos, grooming tools. Once people are in the mood to spend money on dog cookies they tend to open their pocketbook to buy other things for their dogs.

If you’re interested in opening a doggy bakery you should follow the same kind of advice we discussed for a doggy daycare – obtain business and tax licenses, insurance, the right space, and so on.

Dog training is something that dogs always need. If you are interested in working with dogs and you have a knack for communicating with them, then you may wish to think about becoming a dog trainer. Dog trainers may choose to work on an individual basis with a dog and client, or work in a group – or offer both kinds of training. They can offer traditional obedience training or become skilled at more advanced training, such as police dog work, Schutzhund training, agility training, arson detection work, or working with dogs with behavioral problems, to name just a few of the many kinds of training that dog trainers can provide.

If you would like to become a dog trainer there are a number of excellent schools for dog trainers around the country. You may also study animal behavior or canine behavior. You can search the following sites for more information.

www.learntotraindogs.com 4, 6, and 12 week programs in Texas

www.dogtrainiercoach.com affordable on line training

www.k9-university.com online, self-paced and “Live” training

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Comments

  1. Looking for a career says

    Hi, I am 14 years old and I have been training dogs since I was 4. I have always loved it and it gives me a sense of pride. While at the same time helping enritch the dog. I have always been interested in dog behavior. I have always wanted to be a dog trainer, but many people say how little money you make especially after going into university for animal behavior. I was wondering if there are any other jobs out there that involve working with dogs and I could use a animal behavior course to help me in. I could just do training on the side.

  2. Julie Godwin says

    What is the cost of getting licensed and bonded to be a dog walker? How is it possible to walk more than one dog? As for grooming, does
    a person need to be licensed as well?

  3. Wayne Booth says

    Julie:

    You didn’t mention what state you were in but things are different in different places.

    To do this correctly you should have a business license if required. Contact an independent insurance agent to inquire about liability insurance and bonding.

    OR join one of the dog walking associations and get it thru them. Just google dog walking associations.

    I really don’t know the answer about groomers. Call a groomer and ask. You can google grooming schools and they will be able to tell you.

  4. Laura says

    Hi, I am in the process of changing careers and also have a keen interest in working with/training dogs, specifically training dogs to help people with physical or emotional disabilities. I know there are all kinds of new ways people and dogs are working together nowadays, such as dogs who assist veterans with PTSD or epilepsy, or even mental illnesses like OCD. But I wonder if it is possible to earn a living training dogs to work with people in these ways, and if so, how I would go about it. Thanks for your reply.

  5. Wayne Booth, the Dog Business Blogger says

    Laura, I just sent you a message. Give me a call so I can give you some info about training service dogs.

  6. Mike Enea says

    Hi Wayne, I’m located in central New Jersey (Princeton area) and I am currently enrolled in Animal Behavior College. I have a great love for dogs and have an interest in training service dogs, possibly those for veterans with PTSD, etc.. I have a program manager at ABC that I have been working with and bouncing questions off the last few months, but she hasn’t really been able to help me or give solid advice in this area. I would love to hear your thoughts and experience on this topic as well as to learn more specific details about earning a living in this fashion. Thanks in advance for your reply.

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