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Be Safe if You Are Picking Up a Job as a Dog Walker

If you’re looking for a way to earn some money during the summer, then pet-sitting and dog walking might strike you as an easy way to bring in the bucks. It’s true that, for people who love dogs, it can be a fantastic way to make some new furry friends and get paid along the way. However, dogs can be unpredictable, especially at the hands of owners that you don’t know.


For that reason, you want to make sure that safety is your first, second, and third priority. Here, we’re going to look at how you can stay mindful of your safety while still making the money you should as a dog walker.


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Avoid taking on more than you can handle

First of all, you should make sure that you’re always only taking out dogs in amounts that you can handle. If some dogs from the same household are used to going on walks at the same time, that’s fine, but don’t try to walk a bunch of dogs from different households together at once. You never know how they might or may not get along. In general, know and set your limits.


Get to know the dog ahead of time

When possible, you should meet the dog you’re going to be walking and spend some time with them. Talk to their owners and don’t be afraid to ask if there have been any incidents of aggressive behavior or violence from the dog before. When meeting a new dog, take it slowly, give them time to accept you, and let them come to you if they are willing. See if you can gently leash them in the presence of their owner before you do it on your own.


Keep an eye out for triggers during a walk

Some dogs have certain triggers that may activate aggressive responses in them. Hopefully, you should be able to identify them before they become an incident. If you are unable to prevent the triggers that lead to signs of aggression, it may be safer to decline to walk the dog (always be comfortable saying ‘no’ when you believe your safety is at risk). Otherwise, you can take measures to avoid those triggers in the future.


Be mindful of other walkers

Of course, it’s not always, or even often, that it’s the dog that you’re walking that poses a threat. In some cases, it may very well be another dog or dog and owner combo that is the problem. Owners who walk dogs off their leash can be particularly dangerous if aggressive given that the owner has little control over them. When you see other dog walkers out and about, observe how the owner and the other dog behave when they spot you. If they start looking nervous and taking measures to gain control of their dog or prevent a meeting, take it as a warning sign and do the same.


Know how to handle a bite

If a dog does turn aggressive and attacks you, then it’s important that you know what to do in the event of a bite. Apply pressure directly to the wound with a clean and dry cloth, wash it, apply some antibacterial ointment or wash to it, and then bandage it as best as you can before talking to your healthcare provider. You may want to start considering getting in touch with a dog bite lawyer as well. Whether you press charges or pursue damages is up to you but it’s important to know that you do have a right to do so in that situation.


Record all communications with owners

If you walk or sit a dog that poses a specific risk and the owners knew about it, then you should make sure that they don’t get away with playing ignorant. An easy way to record the communications with the owners is to mostly communicate through text and email. You might not have the legal right to record them on the phone without letting them know ahead of time, so it may be more prudent to simply make a note of what they say on the phone. It’s not the hardest evidence you can find but having the facts of what was stated when can support your story.


Dog walking is not always, or even often a dangerous job. But it is a job with some inherent risk and it’s wise to take the time to acknowledge that. Hopefully, the tips above help you do that a little better.


Kristen is a contributor for GirlSpring. Her posts focus on GirlSpring updates and current events.

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