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How College Students Can Build a Successful Dog Walking Side Hustle


Are you a college student who loves dogs? Why not take your passion for animals and turn it into a money-making side gig? Working a full-time job with a full-time school schedule is nearly impossible — that’s why many students are turning to dog walking as a way to make some extra cash between classes.

Dog walking is a huge industry, especially in 2021 when people are returning to work after working from home. If starting a dog walking side gig has crossed your mind, read on. We’ll give you all the tips and information you need to get your business up and running.

What does it take to be a successful dog walker?

Dog walking is a business, after all, so you’ll need some basic business skills to get your business off the ground. You’ll should be able to effectively communicate with clients and have the time management skills to book your walks around your busy school schedule.

The 3 most important traits you’ll need to become a successful dog walker are:

  • dependability
  • a willingness to learn
  • a love of dogs

If you have these 3 traits, you're bound for success!

What is Wag!’s criteria for dog walkers?

Wag! has high standards for the dog walkers on our platform. Dog walking candidates and Pet Caregivers must pass a background check and answer questions about appropriate practices when caring for or walking dogs.

In addition to these criteria, dog walking candidates will need to provide at least 5 endorsements from friends, relatives, or coworkers stating they are good candidates for the position. Wag! only requires 5 endorsements, but the more, the better. The more endorsements you provide, the faster your application can be approved, provided you meet the other criteria. 

Tips for walking dogs as a full-time student

Here are some tips for walking dogs as a full-time student:

Book your walks around your class schedule

Take your schedule into account when booking walks for clients. Walks before or after day classes are optimal, but depending on the length of time between your classes, you may be able to fit in a walk during your class breaks.

Pick up after your canine client

Bring along some doggy waste bags when going out for your walks. Leaving a canine client’s “presents” behind is impolite and could result in fines. 

Secure your client’s keys

Keeping up with your clients' keys is a huge responsibility, so it’s important you secure them before and after the walk. After you get the dog out, make sure you put the key in the designated spot so you don't misplace it. When it’s time to lock up after your walk, return the key once again to the designated spot or lockbox.

Be mindful of your walk length

Walks may be 20, 30, or 60 minutes long, depending on the client’s preference. It’s essential you walk the dogs for the agreed-upon length of time, with the exception of short breaks if the dog needs a rest. 

Stay in contact with the pet parents

Use the Wag! Chat feature to stay in contact with pet parents and give them “pupdates” about their dog’s walking experience. You can also use the report card feature to give your clients details about their dog’s bathroom and behavioral habits.

Read up on Wag!'s policies

Pet Caregivers are encouraged to read the terms and conditions and the Pet Caregivers section of the Wag! Help Center to become better acquainted with Wag! policies.

How do you become a dog walker with Wag?

The first step to becoming a dog walker with Wag! is to fill out this form stating your full name, email address, and phone number. Then, you'll need to pass a background check and test on the best practices of dog walking. You'll also need to have your friends and colleagues fill out and submit your endorsements using the link provided to you. 

Once your application is approved, you can move forward with the test walk. The test walk is designed to help Pet Caregivers get accustomed with app and must be completed within 30 days of activating your profile.

Building a successful dog walking side hustle

Dog walking is a fun and immensely rewarding job, but it does come with its share of challenges. As with any business, building a successful dog walking business takes some work, but it’s entirely doable if you put in the time and effort. Wag! is here to walk you through the process with a whole series of informative videos on everything from staying safe while dog walking to navigating the Wag! app

What’s stopping you from joining our network of over 350,000 Pet Caregivers? Sign up today and get to making the best "fur-iends" with delightful doggos in your neighborhood.

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