By Kim Rain
Published: 07/21/2021, edited: 07/21/2021
Want to become a dog walker? Its easy to see why! With the ability to work when you want and how often you want while spending time outdoors with pawsome dogs, who wouldn’t?
Whether you want to experience the benefits of fun exercise, or are looking to build a successful dog walking business, dog walking can be your ticket to paying the bills in the most puptastic way possible! But what if you are scared of dogs?
You may think that a fear of the canine kind means you can’t be a dog walker, but there are steps you can take to overcome your fear and even learn to love dogs! In this guide, we’ll explore how you can take charge of your fear and become a dog enthusiast, furiend and even walker!
Cynophobia, or the fear of dogs, is a very real condition, and can cause sufferers to fear even the gentlest of pooches. If you have a fear of dogs, just seeing one may cause trembling, dizziness, nausea, trouble breathing, an increased heart rate, sweating, feeling out of control, or feeling the need to escape or hide.
Many psychologists believe that a fear of dogs can occur due to a traumatic experience with one, or from a lack of exposure to them. This phobia can affect children and adults, and could even be inherited from your family.
Being a dog walker means more than just being comfortable around dogs, as you’ll need to be completely hands-on. A typical dog walking job will include tasks such as:
All these tasks may seem impossible if you are too afraid to be near a dog, no less touch them. Does that mean your dreams of a dog business are dashed? Certainly not!
If your cynophobia is so severe that you can’t even stand the sight of a dog, you may want to consider counseling to help you understand why you are afraid, and how to treat it. Therapists use a variety of methods to treat cynophobia, and while some of them are better used with a professional, there are several that you can work on at home if you are dealing with a mild fear.
Generally, most therapies work to treat two issues, the feelings of anxiety with relaxation techniques, and the fear itself with desensitization.
When practiced regularly, relaxation techniques can help you deal with feelings of panic as they happen so you can remain calm. The most pupular techniques include:
Now it’s time to move on to the tough part- desensitization. The only way you can learn to be near or touch dogs without fear is to do it, but you can do it as slowly as you feel comfortable with. Here are some steps you can take to gradually get used to dogs.
Remember to always go at your own pace, and seek a therapist if you need help along the way. Once you are comfortable around dogs, walk as many of them as you can. Take a training class, learn commands, and practice your new walking skills to get ready for a job in dog walking.
Finding a pawtastic service that connects dog walkers with pet parents can make being a dog walker easy. On the Wag! platform, you can change the preferences in your profile so Pet Parents can see that you only walk small dogs or older dogs, or prefer just puppies. You can change this anytime as you develop your skills, and work to build your business.
So, what are you waiting for? Start your journey to dog walking today!
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