By Aurus Sy
Published: 09/21/2021, edited: 08/12/2022
So you’ve decided to take on the role of part-time dog walker in addition to full-time student. Congratulations! Working while you’re still in school shows responsibility—you may have to skip a party every now and then, but you know that having a job has its rewards. Working students are not only able to reduce their need for student loans, but they also tend to have better grades and time management skills. Plus, you love dogs, so why not earn extra cash doing something you enjoy?
A college schedule can be quite packed, so it may be challenging to figure out when to offer your dog walking services. In this guide, we'll help you decide when the best time is for you to fit in a dog walk amongst classes, study times and off days, and get you moving and groovin' with your pawdorable furry clients!
What are the best times to walk dogs as a full-time student? The answer is that it depends! While there is no single right answer, it’s best to start by looking at your academic schedule.
What time do your classes start and end? Do you have any extracurricular activities? If you have early morning classes but have plenty of free time later in the day, then you’ll want to work in the afternoon. If you attend night classes that end at 10 PM, then it’s probably a good idea to accept four-legged clients who need their evening strolls before you head to class. Create a list of times you will be available and be sure to build in a bit of flexibility. Then, once you know when you can walk dogs, you can figure out a dog walking schedule that works for you and your clients.
Deciding when you have time to walk dogs is certainly the first step, but you'll also have a few other factors to consider which can depend on your furry clients.
Your canine client’s breed, age, health, and even personality can also help you figure out the best times to go for a stroll. For example, brachycephalic breeds such as Pugs and French Bulldogs and double-coated dogs better suited for cold weather like Huskies are more prone to heatstroke, so they should avoid going out in the afternoon when the sun is the hottest. Likewise smaller dogs like Chihuahuas who don't have a lot of body fat or fur probably shouldn't be walking during the coldest parts of the day in frigid temperatures, such as early morning or after dusk.
Young puppies and older dogs will likely need to go to the bathroom first thing in the morning to prevent accidents while their human is out for the day. And depending on where they live, the roads may become really busy in the evenings. If your furry friend is easily spooked by traffic, then you may want to choose a quieter time for their walks and suggest that their parent works on desensitizing them to loud noises. And no matter what times you choose to walk, it’s important for many dog clients to follow the same schedule every day, as dogs are creatures of habit who thrive on an established routine
Besides the particular needs of your clients, you can also factor in the pros and cons of different times of the day to see what works best for both of you.
With cooler temperatures and fewer people outside, mornings let you and your furry pal enjoy some quiet time before the day really starts. AM walks also allow a dog to do their business and burn off energy early in the day. Morning walks are probably not the best choice during the winter, though, especially for pups who get cold easily or suffer from joint problems.
If you live in the city, you may want to avoid afternoon walks due to the many cars and people that are out on the street during that time. The afternoon is also the warmest part of the day, so it’s not the best time to go out during summer if overheating is a concern. On extremely hot days, any dog can also burn their paw pads on the pavement, so there may be times you'll have to change the walk or reschedule to protect those pup paws! However, afternoon walks can be pleasant in the winter and in places that don’t get too crowded.
A lot of people walk their canine companions in the evening after work or school, making it a peak time for exercising Fido. If your four-legged client likes people and other dogs, they’ll enjoy going on evening strolls and meeting their neighbors. This is also a much cooler time of day, which is pawfect for hotter months or walking dogs who may be prone to overheating.
Nighttime walks are ideal for high-energy pooches who require more than two walks per day, as well as pups who need to go potty before bed. Like morning strolls, night rambles are more relaxing than afternoon and evening walks since it’s cooler and less crowded outside. For your safety, be sure to wear light-up or reflective gear if you’re walking dogs at night.
Not sure where to find clients for your new venture? Sign up to be a dog walker on the Wag! App where you can instantly connect to Pet Parents in your area. Since walks can be booked on-demand or pre-scheduled, you get to choose when you walk and have a part-time job that works for you, not the other way around.
Happy dog walking!
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