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    21 Little Secrets Professional Dog Walkers Will Never Tell You

    It's not as easy as it looks.

    1. There's a limit to the number of dogs we can walk at a time.

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    Exactly how many depends on laws in the local area. Walking one dog can be blissful, but walking more than that can be pretty chaotic.

    2. Our rotas are erratic and complicated.

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    The hours we work depend entirely on our clients' schedules and most dog owners have a particular preference for where their dog is walked. This means we're frequently travelling to get to our next appointment.

    3. We’re fiercely protective of the dogs we walk.

    4. But yes, sometimes we can lose a dog.

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    Usually because they're chasing a squirrel or have found an interesting flower. In most cases they'll just wander back to us like it's no big deal, but occasionally they'll just decide they've had enough and will make their own way home.

    5. The pay honestly isn't that great.

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    Most dog walkers earn minimum wage working for a dog walking company. Independent walkers can earn more but the cost of insurance and equipment means it's not a very lucrative career, so most walkers do it to subsidise their existing income.

    6. Dog walking can be extremely stressful.

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    Dogs don’t always get on with each other and breaking up a dog fight is hella scary.

    7. You don't need any formal qualifications.

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    But the more experience you have with dogs the better. If you sign up with an agency you'll usually have to do a few accompanied walks before they'll let you out on your own. Going solo straight off the bat can be difficult because most independent dog-walkers rely on word-of-mouth recommendations for customers.

    8. We get major guilt if something happens to a dog on our watch.

    9. We judge lazy dog owners.

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    There are lots of reasons why someone might need to employ a dog walker – they might be ill or elderly, for example – but if you straight-up can’t be bothered to do it yourself then you probably shouldn’t have a dog in the first place.

    10. Curious children can be a real pain.

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    The dogs we walk aren’t always child-friendly, and sometimes the children we encounter aren't exactly dog-friendly.

    11. Everyone has a dog they secretly dread walking.

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    Some dogs are particularly aggressive while others are flat-out lazy and need constant coaxing. Others might have digestive issues, which means being saddled up with all kinds of mess in poop bags and no one wants that.

    12. Sometimes we have to raise our voices and it sucks.

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    We’re not being cruel, dogs need firm guidance – that’s how they learn. We don’t enjoy it though.

    13. It’s a surprisingly tiring job.

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    There’s more to dog walking than strolling gently around a park. Little dogs literally run circles around you so you’re constantly battling with tangled leashes, while bigger dogs will rip your arm out of its socket pulling on their leads.

    14. We don’t always scoop the poop.

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    Solid stuff always gets picked up but if a dog has dumped a load of runny splat on to the ground there’s not much you can do about it. Sorry.

    15. The job can be really gross.

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    Mud, poop, dribble, snot… it gets everywhere and even though we do a lot of laundry you never really get the smell of dog off you.

    16. Getting a new puppy on your rota is like winning the dog-walking lottery.

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    You get to play an important part in its growth and development and it’s really fun watching them get bigger, which happens really quickly. Plus they’re super cute, obvs.

    17. If a dog owner is rude to us we’re more likely to look the other way when their dog’s in a puddle.

    18. Dog walkers often form cliques.

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    And we gossip about the misbehaving dogs from other groups.

    19. We know when a dog is sad.

    20. It’s heartbreaking saying goodbye to a favourite dog.

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    Sometimes their owners move away or their circumstances change so we don’t get to see them any more. Saying goodbye can hurt as much as if it were our own dog.

    21. But it’s all totally worth it, because DOGGOS.

    Note: This post is based on one person’s experience of working in the industry.

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