Upcoming dogTEC Classes

dogtec.orgdogTEC is an organization that can help people start a pet business (for instance, starting a dog walking service). dogTEC offers a variety of in-person classes and courses that are helpful to people who sign up. Classes are now held throughout the country, making it easy for aspiring business owners to enroll throughout the year.

Here are some upcoming dogTEC classes you may be interested in learning more about:

Train at the Next Level with Jean Donaldson
May 14-15 in Las Vegas $185
Jean Donaldson and Veronica Boutelle
Take your training—and your training business—to the next level. Join world-renowned trainer Jean Donaldson and the dog pro industry’s top business coach Veronica Boutelle to improve your case resolution and your bottom line.
Learn more or sign up

The Business of Classes
May 17 in Accord, NY $60
Gina Phairas
Get the keys to a successful dog training class business. dog*tec business coach Gina Phairas addresses both the curriculum and business sides of a thriving class program. Learn to prepare your clients for real-world success outside the classroom, inspire rampant word of mouth, and keep students coming back through graduation and into the next class.
Learn more or sign up

Dog Walking Academy
March 18-20th in Hudson, NY
April 28-May 1 in SF
May 26-29 in Seattle

Tuition is $650.
Learn more or sign up

Starting a Dog Walking Service in Brooklyn

Dog Walker in BrooklynIf you live in Brooklyn, New York, love canine companions, and lead an active lifestyle, you may be considering starting your own dog walking business. Brooklyn is a unique area to start a dog walking service, with its own set of challenges and positive attributes. Before you decide to start walking dogs professionally, there’s several factors to consider.

Location is important. While it’s possible to use your own transportation to get client’s pets to safe and dog-friendly walking environments, you’re going to be creating extra expenditures for yourself to get around Brooklyn. Get a feel for what locations in your area are suitable. For example, if you live west Brooklyn, you could do your dog walking in Prospect Park, which is friendly for leashed dogs and has designated off leash hours too.

Commuting on the subway or by foot makes things easier for you, so you might look for clients in a subway-convenient area. It will be important to schedule your walks accordingly based on how you’ll be able to get to your clients’ homes. If you’re taking the subway, you might want to arrange your walks based on the distance from your clients, keeping in mind MTA work on the weekends and the evenings can make timing a challenge.

You may be tempted to maximize profits by walking as many dogs as you can in one outing. Avoid the temptation to walk more than about three dogs at a time. Canine behavior can be unpredictable (two dogs are tangled in each other’s leashes and a fight breaks out) and it’s your responsibility to manage problems that arise. Also keep in mind to try to walk only similarly sized dogs together, and dogs with no history of dog aggression. Before you accept a client’s canine, introduce it to the walking group to ensure compatibility, if you choose to walk more than one or two dogs.

It’s in your best interest to invest in business liability insurance, because you can be held liable for any bite or accident that occurs to or from a dog you are walking. Also obtain a surety bond from a bonding agency.

Some people choose to start a larger business with multiple dog walkers to increase the revenue potential and to build a business. Before you decide to manage other dog-walkers, try walking dogs by yourself for one year. Make sure it is something you can see yourself doing for many years to come. In this time, you’ll build a strong client base and gain customers before having employees to pay and insure.

Brooklyn, New York is a great place for dog walkers, and there will always be enough dogs to walk in the area.

Photo: Flickr

Why Dog Walkers Are Often Pet Sitters

Pet SittingI’ve noticed that many dog walkers who advertise on DogWalker.com are also professional pet sitters. It seems that many professional dog walkers, or even those who simply walk dogs as a hobby or for some extra cash, enjoy pet sitting as well.

This is largely because the qualities one needs to be an excellent dog walker are the same (or similar) to those that one would need to be a good pet sitter as well. The best pet sitters are often dog walkers because the training and qualifications for both jobs are so similar, and it is easier to get business for pet sitting from dog walking clients, and vice versa.

To be good at their job, dog walkers must truly enjoy being around dogs. They must know how to handle pets, even when they are being difficult, and they often have to have certifications or training and receive professional recommendations. Most pro dog walkers have insurance and bonding, knowing it’s a critical part of owning a company. Additionally, dog walkers usually invest a great deal of time in marketing and spreading the word about their business in order to attract clients.

All of these skills and qualities are necessary for a pet sitter as well. A pet sitter must know how to work with animals and must have training and credentials in order to attract clients. Often, individuals will participate in both of these occupations because the skills are so transferable, and because a client base for one job can be easily transferred to the other. This is why so many dog walkers offer pet sitting services as well.

Bolsa Chica Dog Beach in Huntington Beach

Bolsa Chica State ParkA mile of sprawling beach front makes the dog beach at Bolsa Chica State Park one of California’s ultimate dog havens. Located in Huntington Beach, just off the Pacific Coast Highway, Bolsa Chica Dog Beach is easily accessible whether you’re a local walking your dog, a Huntington Beach dog walker, or if you’re just passing through on a family road trip.

As part of the bigger state park system, Bolsa Chica is public, and best of all, it’s free for you and your dogs! Leave your car in the metered parking lot just above the beach, and then it’s just a quick jaunt down to the ocean. Once down there, you should find yourself feeling comfortable and right at home because Bolsa Chica welcomes dogs of all sizes to run free from their leashes.

Bring along a ball or a Frisbee for catch, or sit back while your dog takes a swim in the ocean or digs holes in the sand. Bolsa Chica is a family beach, with children and surfers along with your dogs, so be sure to help keep it clean for all visitors. But don’t worry if you’ve forgotten your doggy bags, because pet-friendly Huntington Beach has over 60 dispensaries to help you out, as well as clean-up crews to keep the beaches pristine.

Even in the crowded summer months, this beach is big enough for your dog to run free and get all of the exercise and play time needed.

Photo: Flickr

Carmel Beach Dog Park In Carmel, CA

Carmel Beach, CaliforniaWhen it comes to dog parks, Carmel Beach is one of the most breathtaking and pet-friendly places to visit. Located on Ocean Avenue in Carmel, California, it’s a pet lover’s dream. The fine white sand of the beach gives you a soft path to walk your dog while you take in the glorious scenery. It’s free to the public, and guests are expected to vacate the premises around 10:00 pm.

Carmel Beach is the ideal dog park because of its pooch amenities and level of cleanliness. There are dog bowls along the stairs for pets to stop for some water. Mitts for scooping up messes are available, and there are plenty of garbage cans. The beach itself is immaculate, and the numerous restrooms are well-kept.

The dog park is an off-leash locale, so your pets can walk, run, or socialize freely. The types of pups that go to Carmel Beach range from the tiny and laid back to the enormous and high energy. Although there may be dozens of dogs roaming the beach on any given day, you will not get a sense of overcrowding because the expanse of the beach is so vast.

There are many things to do once you get to the park. You can relax and enjoy the view, stay late for a bonfire, run your dog, or take a walk to the pet-friendly locations in Carmel. Carmel Beach is one of the cleanest, safest, most picturesque places to enjoy an afternoon with your beloved pet.

Photo: Flickr

Rosie’s Dog Beach in Long Beach, CA

Long Beach Dog Beach ZoneLocated at 4800 E. Ocean Blvd, between Roycroft and Argonne Avenues, sits Rosie’s Dog Beach, a great place for dog owners and local dog walkers to bring their dogs. The former Beach Dog Zone was renamed Rosie’s Dog Beach in memory of a beloved and wildly popular bulldog, Rosie, who passed away in January 2010 at the age of 12.

Rosie’s sits on 3 acres of beautiful, sandy beach and is the only off-leash dog beach in Long Beach, California. On any given day, you will find hundreds of blissful and friendly dogs of all shapes, sizes, and breeds, along with their human counterparts, soaking up the sun and frolicking in the warm waters of the Pacific Ocean.

Dogs will be so thrilled to socialize, interact and make new friends all the while burning off excess energy as they splash in the small, calm waves or run on the warm, soft sand.

While bags are provided in dispensers, it’s a good idea to bring some bags from home just in case. Pooper scoopers are provided and you don’t be surprised to find folks picking up after others, which is a classic example of why this gorgeous beach remains so clean and so friendly. Also, be sure to bring drinking water for your pup.

Rosie’s Dog Beach is a very popular place; however, there will always be plenty of room for you to pull out a chair or lounger, sit back and relax and spend a great day at a fabulous beach with your best friend.

Photo: Flickr

Keep a Dog Walker’s Contact Info Handy

Many dog owners don’t rely on the services of a dog walker on a regular basis. For whatever reason, they just don’t need to have their dog walked by a professional. This may be good for them, but they should make sure they have the contact information for a local dog walking service in the event a need arises.

Some dog walking services, especially those operated by larger companies, require a meet and greet prior to engaging in services. This is to ensure the dog walker and dog get along well. Unfortunately, this does not work out well for dog owners who need a dog walker immediately.

It’s recommended that dog owners make contact with a local dog walker in the event the need arises. Even if you need to pay for the introduction session, it’s important to have a dog walker’s contact information handy. In the event that a dog owner need the services of a dog walker, it will be good to have the name and number of one on hand.

Coronado Dog Beach in Coronado, CA

Dog Beach in Coronado, CaliforniaWhen your dog wants to play on the beach with his canine friends, Coronado Dog Beach in Coronado, California is the place to take him. Located on picturesque Ocean Boulevard with stunning views of Point Loma, this leash-free beach is open 24 hours a day year-round. All sizes and breeds of dogs are welcome, so owners are urged to keep an eye on their dogs at all times. There are no separate facilities for large and small dogs.

Because of its generous size and clean environment, this dog beach can be crowded, especially in the summer. It can be difficult to find parking along the street in the early afternoons and on the weekends, and there is a long walk to the beach from the street.

Dogs are required to remain on leash until they get to the beach. After that, they’re free to run wild and enjoy the sand and water. There’s no need to worry if your dog runs back to you with a coat full of sand. There’s a convenient hose and foot shower to wash the sand out of your dog’s fur when you’re ready to leave. Free litter bags are also provided at the entrance of the beach and owners are required to clean up after their dogs.

With its beautiful scenery and friendly visitors, Coronado Dog Beach is in an ideal location for pet-lovers and for local dog walkers. There are also several dog-friendly stores and restaurants located nearby so you can enjoy the entire day with your pet.

Photo: Flickr

Kelly’s K-9 Adventure Outings

Kelly’s K-9 Adventures Offering:

Daily dog hikes, Dog beach runs, Pet Sitting and Introducing Fitness Program Design for K9 Owners!

Kelly McCandless has been a professional pet sitter since 1999, and certified personal trainer since 2007. She started her business in Seattle and has since relocated to Marin County. Kelly’s K9 Adventures is currently taking on new clientele and has availability to take you’re dog on a group hike or dog beach run. Kelly’s background includes dog grooming/handling, working as a veterinary technician and coaching youth sports and personal training. Kelly’s K9 Adventures looks forward to meeting you and your pooch!

Kelly’s K-9 Adventures offers dog hikes in San Rafael, San Anselmo, Fairfax, Kentfield, Corte Madera, Larkspur, Sausalito, and other areas in Marin County.

Looking forward to serving you and your dog with excellent care!

Kelly McCandless
Licensed/Insured/Pet First Aid

Dog Walking in Orange County, California

Bolsa Chica State ParkOrange County, California is one of the most dog friendly places and has many locations that are dedicated to the dogs. Dogs are a big part of a person’s life. They love unconditionally and act as a constant stress reliever and many times are therapeutic for kids and people with diseases. While dogs may be a person’s best friend, it is important that they are shown that they are part of the family and are treated with care.

One of the best ways to reward a dog and keep them happy is to take them to a dog park or the beach, something that is very doable in a place like Orange County aka The OC.

Perhaps the best place to take a dog is Huntington Dog Beach. Huntington has long been known as the premier place for dog owners to take their dogs. This dog beach offers dogs a wide range of activities. For the larger dogs, playing in the water is one of the most popular activities. Dogs generally love to get wet and playing in the waves is great exercise. While they will most likely need a bath afterwards, they will certainly be happy.

The Costa Mesa Bark Park is also an excellent place to take a person’s favorite canine friend. The park may be slightly smaller than many but there is plenty of room for a dog to run around and meet new friends. It is a good place for people that have older dogs because it gives them a chance to have fun and be safe at the same time. One of the best things about this place is that there are plenty of places to find shade. Since Southern California can be very hot at times, shade trees provide dogs and their owners with places to stay cool.

Overall, Orange County has always had plenty of locations for dogs to visit and have fun. It is always important to make sure that each person watches their dog carefully to prevent any unwanted trouble or injuries. If the rules of the parks and beaches are carefully followed, then people and their dogs will have many days of fun at their favorite locations.

Photo: Flickr

The BIG 5-0-0: Thank You!

This week, DogWalker.com hit a very important milestone: the 500th advertisement was created in just over a year of being online! I want to personally say “thank you” to the dog walking services and dog walkers who have chosen DogWalker.com as an advertising venue for their businesses.

As you know, having traffic is very important to the website. Traffic has been growing pretty steadily for the past year, and basically since the launch of the site. DogWalker.com currently sees about 10,000 visits a month. Sometimes it’s close to 11,000 visits. Traffic comes from all over, including Google’s organic results, search engine marketing, local marketing, word of mouth referrals, and many other places.

However important the traffic numbers are, having dog walker listings is even more important, because without them, all of these visitors would leave the site unsatisfied. There’s no point in sending people to a website to find a dog walker if they will leave dissatisfied.  In addition, people visit the site after seeing listings in Google and Bing, so that helps to bring traffic as well. Marketing is easy, but it doesn’t matter if there’s nothing to market.

I’ve been hearing from more and more advertisers about how the site is bringing them business, and that makes me even more happy. If you’d like to add a testimonial, that would be greatly appreciated (email it to info@dogwalker.com).

I really appreciate your business and want to thank you for your help in achieving this great milestone!

Why a Dog Walking Service Should Use Twitter

TwitterNo matter what type of business you run, the most important aspect of becoming successful is by getting your business advertised and seen by potential clients. Many dog walkers rely on word of mouth referrals, Internet advertising, and local advertising campaigns.

One popular way to get some advertising these days is by using Twitter, and it’s recommended that dog walking services and independent dog walks sign up for a free Twitter account and begin following people in their communities. Twitter is especially useful for smaller businesses that do not have the means to pay for other ways of advertising – perfect for dog walkers.

If you are a dog walker or run a dog walking service, you could increase your reach to potential customers as well as keep in constant contact with your current ones as well. The amount of potential clients that you could meet on Twitter are endless, and it is all free. The only thing it takes is some time setting up your account, following people, and posting short updates. You could also pay to have a custom Twitter background created (very cheap), or you can easily do it yourself using a photo or logo.

If business is slow, you can instantly tweet about any offers or discounts that you are giving at that time. People love discounts and are usually willing to try out a new dog walker if the price is right. If you get enough responses, you could possibly even expand your business. It’s also great for you to link to your website and provide a brief bio.

Another way to use Twitter is to set up alerts for when people mention keywords related to your business. For instance, if you are located in Philadelphia, and you see someone posts, “Does anyone know of a dog walker in Rittenhouse Square?” you can quickly reply that you’re available. It’s a great way to personally connect with potential clients and allow them to connect with you.

One last way that Twitter is a great way to advertise your dog walking service is that potential customers will get a feel of what type of person you are and how you run your business. People’s pets are part of their family and they want to know that the person walking their dog will take good care of them and treat them right.

If you haven’t signed up for your account and reserved a user name/handle on Twitter, you should do that ASAP!

By the way, if you have a Twitter account or if you sign up, please follow DogWalker.com!

Dog Walker Doing Good With Every Walk

Candice Carbone, an animal enthusiast and founder of The Pet Keeper not only believes in giving animals the love they need, but she also believes in giving back to communities. She has taken two of her passions and combined them into this unique service.

Candice offers dog walks, pet sitting, overnight house/pet sitting, pet transportation and what’s even better is that she will formulate a customized activity regime for you and your dog so that Fido is happy and healthy and you have a peace of mind.

Candice has pets of her own and has seen for herself the wonderful impact that a happy doggy can have on their owner’s life. Her own dog, Buddy, has been a saving grace and a source of joy for herself and her family. “I have seen what happens when Buddy doesn’t get his daily walks,” states Candice. “It’s the saddest thing when you have a dog waiting for you by the door to take a walk but you have a hundred other priorities that need to be taken care of.”

She realized that most people probably feel this guilt and there had to be a way to remedy that problem. And not to mention the times when you must go out of town for business or pleasure and your faced with the decision- what to do with the pets. Do I board them? Do I have a relative check in on them? Do I take them to a friends house? No, no, and no. None of those options leave me with peace of mind. I don’t want to board my dog somewhere where they will be caged or surrounded by unfamiliar people and animals..who knows if they will get the love and attention that they are use to??

Relatives are a great idea for checking on your mutt..but are they reliable? Maybe not always..Candice decided that a dog walker or pet sitter is the way to go. She has had a passion for animals her entire life and would do anything for them. It’s that kind of passion that leaves owners with a sense of relief when they have to leave their mutts behind.

Candice has been involved with animals for most of her life. She studied psychology at California State University of Long Beach and has a great respect for owners and their pets. Candice loves connecting with people as much as she enjoys connecting with each individual dog that has touched her life.

She had her first fundraiser back in December 2010 in which she raised money and collected items such as blankets, pet supplies, toys, doggie beds to be given to the Carson Animal Shelter. She proudly delivered the goods herself to the Shelter and was able to bring clothing and other items to the Midnight Mission, a shelter for the homeless in downtown Los Angeles. “I loved every minute of being able to give back to a great cause through the work of my pet sitting business.”

Candice has dedicated clients who have used her services and wouldn’t think of going anywhere else. Candice treats her doggy clients as if they are her own pets. She goes above and beyond for each of them and never disappoints.

Currently, Candice is taking a portion of her sales for the month of March and donating to The Lucky Girls Movie- 4000 raindrops campaign. This is a wonderful campaign that was started by a friend of The Pet Keeper’s. Money is being raised for a girl’s orphanage in India so that a water well can be built for them. Visit the website to learn more about this wonderful cause.

As a female business-owner, Candice believes in helping other girls receive ample opportunities to succeed and this is the first step to ensuring that the girls at the orphanage get what they need to accomplish their own personal goals and make their dreams a reality. Donations can be made at The Pet Keeper’s website as well under the Giving Back page.

Each month, we will focus on a new cause. The cause will be determined by a number of things. Candice is open to taking suggestions from her Twitter and Facebook followers. She knows that there are a multitude of good causes worth giving to and she welcomes suggestions. For the month of April, works are in progress to feature a cause that will send monetary funds to those in Japan who were affected by the disaster. Japan should definitely be a priority to Americans at this time and The Pet Keeper recognizes that and will do what she can to give back to them.

The Pet Keeper is a proud member of Pet Sitter’s International and is insured! Candice looks forward to her future endeavors and thanks Dogwalker.com for being a part of her dream-coming-true! Let’s see how much we can give back, one paw at a time!!

Why a Dog Walking Service Should Use Facebook

Facebook ProfileSmall businesses all over the world are turning to Facebook as a way to advertise their services, and dog walking services can reap the same benefits. People who are interested in dog walking services are likely to treat their pets as part of their family. They want to feel that you’ll take good care of their dog when they’re not around, and the best way to assure them is to show them your personality and work ethic on Facebook. Here are five reasons why advertising on Facebook can boost your business.

1. Network and Build a Client Base
Clients who become friends of your Facebook page can actually help spread the word about your business. By linking to your page, their friends will be able to see the name of your business as well as any good comments that your clients post. With the right status updates and wall posts, your client base can grow exponentially in just a few weeks.

2. Advertise Discounts
Facebook is a great place to advertise special offers or discounts for your clients. You could also offer a discount to new clients who “like” your page or become your friend on the site. It’s a great way to build loyalty and get new clients, especially since the people who “like” your discounts and coupons will have a link to your page shown on their profiles, allowing your special offer to go viral.

3. Post Pictures and Videos
Since dog owners want to know that they can trust you with their pets, you can eliminate any fears with photos and videos of you caring for animals. Clients will be able to see the way you treat other animals, and they’ll feel more comfortable about leaving their pets in your care. They will also see that you’ve handled a variety of dog breeds (hint: post pictures of you with different sizes of dogs!)

4. Post Information about your Business
Most clients will be familiar with Facebook’s format, and they’ll know exactly where to look on your page to find information about your business and background.

5. Let your Personality Shine
Facebook is a great place to showcase your personality. Clients who have access to your status updates and photos will feel like they have a better understanding of who you are as a person and a business owner. This familiarity will make them more likely to trust you with their pets.

By the way, if you have a Facebook account or if you sign up, please friend DogWalker.com!

Baker Beach in San Francisco, CA

Golden Gate Bridge National ParkBaker Beach, a part of the Golden Gate Bridge National Park, is located less than 2 miles from the Golden Gate Bridge. Off leash dogs responsive to voice command are welcome at Baker Beach north of Lobos Creek; south of Lobos Creek, dogs must be leashed and responsive to voice command. Baker Beach is less populous than other parts of GGBNP due to its distance from the bridge and its rocky terrain.

Regulations of the National Park Service declare certain behavior is grounds for losing dog park privileges:

  • Failure to properly dispose of pet excrement
  • Letting a pet make excessive noise which bothers park users, frightens wildlife, i.e. Howling and barking.
  • Leaving a pet tied in an undesignated area unattended.
  • Bringing a pet into a public area (building or beach) closed to pets by the Park Superintendent.

Dog parks, aka Bark Parks, can be a pleasant experience for dogs and their people. A place for all to romp and play, enjoy the surf and sun, but also following some basic rules which will make the experience a pleasure for all.

  • Aggressive dogs and dogs in heat are not welcome.
  • Dogs should respond promptly to voice control.
  • Dogs must have current vaccinations.
  • When doggy poops, please scoop!
  • Dog parks are not playgrounds for children.
  • Make sure your dog stays hydrated (bring water and bottle/bowl).

Parking is provided next to the beach, off Bowley Street. Baker Beach is unfenced and is a clothing optional beach. Children are not invited to the area, since it’s a clothing optional beach.

Photo: Flickr

Marketing Tip: Create a Dog Walking Video and Post it on YouTube

In the dog walking business, one of the best marketing tools you can use for your business is… yourself.  Dog owners care about your experience and your training of course, but when all things are equal amongst several companies, the personal connection between the dog owner, the dog, and the dog walker will be the most important factors in determining who gets hired.

It’s easier to establish a repoire with a dog owner and a dog in person, but oftentimes dog owners will search for a dog walking service online. Having a video showcasing you and your service can help establish a repoire even before you have met in person. I recommend posting the video on your website and a link to it on various directory websites (like this one). The more a dog owner likes you, the better.

Have a look at some of the videos below that I found on YouTube and think are very good marketing tools. It’s fairly easy to create a video and upload it to YouTube, so what’s stopping you?!

The K-9 Club of NYC

WOOFection of Vancouver, Canada

Happy Dog Service in Santa Monica, California