Naming Your Dog Walking Business

Dog Business NamesComing up with a creative and descriptive name for a dog walking service or professional dog walker may seem like a difficult task, but it can be very fun, especially if you include friends and family in the decision making process. Here are some tips that you can use to create a name for your business so potential customers will know what you offer and be able to remember your company name!

Choosing a fun name that matches your personality is a great idea. You can also use made up words that sound cool, or you can use fun words along with “dog walker,” “dog walking,” “dog walk,” “pet care,” or other popular term that describes services you plan to offer. The most important thing is that it should be memorable and ensure that people know to associate the business name with you. This may be why many people choose to use their first and/or last name in the business name.

From an Internet and search engine optimization, a business name that is descriptive, such as Chicago Dog Walker, might be beneficial, primarily if you have the matching domain name ( Sadly, most of these types of domain names were purchased many years ago, and many are operational companies and/or websites. Some smaller cities and geographical area domain names are available, and that might be beneficial from an Internet and local marketing viewpoint. They may be less fun, but they may be better for your business.

The problem with the descriptive approach is that it lacks special branding. I believe it’s much easier to remember a dog walker either by name or a unique company name. Having a descriptive company name may be detrimental in this case, although it is likely customers will refer to you by your first and last name, so you should consider using that instead.

You’ll want to make sure your company name isn’t confusing to spell, and your email address is memorable. There’s nothing worse than getting the name of a great dog walker and having the email bounce back as undeliverable or not being able to find that person’s contact information because the company name is different than the dog walker’s name.

You want to create a business name that stands apart from others and isn’t already being used by another company in your state. You need to visit your state’s business website and do a business name or business entity search to make sure your favorite name isn’t being used by another company. Using another company’s name (or something very similar) can lead to litigation and legal problems – something that can be very expensive!

Your business name is going to stick with you for as long as you are involved in this business. Take your time choosing a name and make sure you’re happy with it. That’s probably the most important thing!

Photo: Flickr

Selecting a Logo for Your Dog Walking Business

Dog Walker LogoIf you are in the process of starting your own dog walking business, or if you want to become a professional dog walker, one task that may seem a bit overwhelming is the creation of a logo for the business. If you thought choosing a name for your dog walking business was difficult, selecting a logo may be even more of a challenge.

A logo will either portray you as a professional or it could have the complete opposite effect, and you will want to make sure you put a lot of thought into creating a logo for for it.  There are several things to consider, such as the color, font, and graphics, and size, and it’s probably best to use the services of a professional logo design company to create your professional grade logo and imagery. Whether you choose to hire a local logo designer or a company online, there are many things to consider.

The main thing you want a logo to accomplish is showing people exactly what your business is about. With your business revolving around walking dogs for people, you could easily incorporate a dog on a leash into it. You may also want to keep it more broad if you offer other services or if you plan to do more than dog walking. A dog’s face, silhouette, paw, or other imagery are popular choices.

There are many other things that could affect how the logo is perceived by the consumer, and you need to consider them as well.

One very important aspect of the logo is the color choice. You want something to stand out, but not be so loud that it looks obnoxious. Choosing colors you like is important, but keep in mind that you may want business cards and other printed materials, and the more colors you choose, the more expensive it will be. We recommend 2 or 3 colors for your logo as a general guideline. In addition, your logo may need to be printed on a white or black background for various things, so make sure it looks good (and is clear) on both.

Along with color, you will want to make sure the design and the font you use look good when the logo is enlarged or shrunk, as you will want the size to fit the items on which your logo is being placed.  You may not want very small details incorporated in your logo, which may look bad (or not even show up) on a small business card or if your logo is used on another website. Additionally, if you do a big sponsorship and your logo is added to a poster, it might not look great. Make sure your logo looks good in all sizes, and ask your designer to provide the final files in various sizes for your convenience.

When you choose the logo, you may have to determine whether an image, such as cartoon character / mascot or photo/image, is going to put your business in the best light possible. Your business of walking dogs needs to be taken seriously, so if you do choose a cartoon or character, make sure the image is done well and looks professional. You probably don’t want to use free clip art since that might make your service seem amateur, or it could be confued with other similar services. There are plenty of great artists that can keep your logo looking professional.

Creating a logo for your dog walking business is both exciting and daunting. Choosing the right logo can help bring you business and allow you to stand out from other companies.

Use a Professional Web Developer & Designer

Looking for a web developer or designer for your business? Be careful who you choose – hiring a reputable service can not only make or break your company’s website, it can also spell the difference between an original, usable site, and the basis of a lawsuit. Well known, reputable services have an image to maintain, and are therefore more likely to produce thoughtful, original, and legal work.

I was speaking with a client the other day, and he mentioned a major problem his company had with its website. Apparently, the web designer he used to build his company’s website had stolen another company’s logo and used it for his logo. In addition, the website was also virtually a copy of the other company’s website. He didn’t realize it until he received a legal notice advising him of the infringement and potential penalties / legal action.

By hiring a cheaper and less reliable developer, you run the risk of paying for something which is not original work. If you choose carefully, you can avoid hiring someone who will steal design elements, graphics, or content from another website. The best bet is to get a referral from a friend, or find a web designer with a full portfolio of custom-designed websites. It’s all the better if it’s a local person, as that will give you more recourse if you find out there’s an issue.

A website containing plagiarized material is not only embarrassing, it’s illegal, and it can get you into serious trouble if the stolen material is copyrighted. Even worse, if the material’s original owner discovers that their original writing, graphics, and ideas have been stolen, they not only will ask for their work to be removed, but are likely to pursue further legal action against the owner of the website. By trying to save a little money, you can actually set yourself up for an extremely expensive lawsuit.

The temptation to pick a cheaper, lesser-known developer is clear: you can get functional, if inferior, results, and save a couple bucks in the process. But by dishing out a few more dollars for a reputable service, you can ensure that the work you’re paying for is original. That original website will probably rank higher in Google anyway!

Muzzles: Why Some Dogs Need to Wear Them

Dog MuzzleA common misconception is that only “bad dogs” wear muzzles when walking. However, it is important to note that there are no “bad dogs”, there are just untrained dogs that need to be trained, potentially abused dogs that are easily agitated, or dogs that have short tempers and may have a tendency to snap, bit or nip. Here is some information about the types of dogs should wear a muzzle when walking, why some dogs wear muzzles and what muzzles prevent.

What types of dogs should wear a muzzle when walking?

Dogs who are not yet trained and properly controlled should always wear a muzzle when walking. No dog should be left unmuzzled until it is apparent that the dog will not act out. Additionally, “dangerous dogs” should always wear a muzzle when walking. A “dangerous dog” is a dog who has a history of being aggressive toward other animals or humans. Even dogs that may not always be “dangerous” but does nip other dogs,  (unprovoked) or gets anxious around people or other dogs, should generally wear a muzzle. There’s no reason to chance a bite.

Why do some dogs wear muzzles?

Some dogs wear muzzles for obvious reasons: they are not yet trained or properly controlled or they are dangerous and have the potential to run into another dog or human being when in a social situation. Not all dogs interact well with other dogs and/or people. For some it’s because of prior abuse or upbringing, and for others, it may just be related to the dog’s personality.

There are many other reasons to muzzle a dog and every dog should be trained to accept a muzzle in any situation. For example, some veterinarians insist that a dog is muzzled when administering shots or when performing surgery; this type of muzzling is important for the safety of the dog and veterinary staff.

What does a muzzle prevent?

Muzzling prevents a dog from biting other animals or humans. Though some may think muzzles and the act of muzzling is cruel, it is important to remember that muzzling protects the well being of a dog, a dog owner and other humans and animals alike. There are a number of types of muzzles available for a dog, and choosing one depends on the dog’s aggressiveness.

Some muzzles fully cover a dog’s entire mouth/muzzle area, while others are less intrusive. One of the more popular muzzle-like leads is Gentle Leader training muzzle. The way this works is by putting light pressure on a dog’s muzzle and at the back of the neck, which replicates how a “pack leader” would gently (but firmly) grasp a younger dog’s muzzle in its mouth.

Photo: Flickr

Monthly Newsletters Can Increase Business

Dog WalkerMonthly newsletters should be a dynamic tool for your dog walking business. Using your newsletter, you can tell some great stories, offer advice, and inform your customers about deals in a more informal setting. Your newsletter serves as a reminder to your clients that you are still thinking of them, and the newsletter email is more personal that Twitter and even Facebook.

Like you, your customers are busy and would likely prefer to read email on their own time. This is a less invasive measure than making service calls, because your clients are able to connect with your email on their own time. When you take the time to create a newsletter, you are giving those clients a prime opportunity to relate with when they are available.

It’s recommended that you send your newsletter no more than monthly. You should also use a professional newsletter service like Constant Contact, which will help you keep track of your recipients and allow you to track how many people open your newsletter, unsubscribe, click links, and forward the newsletter to someone else. It’s VERY easy to create your newsletter with Constant Contact.

Your monthly newsletter does not have to be (and shouldn’t be) a blatant advertisement. Instead, it should be a library of tips, tricks and advice for the dog lover. You could also tell stories from experience about the dog walking business. In a newsletter, the possibilities are endless. This information will build trust amongst your customers and may encourage others to become customers. In fact, it’s strongly recommended that you add a “forward to a friend” link so your customers can forward your newsletter to others who may not subscribe.

Give personal stories about your business that will help your clients feel more comfortable. The more comfortable that your clients feel, the more likely they are to recommend you to others. The newsletter that you send should be something extra, something exclusive. While not flooding your clients with advertisements, you should give your newsletter customers a little something extra as a reward for reading your newsletter.

A monthly newsletter provides the perfect opportunity to further communicate with your customers. They will love it when you give them something fun to read, like advice, real stories, and tips. Your newsletter will soon be the talk of the dog park!

Photo: Flickr

Bonding and Insurance for Dog Walkers

Many dog owners make sure that their potential dog walkers are bonded and have full insurance. Saying “we’re bonded and insured” is an important message to dog owners and can help bring business, aside from being a requisite in some cities and towns.

If you want to be trusted in your dog walking business, you will need to be bonded and insured. You should not let your passion for animals overshadow your main purpose. It is a business and it should be operated as such. Businesses carry risks. People get hurt and people sue. It is a fact of life. Protect yourself and the integrity of your business by getting bonded and insured. Businesses that are run professionally generally enjoy more clients and better financials.

Most pet owners look for dog walkers who are members of a professional pet care organization. This gives pet owners peace-of-mind that you adhere to certain standards that apply to the industry. Many of these pet organizations offer special discounts on bonding and insurance as a membership benefit. Even if you aren’t a member, you can learn about the companies that offer this type of bonding and insurance to dog walking services.

A surety bond protects you and your clients. It is particularly useful to clients if you have employees and a theft accusation arises. The bond will cover most, if not all of the cost of a theft claim. Clients will be more comfortable with you or your employees in their home when they are not there if you are bonded. A surety bond also protects you if you are unable to complete a contract with a client.

Liability insurance is a must for any business and dog walking is no exception. If something should happen to the owner’s dog while you are caring for him, you could be sued. If the dog bites or otherwise injures someone while the dog is under your care, you are liable in most states. Liability insurance protects you if an unfortunate event occurs. Play it safe. Protect yourself with liability insurance.

Dog walking can be an enjoyable and lucrative business, and dog owners should be sure to protect their clients, their businesses, and their personal assets.

How and When to Tip the Dog Walker

Dog WalkingDog walkers occupy the same realm of personal service providers such as babysitters, hair stylists and cab drivers or chauffeurs. Well, most people don’t have chauffeurs but almost all dog owners do use the services of dog walkers. As with most service providers, the question of tipping often comes up including how much and when.

Regular clients, ones that have standing appointments, should give a Christmas tip and whenever small extra services are provided. If you’ve asked the dog walker to give medicine to your pup while it’s getting over an upset stomach or a minor injury, it’s good to let the walker know you value his help with your pooch by offering a little extra. It’s also good to tip your dog walker if he or she spent extra time in the dog run, knowing your dog needed the additional exercise.

Every dog walker has clients that aren’t regulars but who do call with some degree of regularity. These are the people that travel for business or the telecommuters who occasionally have to go into the office. If it’s business as usual, tipping isn’t required. However, if a surprise out-of-town trip or an unexpected situation occurs and a dog walker is needed on little notice, tipping is recommended. When a dog walker goes out of his way to accommodate a dog owner’s needs, a tip is very appropriate.

If the dog walker has gone above simply walking your dog, then a tip generally should be provided to show appreciation. Most dog walkers will inform you of their fees regarding special services such as transportation to and from veterinary and dog grooming appointments However, if you’ve asked the dog walker for other minor services, tipping is a good idea.

Regular customers should tip at year end at about the cost of one week of the regularly scheduled fee. Infrequent customers should tip in the amount of one or two day’s walking fee. Otherwise, most tips should be 10-20% of the daily fee. Tipping a dog walker isn’t mandatory, but it’s always appreciated.

Photo: Flickr

Cosmo Dog Park in Gilbert, Arizona

Dog Park in Gilbert, ArizonaReserved for dogs accompanied by their owners, Cosmo Dog Park is located in the warmth of Gilbert, Arizona. This dog park is designed for dogs with owners to exercise and socialize in carefully regulated surroundings. The dog park is a brief downhill walk from the parking area; keep your dog on a leash until you reach the fenced area.

Enjoy four acres of doggie play land, including a lake in which dogs are welcome to go swimming. You and your dog will spend the day walking, running and playing. You can also have your Gilbert dog walker bring your dog for the day – there are many dog walkers with their dogs that visit the park. If you choose, you can unleash your well behaved pal. Canine hurdles are located opposite of the lake. No need to worry about your pal or yourself overheating; dog-friendly water faucets are conveniently located throughout the park.

There are wooden seats and tables for sitting, eating, reading, or napping. Cosmo Dog Park is well lit at nighttime if you decide to take an evening trip. For the shy and hesitant dog, there is also a separate area. Dog-friendly showers are available to rinse your dog before leaving for the day. Bring a towel for the cooler, muddier days. One side of the lake does not have a fence.

Cosmo Dog Park offers a neighborhood surrounding where owners mingle with their dogs in a neutral location reducing the possibility of apprehension and hostility in the dog park, while promoting healthy minds and bodies for the owner and dog. The Town of Gilbert maintains and cleans the grounds regularly. Cosmo Dog Park is located at 2502 E. Ray Road, Gilbert, Arizona.

Photo: Flickr

Bark Park at Snyder Park in Fort Lauderdale

If you live in or around the Ft. Lauderdale, Florida area, taking your dog to the Bark Park may be just the thing your furry companion needs to unwind in the sun. Bark Park is located right next to Snyder Park on S.W. 4th Avenue.

The Bark Park had several features that will make for a pleasant trip for your and your dog(s):

  • The large, open area is fully enclosed by a fence, allowing for dogs to run around freely without a leash.
  • The Bark Park has specific areas for both small and large dogs, and an attendant is on duty to provide assistance if needed.
  • If your doggy has to use the restroom on the grass, a supply depot carries items for scooping the poop, and a disposal area ensures you can safely and cleanly get rid of the offending substance.
  • If you or your companion get thirsty, there are water fountain for both humans and dogs.
  • Shelters are available if your dog wishes to get out of the sun for awhile.
  • Equipment such as benches for your dog to run around and on top of give a bit of variety to the terrain.
  • There are two hose stations in case your dog gets overly muddy or dirty.

There is a limit of three dogs per owner (or dog walker). If your dog is sick he should not be brought, and all dogs must be caught up on rabies shots with proper documentation available. Also, you are responsible for your dogs behavior. Aggressiveness towards other digs is grounds for removal, and any holes dug by a dog must be filled in by you. Any children under ten have to have adult supervision, and no puppies under the age of four months are allowed. Make sure your dog is on a leash when in the parking lot, and have a leash on hand in the park in case it is needed.

The park is open from 7 am to 7 pm every day, though it is closed from 8 am to 11 am on Thursdays for cleaning.

Find a dog walker in Ft. Lauderdale.

Cost of Dog Walking in Oakland

Every dog owner has a day where they can not make it home in time to take Fido out for his necessary walk. Fortunately, there are many dog walkers in Oakland that will help with this task. We will look at what you can expect to pay for this service in Oakland, CA and what you get for your money.

Dog walkers can provide personal walks or group walks. Group walks will cost around $10-$18 per day, or $65-$75 per week. Personal dog walks will cost a bit more, $25-$30 per visit. All walks are usually around an hour. Walkers will need keys to the owner’s house and will usually refill food and water bowls for your pet when they come by.

Pet sitting services will often make these same visits for the $25-$30 range. The visits will offer more features – they will give medications, check the mail, and often do other small tasks for the owners. They may be a tad shorter, around 45 minutes, but your pet will still get plenty of love and attention.

It is also important to check that your dog walker is insured. This will cover costs like lock replacement if a key gets lost.

CPR: What Every Professional Dog Walker Should Know

Dog CPR has gotten a lot of attention lately since dog trainer Ron Pace used it to save the life of one of this four-legged pupils. But what, exactly, is dog CPR, and why is it important for every professional dog walker to know how to perform it?

Dog CPR, like human CPR, is a life-saving first aid technique. Performed very much like human CPR, dog CPR uses a combination of mouth-to-snout breathing and chest compressions. The main difference is that the aid-giver gently holds the dog’s mouth closed while blowing breaths into it’s nostrils. Compressions are also very similar to the ones that help save human lives. (Dog CRP should be learned at a class rather than online though.)

Why is it so important that every dog walker learn dog CPR? According to the American Red Cross, “knowing pet first aid can save your best friend’s life“. CPR is a crucial part of pet first aid. So crucial, in fact, that the Red Cross puts their name behind pet CPR classes offered all over the country and offers a kit, entitled “Dog First Aid” that can be purchased online and includes a DVD demonstrating CPR as well as other first aid techniques.

Classes are also offered by private companies. Privately run classes cost anywhere from $50 – $100 for a course that can last around eight-hour, and the kit from the Red Cross sells for $16.95. Some organizations subsidize the cost of this training course, and on occasion, you’ll find an organization or company paying for the event for participants.

Your employers place their best friends in your care. One way to show them you are worthy of that trust is by taking the steps to learn dog CPR and other pet first aid techniques in the event an emergency arises.

Heimlich Maneuver for Dogs

The other day, we discussed the importance of knowing dog CPR in the event a dog stops breathing. This can be caused by anything from a smoke inhalation, trauma, or other medical emergencies. Today I want to emphasize the importance of knowing the Heimlich Maneuver for dogs, especially if you’re a dog walker or pet care professional.

If your dog ever chokes, it’s essential to know how to preform the Heimlich Maneuver, specifically for dogs. This technique is not difficult to perform, and it can save your dog’s life. It’s important to note that although the Heimlich Maneuver may be similar for people, it’s not the same.

The maneuver is not very different than when preforming it on children, placing the hands below the dog’s rib cage and pushing up on the abdomen gently. Never place your fingers into the mouth of a choking animal, as the object may be pushed further back or you may be bitten since the dog is stressed and frightened.

First, be sure that the dog is actually choking. You’ll know the dog is choking if he is pawing at his face, trying to cough or has blue lips and mouth. Next, lie the dog on his side with his hindquarters higher than his head, placing something underneath the dog if necessary. If your dog is really small, he can be held upside down. Then, place your hands under his lowest ribs and thrust gently a few times. Be sure not to press directly on the ribcage. Once the object is clearly in vision and in your dogs mouth, quickly remove it so he doesn’t swallow it again. It’s a good idea to contact your dog’s veterinarian afterwords to make sure your dog doesn’t have any internal injuries.

It’s strongly recommended that you speak with a veterinarian to confirm the information above is accurate. This info should be taken not as medical advice but as guidance in the event of an emergency.  You should speak with a pet healthcare professional for actual technique and practice before trying this maneuver.

It’s possible to enroll in Pet CPR courses to learn to perfect this technique. It’s vital for professional dog-walkers to be proficient in life-saving tool, and it’s not difficult to learn at all.

Tompkins Square Dog Run in New York City

New York City Dog ParkThe original dog park in New York City, Tompkins Square Dog Run continues to be one of the most popular. Since its creation in 1990, more than 55 other dog parks have been opened by the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation. Located along the 9th Street path in the lovely Tompkins Square Park, the run is open throughout the year from 6 a.m. until midnight.

This dog park is more than a place to let your dogs run and play without having to be tethered; it’s the pride and joy of a community. Before the Dog Run, the park was home to drug addicts and criminals. Rather than being someplace people wanted to go, it was someplace people avoided. Volunteers fought to get the dog park, and they have fought to keep it beautiful and enjoyable. Their actions have been instrumental in returning the entire area to a clean, enjoyable place to be. Even people who don’t own dog and don’t want dogs recognize the positive effects this park has had on the entire area.

While all parks feature areas for dogs to run and play, this one also has safe, decomposed granite sand and underground drainage for the dogs to enjoy. There is a run for large dogs and another for small dogs, three swimming pools, and picnic tables for the owners can sit, relax, and socialize. Bath areas and hoses are also available for cleaning dogs off after they play.

The Tompkins Square dog run is maintained completely by community donations. It is asked that people who use the run please make an annual contribution for its continued upkeep and maintenance.

Find a dog walker in New York City right now!

Photo: Flickr