Professional Education for Dog Walkers Just Got Easier

This is a guest article written by Veronica Boutelle of dog*biz and the Dog Walking Academy. Please note that articles written by guest writers are not endorsed by or by the operator of this website, Top Notch Domains, LLC.

The dogbiz Dog Walking Academy has been the highest level of training available to dog walkers since the program opened in the San Francisco Bay Area in 2003. Over the years the highly-regarded course has expanded into various cities across the U.S. and internationally, but now the Dog Walking Academy is available to every dog walker in any location: The DWA is now available as an online course.

As part of dogbiz’ new dogbiz University arm, the intensive, comprehensive Dog Walking Academy curriculum can be accessed by any new or experienced dog walker looking to up their game, add new dog handling and training skills, deepen their understanding of the canine mind, and develop their business acumen.

The program consists of engaging, self-paced modules on canine learning theory, body language, aggression and behavior management, walk management, basic training, dog fights, car manners, screening and group composition, client intake, successful business practices, emergency planning, and canine first aid. Students can take advantage of weekly live Q&A sessions, and the program culminates in a personalized hands-on field trip with a local training coach hand-picked by dogbiz.

New walkers will find the program the perfect way to enter the profession with confidence and set themselves up for safety and success. For experienced walkers, attending provides opportunities to answer long-standing questions, work on lingering dog behavior or business challenges, and increase their professional standing in their communities.

In an unregulated industry such as dog walking, where there are no rules about what a professional dog walker must know in order to take a client’s dog into public, and no oversight of professional standards for care of animals or business ethics, Dog Walking Academy certification assists dog owners in making an informed choice for their dogs, and gives dog walkers a way to differentiate their businesses and skills.

Learn more about attending the dogbiz Dog Walking Academy online or in person:

Quotes from DWA grads:

“I enjoy walking dogs so much more since taking the course!” –Billie Jo Vinson

“I have really felt lighter and enjoyed my work days more since taking the DWA. Thank you! You are the cutting edge in our industry.” –Nancy Gabriel

“This course has inspired me to breathe new life into something I’ve been doing for seven years, and to take it to the next level.” –Sara Munro

“Business is great and so am I!! I am so happy with this profession. I couldn’t have done with without DWA!” –Michelle Ruth

“The DWA was a life-altering experience for me. You provided me with more ‘a-ha’ moments than a lifetime of raising my family dogs.” –Glynis Dewing

“I’m so glad I attended the DWA. It has made me aware of so many behaviors I saw before but couldn’t identify.” –Janet Bran

“After graduating from the dogbiz DWA I changed a few key elements in my business… This led to improved client retention, dog safety, and ultimately to enjoying my work more than I already did. Your class was brilliant—worth every penny.” –Paige Tuhey

Learn more about attending the dogbiz Dog Walking Academy online or in person:

This is a guest article written by Veronica Boutelle of dog*biz and the Dog Walking Academy. Articles written by guest writers are not endorsed by or by the operator of this website, Top Notch Domains, LLC. 

“Mobile-first indexing enabled”

Google regularly makes updates to improve the search experience for Google users. received this message from Google’s Search Console team notifying us of this search update that will impact search results related to the website:

Mobile-first indexing enabled for

To owner of,

This means that you may see more traffic in your logs from Googlebot Smartphone. You may also see that snippets in Google Search results are now generated from the mobile version of your content.

Background: Mobile-first indexing means that Googlebot will now use the mobile version of your site for indexing and ranking, to better help our (primarily mobile) users find what they’re looking for. Google’s crawling, indexing, and ranking systems have historically used the desktop version of your site’s content, which can cause issues for mobile searchers when the desktop version differs from the mobile version. Our analysis indicates that the mobile and desktop versions of your site are comparable.

3 Ways to Market Your Business

Marketing is an essential aspect of just about every business, and a dog walking business is no exception to this. Marketing helps bring in new customers now and in the future. Dog walkers should promote their business in many ways, including while on the job.

Here are three ways dog walking services, their dog walkers, and independent dog walking companies can market their businesses while out and about:

Wear a jacket, shirt, or hat with company logo. When walking dogs, other dog owners will notice the logo and either ask questions about dog walking rates or remember the company name for a future walking need. This may also be a good way for companies to find employees!

Have a logo graphic on a car or van. Many dog walkers, especially those in the suburbs, drive around in their cars or vans to get from one job to the next. When the company logo or graphic is on the vehicle, other drivers will take notice. As always, make sure to drive safely or this marketing method could backfire!

Carry business cards and/or flyers everywhere. This might go without saying, but people often ask for a business card to remember the name of the company. Having business cards at all times will ensure that potential clients will get a card when requested. Some people even like to put a special offer on the business card to make it even more likely that a customer will call when needed. In addition, some restaurants, coffee shops, and even some dog parks allow dog walkers to post their business cards on a service board.

Marketing is important for most businesses to get new clients. While referrals are probably the top source for new customers, these three ideas for marketing while on the job can also help bring in new clients.

Learn More About Your Client Referrals

There are a number of ways dog walking services learn about Some companies simply come across our website when they perform a Google search for a specific keyword search term, and others are referred to us by industry trade organizations or friends. Whatever the case is, referrals are very important to the success of this website, and I appreciate every single referral.

I think it’s important to be able to accurately track referrals, and I hope you are tracking yours. I want to know how people learned about this website because it allows me to focus on improving other channels and it allows me to get a good idea of how dog walkers are finding the website. In fact, on the sign up page, there is a field asking people how they found the website.

In my opinion, dog walkers and services should ask all prospective and new clients how they learned about their service. If they learned about it in Google, for example, it’s a good sign that the company’s website is optimized or that the Google business listing is effective. If a client is referred by another client, it might be nice to say “thank you” for the referral the next time you see that client. It’s always appreciated when people send their friends to you for new business. If a client finds you because of your listing, I want you to know that you are spending your advertising dollars wisely! You get the idea about why a referral source is so important.

There are many reasons for why it is good to learn about how people were referred, and it’s important to ask. Sometimes people reply to the field on the sign up form with a vague answer like “Internet.” This isn’t all that helpful because it doesn’t tell me whether they found this website on Google, Bing, Yelp, Facebook, Twitter, or some other Internet based source. I like to ask more questions when I receive these replies because it helps me figure out where I should improve my focus when it comes to getting sign ups.

The next time someone tells you they were referred by the Internet or something else that is vague, it’s a great idea to follow up with them and ask them where on the Internet. If they tell you they were referred by a friend, ask them which friend! I hope your next client is referred to you by, and if that is the case, I hope you are able to ask them the right questions in order to find that out!

Holiday Tipping For Dog Walkers

Christmas DogsOur dogs can become just like family. Affectionate, loyal and engaging, it’s no wonder that our furry friends find a special place in our hearts. That’s why the dog-walkers we choose to care for them are so important. We trust them with our precious four-legged companions, to be professional and nurturing, and to keep them safe in our absence. So why not say thank you to your dog walker around the holidays? Last year we discussed giving a Christmas tip to a dog walker, and we have more insight to share this year!

What To Tip?

The tip can vary depending on quality of service and length of time the dog walker has worked for you. Typically, it’s advised to tip in the amount of about one week’s pay, and/or give a small gift. But you should not feel at all pressured to give that much if it doesn’t work for your financial situation. A good idea is to set a reasonable budget for this tip that works for you. A small gift, baked goods or a personal note would be thoughtful, appreciated and appropriate, because this is meant to be a thank-you.

What Sort Of Gift To Give?

There are many choices of thoughtful presents to give your dog walker. If you know your they have a book they’ve been meaning to read, a favorite sports team, or a particular hobby, the gift can be tailored for them individually. These can be given in addition to or in lieu of a cash gift. If you’re not sure of what they like, some safe choices are, but not limited to:

  • warm gloves
  • portable coffee mug
  • ear muffs
  • gift cards
  • ear buds
  • baked goods
  • coffee beans and pods or tea
  • wine or alcoholic beverages

Your dog walker has an important job. Walking dogs is so much more than walking around the block tugging on a leash. Dog walkers must be professional, organized individuals who are both dog-lovers and people-oriented. Remember to say thank you to the person who gives your dog exercise and entertainment, and you priceless peace of mind.

Photo: Flickr