How to Become a

Dog Walker

The complete career guide to be a Dog Walker: salary, job growth, employers, best schools, and education you may need to get started.

Why We Love It

  • $23,630
    Potential Avg. Salary
  • 10.5%
    Job Growth Rate
  • Growing Demand
    Job Outlook
  • Flexible Hours
    Career Attribute

Dog walkers earn a living by running their own dog walking businesses. They take one or more dogs on walks through local areas or dog parks, ensuring dogs get the proper amount of exercise and are fed and watered as needed along the route. They also perform tasks related to running a dog walking business.

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What is a Dog Walker?

The following job responsibilities are common for individuals in dog walker roles:

  • Walk one or more dogs through neighborhoods and parks
  • Ensure dogs are properly exercised, fed, and watered during walks
  • Find clients, invoice clients, and keep thorough documentation for tax purposes

A Day in the Life

If you’ve thought about starting your own dog-walking business, then it’s important to know just what the job will entail. From the client or pet-facing side of the occupation, your time will be spent doing exactly what the job title implies—walking dogs. This means that you will be taking one or multiple dogs on walks either in the local area, on private land, or to public dog parks. For some dog walkers, handling one dog at a time is the preferred method, while others prefer to increase their earnings by walking multiple dogs at the same time.

While most people imagine a dog walking position to be little more than the actual task of walking the dogs, the truth is that much more is involved. In addition to the feeding and watering tasks that are often included as part of a dog walking package, there is another side of the occupation to be considered. As dog walker jobs can be few and far between, the most common route is to build your own business from scratch by starting with a few clients.

What this means is that in addition to walking dogs, you’ll also need to consider the tasks related to running a business, which includes marketing, bookkeeping, invoicing, and more. This side of a dog walking career may not hold the same excitement as the actual exercise and camaraderie of being around dogs, but it is a necessary component to any successful dog-walking enterprise.

Typical Work Schedule

Dog walkers are generally self-employed, so they are able to set their own schedules and walk dogs as often or infrequently as they like. However, dog walkers must also accommodate the needs of their clients, and may need to be available to exercise dogs during normal business hours, in evenings, on weekends, and possibly even over holidays.

Typical Employers

Most dog walkers are self-employed and operate their own dog-walking businesses. However, some may be employed by pet stores, animal shelters, kennels, or doggy day cares to ensure dogs in the business’s care are properly exercised.

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How To Become a Dog Walker

There may not be formal training for those that wish to provide professional dog walking services, but the obvious starting point is a genuine love for dogs. Those that do not care for dogs will most likely find difficulty in the career, and this passion for dogs should not be limited to a single breed. One way to increase knowledge about dogs would be to study and learn the basic traits of common breeds. From this knowledge, a dog walker will be able to tailor their walking services.

Being able to control dogs is also an important concept when considering an occupation as a dog walker. Because dogs can be big and aggressive, a person will not only need to protect themselves but also display enough control to not endanger other people and dogs that may be encountered in a standard walk. There are classes that teach a person how to establish a position of authority with dogs, and these could be helpful in avoiding problematic situations.

Most dog walkers are independent operators, which means that they are not part of a larger company or organization. As such, the road to becoming a dog walker depends on the person and their ability to generate business in the local area. Aspiring dog walkers may use a bevy of marketing techniques to try and gain more contracts for dog walking tasks. Providing quality service and generating solid word of mouth recommendations is an excellent way to grow the number of dog walking clients.

Dog Walker Salary Data

We’ve provided you the following to learn more about this career. The salary and growth data on this page comes from recently published Bureau of Labor Statistics data while the recommendations and editorial content are based on our research.

National Anual Salary

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High Range


National Hourly Wage

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High Range


How do Dog Walker salaries stack up to other jobs across the country? Based on the latest jobs data nationwide, Dog Walker's can make an average annual salary of $23,630, or $11 per hour. This makes it an Above Average Salary. On the lower end, they can make $18,580 or $9 per hour, perhaps when just starting out or based on the state you live in.

Salary Rankings And Facts

  • #785 Nationally for All Careers

Highest Education Among Dog Walkers

  • 0.9%   Doctorate
  • 2.4%   Masters
  • 16.3%   Bachelors
  • 8.3%   Associates
  • 27.2%   College
  • 34.7%   High School
  • 10.2%   Less than High School

Job Growth Projections and Forecast

2014 Total Jobs


2024 Est. Jobs


Job Growth Rate


Est. New Jobs


How does Dog Walker job growth stack up to other jobs across the country? By 2024, there will be a change of 21,600 jobs for a total of 226,400 people employed in the career nationwide. This is a 10.5% change in growth over the next ten years, giving the career a growth rate nationwide of Below Average.

Growth Rankings And Facts

  • #172 Nationally for All Careers

What Companies Employ The Most Dog Walkers

Industry Current Jobs New Jobs Needed % Increase
Other personal services 67,900 11,800 12%
Self-employed workers 39,200 3,400 3%
Other miscellaneous store retailers 28,400 700 1%

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