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Starting a dog walking business – the ins and outs

For many of us, taking the dog for a walk is part of our daily routine. Our furry friend gets to stretch their legs and explore all the exciting sights and smells of the outdoor world while we owners also reap the benefits of a little fresh air and an elevated step count. Dog walking can be an extremely therapeutic and rewarding experience for both dogs and humans alike.

But what if there was a way to turn this experience into a business? Now there’s a thing!

With the working demands of the 21st Century ‘hustle’ era, not everyone has the time to give their dogs the required daily exercise they need, so dog walking businesses have become increasingly popular.

If dog walking sounds like the blissful job you have been searching for, this is the blog for you!

How to start a dog walking business

Want to know how to start a dog-walking business in Australia? Here are the solid foundations of setting up a dog walking business; from basics to legalities, we’ve got you covered:

The basics

You’ve got a passion for pooches, so it’s time to sort out the basic logistics of your dog-walking business. Choosing a name, finding a solid working base (home or office), working out appropriate transport for the pups of all different sizes, and considering the expenditure of dog products such as leashes, food, snacks, and hygiene products – these are all vital must-haves to get your business off to the best possible start. 

Dogs require considerable care and maintenance, even if just for a short time, and their curiosity, energy and large appetites will need tending to. Add several dogs into the mix, and you will have your hands full, so be prepared for the workload, and responsibility is of top importance before pursuing a dog walking business endeavour.

It is also important to do some research into appropriate rates for your services. Look into how profitable dog walking is and ensure that your rates help to cover the care costs of the dogs and do not leave you out of pocket whilst also being reasonable enough to build a solid and reliable client base.

Rules and regulations of the business

Working out a firm ethos and rule guide for your business can be really helpful when asserting the kind of business you are and how you operate. How many dogs are you willing to take per walk – larger or smaller groups? Do you offer training services? Are you equipped to deal with emergency situations? What are the protocols you take in regard to animal safety? How do you manage and handle dogs of all breeds and sizes – will they be walked separately or together? 

What qualifications do you need to walk dogs?

So, believe it or not, there are required qualifications that you will need in order to walk dogs to a professional level. There are heightened risks when handling animals that are not your own, particularly if they will be socialising with other dogs in your care. You need to be correctly prepared for any conflicts and emergencies. 

Taking dog behaviour courses online or in-person could be extremely beneficial in equipping you with the skills and tools to handle difficult or excitable animals and emergency situations. Organisations such as the RSPCA and Pet Professional Guild Australia also offer animal first aid courses, which are highly recommended before professionally managing animals.

Legal stuff

It is vital to ensure that you are legally covered for any emergencies or damage incurred by your business. Appropriate animal insurance can help cover costs incurred through animal illness or injury. Public liability is also an important consideration for your business, as you will be out in public with the dogs, and there is, therefore, a risk to public land or property. You may also need to look into obtaining a licence and an ABN number and look into your own state’s regulations on dog walking as a business. 

Collecting canine companions

Once the practicalities are dealt with, all that is left is to find a solid client base of pups in need of a good walk! Starting small and working your way up to a larger client base is always the best way to go, as this way, you gain practice and establish yourself as a reliable and efficient dog walker. When your confidence grows, so will your client base, and before you know it, you will be expertly walking several dogs at a time, having gained valuable multi-tasking and dog training/handling skills. 

Word of mouth is one of the most valuable forms of recommendation for a business, and once pet owners get to hear of other dog parents who trust and rely on your services, they are more likely to refer to you to care for their beloved canine companions.

Is it hard to start a dog-walking business? With dedication, a focused mindset, a passion for and commitment to the safety and well-being of dogs, and want to offer excellent customer service and satisfaction, you will never steer too far wrong.

How to start a dog walking business infographic

Pros and cons of a dog walking business

Like any business, there are pros and cons to consider before such a big undertaking. It is important to recognise the challenges you may face as a business owner whilst also not allowing them to halt you from achieving your goals.


  • Health benefits for both you and the dogs – walking in the fresh air does absolute wonders for both dogs and humans alike. You get to stretch your legs and take in some vitamin D, while the dogs can have a stimulating and engaging experience following new scents and socialising with other dogs and people.
  • Social – you can meet new pet parents and bond over your love of animals, maybe even picking up some top tips along the way! Provided the dogs in your care are happy to socialise, it can be exciting for them to meet new playmates.
  • Flexible working – when you run your own business, you can choose the days and hours that suit you, allowing you to work around your other work or life commitments with ease.


  • Income issues – while the work of a self-employed person is flexible, it is not always reliable. There may be peaks and troughs in the popularity or demand for dog walking, meaning that some months may bring in more money than others, so it is important to be prepared for this fact.
  • Impatient pups and wild weather – dog behaviour is probably one of the number one issues a dog walker will face. Whether they are overly-excitable and curious or have a tendency to be aggressive, it can be a challenge at times to manage the multitude of temperaments you will be present with.
  • The plight of the self-employed…client collection – building up a solid client base takes time and effort, but if you keep at it and have patience, anything is a possibility.
The pros and cons of starting a dog walking business

Sound good?

Dreaming of a dog walking or training business? Get your dreams going with a comprehensive short course with My Learning online.

We have courses in Professional Dog Grooming Training and Obedience, Canine Care and Training, Animal Welfare and Animal Care, all of which would lend themselves rather well in your pursuits as a professional canine carer. Each course will offer you further insight into training skills and tools, dog trainer salary and the appropriate care and measures required to properly look after pooches and pups.

All our courses come with a downloadable brochure with further information regarding our online learning system, course modules and content, tutor support and course fee payment plans.

We love to hear from you, so if you have any further questions or queries, one of our course advisors will be on hand to help.


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