Photo by Karsten Winegeart on Unsplash
Dogs are amazing, aren’t they? But if you’re thinking about making dogs your living, then you aren’t alone. More and more people are opening businesses training, walking or looking after man’s best friend. People are willing to spend on their pets to make sure that they’re healthy and entertained.
So what options are available and what do you need to do to make them a reality for you?
All breeds of dogs need exercise to a greater or lesser degree. It’s important for their overall mental and physical health that they are walked regularly. That’s where dog walkers come in and help out those people who don’t have time or are physically unable to walk their dogs as often as they would like.
You can walk a number of dogs at a time and charge the owners per walk. You’ll become great friends with your regulars and get a lot of exercises too. Some dog walkers have their own specialist, air-conditioned vehicles which means that you can visit other areas to walk the dogs and also cover a larger geographical area for clients.
Becoming a dog walker is also great for your health as you’ll be moving all day and playing with dogs is great for your mental and physical health too.
Many people take their dogs on vacation with them but that’s not always possible, so rather than put them in a large kennel, they use home boarding instead. This involves having the dog stay with you for a pre-determined period of time while the owner is on vacation, or maybe unwell. You undertake to look after all of the dog’s needs and exercise during this time.
If you have outside space, you can convert this into an area for dogs to use throughout the day by putting in grass, astroturf, kennels, a dog kennel trench drain system, and play equipment.
Depending on the area you live in and the size of your property, there will be a limit to the number of dogs you can take in at any one time.
It’s important that dogs are well trained and socialized, especially if they are going to be around people and children. Unfortunately, not everyone puts the effort into training their dog, whether through lack of education or time. That’s where dog trainers come in. You can set up puppy training classes that are attended by groups of new puppy owners. Additionally, you can also work with dogs and owners individually.
You’ll need to undergo training in order to learn the ins and outs of dog training. Being well qualified will help you attract customers and ensure your skill set is up to date.
Dog trainers can deal with many elements of training in order to help your dog fit into your family home well, but occasionally more intensive support is needed. If a dog is showing particular behaviors that might be aggressive, anxious, or anti-social, then a behavioral specialist may need to be involved. They deal with the more complex cases and are often the last step of being able to keep a dog in the home.
You will need to undergo training in order to become a behavioral specialist.
Doggy Day Care
In the past, many people were unable to enjoy having a dog as a family pet because they were at work during the day, and it would be unfair to keep a dog cooped up in the house all day. That’s where doggy daycare comes in. Much like childcare, where you drop your kids off while you’re at work, this is a safe and entertaining place for your dogs to spend time while you’re out.
If you’re interested in running a doggy daycare, you’ll either need to rent premises or adapt your property if it’s big enough in order to accommodate the number of dogs you’ll be taking. It is possible to run a small doggy daycare from your existing home but you’d be very limited in how much money you could make from just one or two dogs. If you’re just looking for a small amount of income, then this could work well for you too.
There are many regulatory hoops to jump through to get your daycare up and running, but this is to ensure that you are well trained, and insured and have a safe and secure environment for the dogs you are entrusted to look after.
Don’t underestimate how much people will spend on their dogs. Dog grooming is a big business. From a quick trim to preparing show dogs for competition, there are a lot of options in this area. Also, a lot of the popular breeds at the moment need a lot of grooming and this needs to be done by a professional.
There are many dog grooming courses you can take. From there, you need to decide on your business model. Dog groomers work in a variety of settings. You can apply to work at professional groomers that have their own premises or are often found in large pet stores. You can choose to run your own business from private premises or your own home. You could even specialize in mobile grooming. This could involve having your own customized vehicle that you drive to a customer location and groom the dog in the van, or some people have their own equipment that they take to someone’s house and groom the dog in their own home. There are a lot of options depending on how much you want to spend on set-up costs and the style of work that you want to do.
Great pet photographers are in very high demand among dog owners. It’s not just the case of being good with the camera (though you do), you also have to have a way with dogs too. Getting them to trust you and knowing how they’ll react is the key to getting a good photo.
Pet photographers can have their own studio or travel to various dog-related events and premises in order for people to get their dog photos taken. Beyond the photograph, you can also offer a range of other related gifts such as coasters, blankets, mugs, pillows, and keyrings.
Because the dog community is so close, if you do a good job, you’ll get really good word-of-mouth recommendations from happy customers.
A cafe with a difference. Dog cafes are not just normal cafes that allow dogs, but are designed with dogs in mind who might want to bring along their owners. As many places don’t allow pets inside, then a dog cafe will be very popular for those people who like to take their dogs everywhere with them, or who might be traveling with them.
You can also add certain services to your cafes such as a shop, specialty food orders, and birthday parties.
If you want to look after the health of animals, you could consider becoming a vet, but this requires years of clinical training and a lot of student loans. Becoming a veterinary nurse is also an excellent career choice as it isn’t as expensive to do and you can often learn on the job while working at a veterinary practice.
Veterinary nurses assist vets in assessing and looking after pets. They also carry out care and rehabilitation after treatment, giving them medication, food, and other medical assistance. They may also be involved in the administration of the practice.
The career path is good, you could start as an assistant and work up to becoming a practice manager for a chain of veterinary practices.
Animal shelters provide a much-needed service, looking after those dogs who have been abandoned, lost, or abused. They work to rehabilitate and rehome the dogs. Many of them are run by charities or local authorities. If you choose to work in the shelter you could be involved in feeding, cleaning, walking, and looking after the dogs, assessing prospective pet adopters, and helping to promote the dog rescue as an alternative to buying from a breeder. It’s not going to make you rich but it is an intensely rewarding role that directly benefits the lives of the dogs you are looking after, which could have been far worse.
These are just some of the career paths open to you if you want to work with dogs. Some people combine a number of these in order to make a full-time living. For example, you may be a dog walker who also provides boarding or grooming services too.
Whatever you choose to do, you’ll need to research it well in order to find a business model that’s going to work for you and your area. In many cases, you’ll also need to undergo formal training as well as hold the necessary licenses and insurance. It may seem like a lot but dogs are part of the family and their owners want to know that they are in safe and experienced hands.
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