Top 3 Qualities of an Exceptional Dog Walker

November 13, 2023
By: Adriana Valle

Dog walking is not regulated. It’s a relatively easy job to enter because almost anyone can call themselves a dog walker. Unfortunately, news stories about dogs getting lost while they are being walked by a new “dog walker” should set off alarm bells for pet parents. Just because someone calls themselves a dog walker doesn’t mean they have the passion, experience, patience, and know-how needed to do this important work. For this reason, today we’re counting down the top 3 qualities of an exceptional dog walker. Thanks to our profound understanding of what makes an exceptional dog walker, we have brought together a dream team of dog walkers and pet sitters to serve the pets of the Connecticut Shoreline and their families.

Qualities of an Exceptional Dog Walker: Passion

Working with animals is something many people think they want to do. Until they try it.

Many pet lovers think how fun it would be to play with pets for paychecks but dog walking is a lot more than fun. It’s serious work with lots of responsibility.

As dog walkers, we care for pets of all ages, sizes, wellness levels, and temperaments. Not all dogs are “fun” to care for. Some dogs require very careful attention due to health conditions, aging, and chronic pain. Puppies and under-socialized dogs can be hard to control and may be a danger to themselves and others.

Dog walkers care for multiple dogs per day – often as many as a dozen or more, depending on the homes and routes. Every time they head out to provide dog walking services, they risk falling, bites and injuries, getting stuck in terrible traffic, having to brave the elements, and encountering endless pet and home-related challenges. That’s the job. Working with unfamiliar dogs in their home is a risk we take. It comes with the territory.

Of course, it’s not all challenges. For the right person, dog walking is the most fulfilling work we can think of. We look forward to seeing every dog, no matter their condition, no matter what Mother Nature or Shoreline traffic sends our way. It’s our passion for this work that makes us stand out. Our passion helps us take on the challenges with a smile on our faces and love in our hearts. Without passion, dog walking would just be a job and the pets wouldn’t benefit from our dedicated care and commitment to quality.

Qualities of an Exceptional Dog Walker: Experience/Training

It’s hard to have experience if you’ve never done a job before. That’s why at Shoreline Happy Paws we provide ample training to all new dog walkers and ongoing training for all employees.

Our vetting process starts with interviewing applicants to determine if they have the passion it takes to do this work. Once we’ve confirmed a true passion for pets and their well-being, we dig a little deeper to determine our new hires’ experience. We ask about their pets, the pets of loved ones, and any professional pet care roles they’ve held. By gauging how much experience they have with pets, we know how much training they will need.

No matter their experience, every single new hire undergoes on-the-job, virtual, and one-on-one training with our Management Team. Our employees also received Pet First Aid & CPR training.

Our goal at Shoreline Happy Paws is for your pet to receive the same level of care and quality service no matter which one of our team members cares for them.

Qualities of an Exceptional Dog Walker: Compassion

Compassion refers to our concern for the feelings and well-being of others. As dog walkers, we show compassion toward the pets in our care when they are hurt, uncomfortable, have special needs and behave in ways that put them and us in harm’s way. We also show compassion when dogs need us to slow down on walks, are anxious or stressed due to a change in the home environment or family routine, and are scared of thunderstorms or fireworks. Further, we show compassion to the pets in our care when they have accidents, aren’t eating, are fearful, and are lacking in exercise. Because of our passion and training, we understand the pets in our care and, therefore, do our best to ensure they are at ease. When they are not, we notice and we do our best to help.

A dog walker’s compassion isn’t just for the pets in our care. Dog walkers also show compassion when we see our clients struggling to juggle life’s demands. We accept last-minute appointments to offer a helping hand, support families during pet loss, and lend a listening ear to the client who is struggling with a pet-related decision or concern. Our compassion shines through when times get tough, which is when our clients are most grateful to have us on their pet care team.

Exceptional Dog Walkers in the CT Shoreline

In addition to the three qualities of an exceptional dog walker listed above, patience, physical and mental endurance, organization and time management skills, and self-motivation go a long way for dog walkers. If you think you’d make a great dog walker and live in any of the service areas listed below, please read this post about our dog walker and pet sitter jobs. We’d love to bring more exceptional dog walkers to the Connecticut Shoreline and look forward to hearing from you.

If you’re a pet parent in the Connecticut Shoreline, Shoreline Happy Paws offers dog walking, pet sitting, and dog hiking adventures in the following areas of the Connecticut Shoreline:

  • Old Saybrook
  • Essex, Ivoryton & Centerbrook
  • Deep River
  • Chester
  • Westbrook
  • Clinton
  • Old Lyme
  • East Lyme
  • Niantic

Certain Areas and Limited Service Hours in:

  • Lyme and Madison
  • Waterford, New London, Groton
  • Uncasville, Gales Ferry, Mystic, Noank

Please contact us by phone or text at 860-964-0464 or via email at to learn more.

Our team of exceptional dog walkers is looking forward to meeting you and your pets!

By Adriana Valle

Adriana is the owner and Chief Pet-Loving Officer at Shoreline Happy Paws. She has been a Professional Pet Sitter for over 10 years.

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