Why It’s So Hard to Become a Dog Walker

Morning walk with puppy

It’s not easy to work as a dog walker. | Chalabala/iStock/Getty Images

Becoming a dog walker is the equivalent of getting into an Ivy League school. Between the rigorous application process and the number of people who apply, many applicants are turned away. Find out why it’s so hard to become a dog walker, ahead.

There are many dog owners

There are an estimated 78 million dogs owned in the U.S., according to the The Humane Society of the United States. With more and more people becoming dog owners, it’s the perfect time to become a dog walker. From the applicant’s point of view, there’s a lot of work to go around and companies need the extra help. Then, however, applicants review the application process and possibly change their tune.

The application process is rigorous

Blond girl sitting on floor near window and watching laptop

The application can be complicated. | iStock/Getty Images

After applying online, applicants are required to answer a series of questions. However, there’s not much waiting around for results. “They got back to you in the same day,” a dog walker for Rover, a dog walking company, said on Glassdoor. Interview questions are average, according to ratings on the career site.

Acceptance rates are low

Harvard University''s main campus

Harvard sometimes has a higher acceptance rate than some dog-walking companies. | Darren McCollester/Getty Images

However, feedback from dog walking companies’ executives tells a different story. “If an applicant fails a question on our test, he or she does not make the cut,” a spokeswoman for Wag! told The Wall Street Journal. Wag! And Rover, two dog walking companies, the acceptance rates are very low. Wag! Accepts 5% of applicants and Rover accepts 15%, according to The Wall Street Journal. To put these numbers in prospective, Harvard accepts 5.4% of applicants and Yale accepts 6.3%, the respective schools say.

Applicants must be really knowledgeable

Various breeds of dogs sitting on autumn meadow

You have to know dog behavior. | fotorince/Getty Images

Applicants must be able to decipher various harnesses and be well-versed in dog psychology, The Wall Street Journal says. Loving dogs or being a “dog person” isn’t enough. Applicants have to know what can be construed as threatening to a dog and what to do in worst case scenarios. One wrong answer can mean no job offer.

The act of walking a dog is more complicated

they are the best friends

Dog walkers often have to give owners detailed reports. | BilevichOlga/iStock/Getty Images

Dog walking services offer more than individual to simply walk a dog. During a walk, the dog walker is expected to take photos of the dog, track their movements, and take note of where they relieve themselves, The Wall Street Journal says. Employers must confirm potential employees can handle what’s expected of them during walks.

Getting walks is competitive

Dog with paw up

Walking jobs are claimed quickly. | DeRepente/iStock/Getty Images

Wag! employees say obtaining walks are hard to come by on Glassdoor. In fact, the statement “there are so many walkers that it’s almost impossible to get walks,” shows up in nearly 26 reviews posted by employees. “Literally within a fraction of a second, the walk is claimed,” another employee says on the site. To get a walk, dog walkers often have little to no time to consider accepting one before the job is accepted by another employee. “Walks in your area get snatched up quickly and there are so many walkers compared to dogs in an area it can be hard to get enough walks to make it worth it,” an anonymous Wag! employee writes on Glassdoor.

Walkers must be available on short notice

girl spending time with lovely jack Russel Terrier dog

Your schedule won’t be consistent. | Artem Tryhub/iStock/Getty Images

“By and large you are often beholden to a schedule that neither pays a living wage nor is particularly manageable,” Andrew Gerngross, a Wag! dog walker, told The Wall Street Journal. One reason why a dog walker’s schedule may not be manageable is because the schedule is always changing. The schedule is, there’s no schedule. This can be particularly difficult for those who use dog walking as a supplemental form of income.

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