Dogs are excellent companions. Loyal, undemanding, and always happy to see your face, they have just one big minus for working people–they need regular walks to stay healthy, typically at least three times a day, and one walk should be longer. Minus for one person can be a plus for another one, however. That’s exactly the case for professional dog walkers. You can earn money for taking dogs for walk, and that’s definitely not a bad idea for a true dog lover…
Let’s have a look at 10 questions you may face while trying to get this job in an interview. Remember that nowadays, most dog walkers work for professional agencies (who take care of marketing and communication with the clients). They will interview you before giving you the job, and letting you to spend time with the dogs of their clients.
Why do you want to work as a dog walker?
Love for dogs goes without saying, but it’s not the only thing you should refer to in this interview. You should also explain what role does this job play in your life, in your present situation. Perhaps you go to school, and want to earn some extra money. And since you have lectures only in the morning, you can take dogs for walk in the afternoon and in the evenings. You will learn something more about dogs, animals you truly love, and at the same time earn some cash.
Or you want to have a dog badly, but your partner, or your parents, don’t support your idea. Instead of mourning about your fate, you decided to apply for a job of a dog walker. It allows you to learn more about dogs, and most importantly spend some time with the animals, though you have to wait to get your own puppy. Few extra dollars you earn here and there are also a nice bonus…
What is your availability? When can you take dogs for walks?
This is one of the most important questions, because each agency tries to match the schedule of walks with the availability of the dog walkers working for the agency. My suggestion: Give them as many times as possible, especially at the beginning.
I mean, if you said that you were available only on Tuesday from 4 to 8pm, and on Wednesday from 2 to 6pm, because you were busy with extracurricular activities and your boyfriend on the other days, they would not hire you. The job shouldn’t be your last priority, after school, friends, hobbies, and whatever.
At least at the beginning you should show some flexibility. The more days and hours you suggest, the easier it will be for an agency to find some match, and to test you out. Of course once you have the job for a few months, and prove your skills as an excellent and friendly dog walker, you will have more choices and can be more selective with your schedule. But at the beginning you should show a lot of flexibility, to get the job at first place.
Do you have any preferences when it comes to dog breeds? Are you scared of any dogs?
You should show no prejudice in the interview. Of course, you can name your favorite breed, or perhaps even a favorite size of the dog. If you are a tiny woman, you may find it hard to hold a big Alaskan Malamute, when it decides to pursue some other dog, or to simply run away.
That’s completely fine and normal. But you should not be extremely selective, and you shouldn’t call any breed unmanageable. Say that you believe that all dogs deserve our attention and regular walks, but perhaps because of your physical limitations, it would be better if you worked with smaller breeds.
Of course if you feel ready for big calibers, you can simply say that you have no preferences at all.
How would you prepare an anxious dog for his/her first walk with you?
Ensure your interviewers that you understand that each dog has a personality, and some dogs may find it hard to go for a walk with a complete stranger. You can suggest meeting the dog together with the owner for the first time, or even going for the first walk together.
This is an ideal way of doing things, but it won’t always be possible. Having some small tidbits with you (approved by the dog owner, of course) and using them to gain the trust (and perhaps also favor) of the dog is a good idea.
You can also point out great emotional intelligence of dogs. A typical dog can feel whether you are a good person and like dogs, or perhaps you are a bad guy who even killed some dogs in the past. Since you are a good guy, and have a lot of love for dogs in your heart, it’s typically enough for you to bend, to let the dog to sniff your hands. They will feel there’s no danger, and happily accept your invitation for a nice walk.
What are your favorite places to walk dogs in this area?
All dogs love nature. They have this love written in their genes. That’s why I suggest you to talk about natural places–lakes, forests, mountains, and if that’s too far, or you live in a big metropolis, you should recommend public parks.
Before your interview, you should ensure that the dogs are allowed in this or that park or area. And if you suggest some more distant places, you should be able to explain how you plan to get there. Of course having a van is a big plus, but keep in mind that the agency (or dog owner) may not compensate you for your fuel expenses.
You can also say that you know the area pretty well, and believe that a dog can enjoy his or her walk anywhere, as long as they are with a good dog walker, someone who pays attention to their needs. Hence you will adjust your choice of places to the dog you walk and his or her preferences, and also to your schedule.
How do you feel about taking more dogs for a walk simultaneously?
This is generally a good idea, something you should not be afraid of. Dogs are social animals, and as long as they are used to each other, they will typically enjoy their time together.
However, you should ensure your interviewer that walking more dogs simultaneously doesn’t mean that you won’t pay attention to the individuality of each dog, and their needs. Also if you see that some of the dogs do not get along very well, and there is a possibility of the fight, you will stop walking them together.
It is also always good to mention if you have an experience with this thing (walking more dogs at the same time), or with anything else they inquire about in your interview. Experience is not mandatory, but it is a plus.
Imagine that a dog gets off his leash. What will you do? How will you react?
You can start your answer by saying that this is unlikely to happen to you. You are very responsible in work, and it has never happened to you that a dog got off his or her leash. However, if it happens, you will not panic. You also won’t let all the other dogs without attention, trying to pursue the one that got off leash.
Basically you will consider the situation, the dog, and choose the most viable option. You may leash the rest of the dogs (if you are walking more at the same time) to a tree or some other solid structure and chase the missing dog–if it’s an undisciplined one.
If it is a good dog, you may simply use a tidbit of meat, or something else the dog likes, to attract them to come back. In the most extreme cases, for example if the dog gets off his leash and attacks someone, or some other animal, you will call the police. To sum it up, you will judge the situation quickly and take the most appropriate action.
Other questions you may get in your dog walker interview
- Tell us about your worse experience with a dog.
- Imagine that one of the dogs gets injured while playing with the other dogs. What will you do?
- What are your salary expectations?/What payment model do you prefer?
- One of the client complains that their dog got sick after you took them for a walk. How will you react?
- Describe your idea of a good client, and a bad client.
- After everything we discussed here, do you want to ask a question, or do yo want to add anything?
Conclusion, next steps
Interview for a job of a dog walker belongs to interviews with easy difficulty. If they see that you are enthusiastic about the job, and understand dogs and their needs, and aren’t afraid of some tricky situation that can happen in your work (fight of two dogs, a dog getting off the leash, etc), they should give you chance, and assign you at least one dog to walk.
Try to prepare a short answer to all questions from this article, and do not forget to demonstrate your love for the best companions of men. I believe you will succeed, and wish you good luck!
May also interest you:
- How to get a decent job with no experience
- Kennel attendant interview questions.
- Animal shelter interview questions.