Dog Walking Jobs for Teenagers
Are you a high school student/graduate or college freshman looking for a part-time job? Do you love animals? If so, dog walking may be for you!
Dog walking can make your perfect part-time job, as it tends to be close to home, the pay is usually more than fast food restaurants, and it’s fun! Of course, it can be tough, because you have to be able to work outside rain or shine, and clean up after dogs. But it is a rewarding job, and it will help you develop many skills you will find useful in the future. So how do you become a dog walker?
Where and how to find dog walking jobs for teenagers?
1. Job Search
Start your job search by talking to your parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, friends and neighbors. They may already need a dog walker or sitter because they are going on a 3-week vacation. Also, as you know (and remember this for the rest of your life), your families will always try to help you achieve your goals. Tell them that you want their help in finding a dog walking job, and they will ask around their friends and co-workers. If you have Facebook, post on your status that you are available to walk dogs. Talking to people you know will be the fastest and safest way to find your first job.
Another way is to check out craigslist, kijiji, indeed or any other classified sites, and type in “Dog Walker in (your city name)”. Try to look for a person (not a company) looking for a walker for their dog. This is because many companies want people who are 21 years old or older. You can check local newspaper as well, but you’ll find more current information on the online classified sites nowadays.
When searching online, you may want to try different job titles such as “dog sitter” and “dog walking.” If you like taking care of children, you can try “baby sitter,” and you will find that many people are looking for a baby sitter that can walk their dog as well.
On the job posting, make sure the employer (person wanting a dog walker) is living in your city, so you can get there without trouble. Remember, you’ll be visiting this house a few times a week, so you will need it to be as close to your house as possible. If the posting has a photo, that’s better, because you can see what type of dog you will be working with. If this is your first job search, show the job posting to your parents, older siblings and/or school counsellor, to make sure they think it is a legitimate job. Because many classified sites allow people to post anything for free, you want to make sure you are talking to a good person.
2. Contact the Dog Owner
Once you are sure the post is legitimate, contact the person by email or phone. Tell them that you saw their job posting on Craigslit or you heard that they are looking for a dog walker from your mother. Ask any questions you have (e.g. How often do you need your dog walked? What is the wage?). Try to sound professional, and tell them a little about yourself too. For example, I go to ABC High School, I love working with dogs, I have volunteered at school events etc. If this is going to be your first job, you may be worried that you don’t have any experience. Not to worry, you’ve got lots of wonderful qualities that your employers will find useful for the job. You just have to find them. Most dog owners want someone reliable, responsible and good with animals. So think about the time you had to be this kind of person – maybe you have experience becoming a team leader for a science project or a sports team? You have worked at the school cafeteria and never showed up late for your shift? You walk your dog every day for the last 2 years? If they think you will be a good walker for their dog, they will try to make a time to meet with you.
3. Visit the Owner and the Dog
First time you visit the dog owner, I advise you go with your parent. Even if the owner is your neighbor, go with your parent to make sure both you and your parent have a good feeling about the owner and their dog. See the dog in person, and try walking them a little. If you think you cannot handle the dog (too big, too strong, can be anything!), voice the concern. Safety is most important here.
If you get a job with a dog walking agency/company, you may need an employment/age certificate, depending on where you live. Check your state requirement on the United States Department of Labor website. If you do require one, talk to your school counsellor, and they will be able to give you a form or direct you to where you can get one.
Now just be careful of how much you work if you are under 18.
In the United States, the Fair Labor Standards Act specifies the following:
This information and more on child labor laws can be found on the Youth Rules website.
In Canada, the employment standards for teenagers vary quite a bit, depending on your age. Check the rules for your province on the Canadian Labour Congress’ Minimum Age Campaign website.
So are you ready to start looking for a dog walking job? Do you have any other concerns? Share them in the comment section below!
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Image credit: Jenn Durfey on Flickr