Is this you at your current job on a long Monday?
Let’s face it, a lot of people have jobs they just don’t like. But we all need a way to pay the bills. Much as you might like to quit your job tomorrow and spend the rest of every day with your dog, it’s probably just not practical. But that doesn’t mean you can never work with dogs. A dog career, like any career, needs to be built incrementally and requires preparation, education, and experience.
The good news is, having a rewarding career with dogs isn’t a magical pipe dream. It’s not something that just happens to some lucky people. If you start with a good plan and work hard and smart, there’s no reason you can’t have that dog career you’ve always imagined. Here’s how to make that awesome dog career a reality:
Start Your Dog Career Where You Are
First of all, don’t quit your day job. Building up a well-run dog business takes time. You’ll be most successful if you maintain your current job while slowly building your dog skills and clientele. To start yourself on the path to working with dogs, you need to begin with a plan.
Assess your current skills and qualifications. Did you train your own dog? Do you dog-sit your neighbor’s dog when she’s on vacation? Are you already an amateur dog groomer? Are you good with a camera? Do you make your own doggie treats or dog clothes and costumes? Even if your only qualification is a love of dogs and desire to be around them, put it down as an asset.
Now look at your resources. How much time do you have? Are you a stay-at-home parent with time during the day? Or is most of your free time on evenings and weekends? Are you a student needing to work around classes? Could you run a dog business out of your home, or would it be better for you to take your dog business mobile, and visit your clients in their homes? Do you have a dog park nearby that you could utilize?
Make a Plan to Move Forward
You’ve assessed your strengths and qualifications. Now it’s time to decide which type of dog career is the best fit for your time, resources, and skills. If you’re home during the day and have a dog-safe home and yard, a doggie daycare might be a good fit for you. If you live in a small apartment and work 9-5, maybe a mobile dog grooming business would be a better fit. City dwellers might find dog walking practical. Those who live out in more rural areas might want to focus on dog training or pet sitting.
Don’t feel like your first choice is set in stone. One of the best ways to build a dog career is to start with one core service that you can do right away (dog walking is a great choice for beginners). Then begin adding on new services as your skills and confidence grow.
As you work hard to please your customers and build your clientele, you’ll be able to spend more and more time at your dog job, and less and less time at your day job. Eventually you can even transition to a full-time dog career if that’s your goal.
Consider Getting Advanced Training for Your Dog Career
Anyone can start a dog business, and some dog careers really don’t require a lot of training or expertise. However, for some careers, like dog training, behavioral counseling, or even doggie daycare, more training is helpful. A certification in dog handling or training can give both you and your clients confidence that you have what it takes to take care of their dogs.
And don’t forget the business side! Any business is only as successful as its marketing. Having professional brochures, business cards, and client intake forms is important. In fact, it can make the difference between an amateur operation and one that inspires trust and gets recommended to friends. You’ll also want a website optimized for local search so that your potential clients can find you.
If coming up with a marketing plan, promoting your business in your community, building a website, or designing professional marketing materials overwhelms you, don’t worry! The Canine Club Academy’s “Certification Course in Dog Training” will hone your skills as a dog professional. Just as important, we will also help you with one-on-one business mentoring, a beautiful website, and all the marketing materials you need to promote your dog business.
Whatever you decide, best wishes in your dream to have a dog career!