I love being a professional dog walker because it wonderfully melds my passion with the more practical need to have enough exercise and stay healthy. Knowing that I’m helping families provide that to their pets is also incredibly satisfying. As much fun as it is, it’s also very important to plan ahead and be prepared for most situations that may pop up!
Every professional dog walker has a favorite list of items they like to keep with them whenever they are out and about. Although most depend on the specific client and season, there are a few things that we all need to have close by! Here’s what I carry on my belt:
First Thing for the Professional Dog Walker: The Belt
There are a variety of different sizes and types of belts to choose from depending on what the dog walker is looking for. I like the “fanny pack” design with several pockets, hooks, and a solid wrap that I can clip things to. That way, everything I need is easy to grab when I want it.
What’s in the Pockets?
- Keys. You can’t get locked out if your keys are always close. 🙂
- Poop bags! Remember to be polite and pick up after your pet! Having a canister that makes them easy to pull out and use is ideal. Most will have clips that can attach to a belt or leash.
- Extra leashes. A simple slip lead doesn’t take up much space, and can be used in the event of a slipped collar or stray pet.
- Citronella spray. Although we are observant while we’re out walking, we may not always be able to avoid another dog off-leash. Although a spray is not my first level of deterrent or distraction, it is a good backup for dogs showing low-moderate aggression. I use Citronella over pepper spray because (1) less harmful side effects, and (2) less chance to increase the aggressive behavior . We DO NOT recommend products like these for chronic use or for training.
- Treat bag/pocket. Who doesn’t like treats? I keep this stocked for Fear Free sessions and reinforcing proper behavior on walks. When reinforcing proper behavior, we can work with your pup’s trainer to continue using the commands they teach in class so that there’s consistency. It’s also my first line of distraction for off-leash dogs who come investigate. More often then not, they’re more curious than aggressive, and will prefer chasing a few treats I throw than following us on our walk.
- Soft water bowls or Gulpy. A must-have for summer walking! Easy to clip and doesn’t take up very much space. My treat bag is a great option for also carrying our water bottle. The other option is a clip-on Gulpy! These water dispensers make it easy to carry water and offer them in a “fold-out” bowl, and can be easily found on sites such as Amazon.
- Phone. Must-have in the event of an emergency!
For Better Preparedness: The Top Items I keep in My Car!