A woman walking her dog
A dog walking service

Dog walking is the act of a person walking with a dog, typically from the dog's residence and then returning. Leashes are commonly used for this. Both owners and pets receive many benefits,[1] including exercise and companionship.[2]


Dogs are restrained by a collar around their neck or a harness,[3] or by simply following their guardian with familiarity and verbal control. Commonly, the dog is walked by the guardian or another family member, but there are also professional dog walkers.[4]

Dog owners can also go hiking with their dogs. Many trails mandate that the dogs are on leash, in view of the dogs' safety and the safety of other hikers.[5]

Health benefits

Two dogs being walked along the waterfront

A study by Michigan State University showed that people who walk their dogs are 34% more likely to meet expected goals of exercise, with a recommended level of 150 minutes of activity such as dog walking per week. Matthew Reeves, the co-author of the study said, "There is no magic bullet in getting people to reach those benchmarks but walking a dog has a measurable impact."[6]

Research conducted by the University of Western Australia has suggested that a higher rate of dog walking within a community tends to cause more interpersonal relationships within that community. The research suggested that people in the community would acknowledge and greet other people in the street, and exchange favors with neighbors, which could possibly encourage more exercise in the community, by giving pets and owners a chance at a healthier lifestyle.

Professional dog walkers

This professional dog walker on skates is pulled rapidly down a street by six dogs in Summit, New Jersey, U.S.

Professional dog walkers, both individuals and businesses, are paid by dog owners to walk their dogs for them. Some dog walkers will take many dogs for a walk at once, while others will only take a single dog.[4] The length of a walk might vary by breed or owner's request, ranging from short walks intended to last no longer than the time it takes for the dog to relieve itself of waste, to longer walks with a specific amount of time set by the owner. The length of walks should take into account the dog's age and health status. Long walks (over 1 hour) should not be undertaken by dogs under 12 months of age for smaller breeds, up to 18 months for large breeds, to protect their bones and joints while they are still growing. Also growing in popularity is "dog running".[7] Dog runners are professionals who run with dogs, rather than walking with them. In some jurisdictions, dog walking businesses[8] must be licensed and have employees trained in animal first aid. Professional dog walking services can be obtained locally or through online referral services. Obtaining a position as a professional dog walker has become more demanding, with applicants having to go through extensive training.[9] However, whether or not licensing or training is required, all dog walkers who walk other people's dogs must be aware of best practices such as using a fixed-length leash and weather considerations.

In the United States, the first professional dog walker is believed to have been Jim Buck, who in 1960 launched his dog walking service in New York City.[10]

See also


  1. ^ "Are new rules woof justice for pooches?". Grimsby Telegraph. thisisgrimsby.co.uk. 29 May 2010. Archived from the original on 13 September 2012. Retrieved 30 May 2010.
  2. ^ Bumgardner, Wendy (13 November 2008). "Dog Owners Get Twice as Much Exercise - Dog Walking for Exercise". About.com. Archived from the original on 8 January 2010. Retrieved 30 May 2010.
  3. ^ Shaw, Lorrie (5 May 2010). "Commercialism: coming to a pet near you". AnnArbor.com. Retrieved 30 May 2010.
  4. ^ a b Smith, Mark (5 May 2010). "Lawyer wants to bring dog walkers to heel". The Scotsman. Retrieved 30 May 2010.
  5. ^ "Hiking Etiquette 101: The 12 Trail Rules You Should Know". www.wonderfulwellies.co.uk. Retrieved 8 March 2019.
  6. ^ "Walkies Not Just For Dogs". Daily Express. 12 March 2011.
  7. ^ Full-time Dog Runner, runnersworld.com, retrieved 8 June 2018
  8. ^ Moore, Sharne (2020-12-16). "How to start a dog walking business". Smarter Finances. Retrieved 2021-11-22.
  9. ^ Higgins, Laine (2017-10-05). "Want a Job as a Dog Walker? It's Just Like Getting into Harvard". The Wall Street Journal. ISSN 0099-9660. Retrieved 2018-01-20.
  10. ^ Fox, Margalit (12 July 2013). "Jim Buck, Who Made Walking Dogs a Job, Dies at 81". The New York Times. Retrieved 13 July 2013.