The interview

‘Woef-Out’ is a effective dog walking and also pet sitting business based in The Hague, the Netherlands. In this article, ns speak with founder/manager Paula Welgraven around a job in the life of a expert dog walker.

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Paula wade Beagles

I met Paula in the woods while working on a Canis bonus’ photo-documentary dog walks. Ns greeted her through my usual enthusiasm for whatever dog-related, and also before ns knew it, us were chatting away around dog behaviour. I was immediately struck by she relaxed, open, and also well-informed attitude. If anyone might proudly represent dog walking in my dog agree hall the fame, Paula had actually to it is in the one. Paula gladly accepted to be interviewed, and also you are analysis transcript of our conversation.

Dog walking

Dog wade in The Netherlands is gradually gaining respect as a profession, however many still see it as a task for the unskilled. Provided Paula’s education and also professional attitude, i was happy to fulfill such a an excellent ambassadress come the cause. If only all walkers to be equally committed to continuing education and the high standards set by the Dutch expert Association of Dog Walkers, the field would professionalise chin a lot faster.

Woef-Out together a business

Laure-Anne – how did Woef-Out start?

Paula – I supplied to work very unusual hours for the flower market, so my sister request me come let she dog out every day. I figured if i am law it because that one dog, ns might as well do it for more. This to be 2006. Six months down the line, ns was walking around six dogs. As I had always wanted to run my very own business, ns wasted no time in exchanging my sports coupé for a van, and having mine website designed by a professional. I have make a living the end of dog wade since.

L-A – What other services execute you offer?PW – I additionally offer a pet sit service for all sorts of pets, not just dogs (reptiles, birds, cats, etc.). This involves my going to people’s houses when they room away, spring after their pet.

L-A – What set-up execute you have? It’s not just a concern of choose up her hiking shoes, is it?PW – there is the branded van, but you likewise need to think of dog treats, water, blankets, towels, an excellent outdoor apparel with your logo design on it, an i would tag for each dog, safe and comfortable move pens, a first aid kit, etc. You require quite a set-up come fulfil expert standards.

L-A – If money and time were no a factor, what would be her dream organization expansion?PW – I would certainly love to study physiotherapy for dogs. Yet it seems you have to have a degree in human physiotherapy first, and also I simply do not have that type of time. Ns would also love to look into canine plot therapy.

Paula and dogs

L-A – how old were you once you had actually your very first dog?PW – us have constantly had dogs in my family, so I have had actually dogs since birth.

L-A – execute you have a dog now?PW –I have actually young Jack Russell. That comes follow me on one of the everyday walks.

L-A – Why dogs?PW – It’s not so much dogs as pets in general. I provided to be a horse-riding instructor, actually. Oh, and I have two cats.

The dog go profession

L-A – Is the profession badly impacted by the jae won crisis? are the services viewed as a high-end for times of plenty?PW – i am definitely getting less enquiries, yet it does not influence me directly as ns am close to capacity anyway.


Paula walking mutts!

L-A – with such a physics profession, what do you do once you room ill?PW – Actually, in the 4 years the I have been law this, I have actually not when been sick! however it states in the contract that I have actually no main replacement solution must I be unable to walk one day.

L-A – just how old is the profession right here in The Netherlands? In the UK and also US, it’s gaining reasonably settled. It began to choose up pace around 25 year ago.PW – experienced dog walking has been approximately in The Netherlands for ten come fifteen years.

The life that a skilled dog walker

L-A – How plenty of walks carry out you execute per week?PW – I perform two go a day, five work a week. I additionally regularly walk two boerboels independently as lock are gaining too old come walk v the group.

L-A – explain a usual day.PW – ns spend many of mine time picking up and also dropping off dogs… This is approximately how the pans out:

8.30am: i leave the residence to start the first pick-up round.10am: The morning go starts.11am: i clean up the dog a little, and load them in the van to begin the drop-off round.12pm: I shot to take a sandwich on the go, then begin the afternoon pick-up tour1.30pm: The afternoon to walk starts.2.30pm: Again, i tidy increase the dog a little, and then begin the drop-off round.Around 4pm: i return home.

There are regularly delays, of course. Some dogs take your sweet time getting ago in the van.

L-A – What space the perks of the job?PW – long had constantly been a understanding of mine, and I am absolutely the outdoorsy type, therefore spending so much time walking external is a huge perk because that me.

I additionally love the freedom: even if you room running ten minutes late, it’s not like the dogs space there waiting for you, feather at their wristwatch.

The best kick of all has to be the town hall them have actually a blast, frolicking around with each other.

I frequently play gamings with the dogs, choose this one: ns make them kind a circle about me and also we pat ‘Simon Says’ for a treat. Sometimes, I location a law on the van’s bumper, and they need to take that in turns to gain it. They love it. It’s like kindergarten sometimes. Because it’s not just one dog, I stop playing gamings that could reason competition, prefer a playing with a ball.

L-A – What are the worst facets of the job?PW – The driving… I spend around twice as lot time driving as I do walking. It’s no straight, efficient driving either: you have to constantly obtain in and out of the van.

L-A – just how do you feel on a merganser day? space you really never tempted to cancel your dog walks?PW – i actually really love go in the rain: there is no one else about so the walks room really quiet and also relaxing. Ns have great rainproof clothing, so ns don’t mind weather so much. That course, when it rains, the dogs and the van require cleaning means more often.

L-A – how varied space the courses you walk?PW – there is much more choice in the winter, like beaches, as a lot of of places are off-limits for turn off leash dog in the high season. All in all, ns have about six different routes to choose from within a practical range of my customer base.

L-A –Does the ingredient of the team groups girlfriend walk differ much?PW – so far, I have actually kept practically 100% of my customers, for this reason the groups are fairly stable. This allowed me to create the groups optimally in regards to individual temperaments, as I have the right to switch a dog between morning and afternoon go if that fits better with the other group.

Paula’s philosophy and also vision

L-A – What an individual qualities would certainly you advice come be effective in the dog wade business?PW – You have to love dogs, obviously. You additionally need to have actually sales skills, together you have to be able to confidently safeguard the job to sceptics.

L-A – execute some world react negatively to you once you room walking the dogs?PW – I obtain the sometimes ‘Why do human being take a dog if castle can’t even look ~ it?’. I think in what i do and the dog are clearly benefiting, so ns can define the benefits of experienced dog wade to these people.

L-A – If you were a dog, ns presume you will do be happy to have you as a dog walker. What renders your services special?PW – ns go beyond the regulations when it comes to comfort and safety. Mine van has wait conditioning and also roof ventilation, for example. On warm days, I also lay new wet blankets ~ above the floor. In the winter, i have warmth comfortable blankets because that them. The transport pens in which I bring them are custom-made by a expert carpenter.

L-A – How crucial is participation with other regional dog walkers? Is it a very competitive business, or is it quite cooperative?PW – as a rule, I do not understand that over there is so lot cooperation, but I certainly have very good contacts with an additional dog pedestrian in the region. We refer client to every other, for example.

L-A – What is the relationship of dog walkers that space member of a expert body in The Netherlands? How countless professional bodies room there?PW – HUS Nederland (Branch Vereniging voor Honden Uitlaat Service) is the only experienced association in The Netherlands that sets criter for the dog walking profession. To it is in a member (I am), you have to accomplish a number of criteria like:

a company that is registered through the chamber of Commerce;ID tag with your organization contact details on it for each dog;a fire extinguisher;a certificate in canine very first aid, and a first aid kit v you;a clearly marked transfer vehicle;secure deliver so the dogs execute not have direct access to the outside;you must scoop up after the dogs;you must have actually a professional certificate (from the young name Gaus academy) which provides you an understanding into canine behaviour and own business entrepreneurship; andThe van have to be disinfected at the very least 1x every week.

As dog go is ending up being a famous profession, that is necessary to professionalise the to protect against abuses i beg your pardon will impact our reputation.

L-A – How far are us from well-recognized standards ruling the profession?PW – only a minority of dog walkers room members of HUS.

L-A – What room the extreme instances of unprofessional behaviours from those non-syndicated colleagues?PW – You periodically hear story of dog left behind, or the walker not bothering to aid a dog out of the water. But just go to the dog walking business start page to see the explode of dog walkers in The Netherlands, some space definitely more professional than others.

Qualifications and also training

L-A – just how do you store up-to-date v the latest breakthroughs in dog behaviour and health and also safety?PW – I obtain a newsletter from the boy name Gaus institute. I likewise read dog books and magazines and also check the net to watch up any question I might have. Ns am one avid self-learner.

L-A – What qualifications did you get to assist you in her job?PW – i did a couple of qualifications:

Canine an initial aidABA (Algemene Basiskennis Aanrichting): a course for dog handlersMartin Gaus’ dog walking service set-up and also canine plot courseA dog training certificate (‘africhtingsdiploma’ from Tinley)

I am fairly curious around my next one: ‘bewegingsleer’. I think it will certainly be about canine body language.

Safety incidents

L-A – What is the maximum variety of dogs you can walk at the same time by law?PW – over there is no maximum number by government law, however the HUS standard is collection at 10 dogs.

L-A – execute dogs in your treatment frequently run away?PW – It has actually only taken place to me a pair of times. Once, among the dog refused to get out of a bunker ~ above the dunes. He hadn’t run away, but he just would not come out. Another time, one of the dogs simply ran earlier home. Neither dog was hurt, though. Yet this eventuality is why that is so vital to have plainly marked tag on every dog’s collar.

L-A – execute dogs in your treatment frequently reason damage come a third party?PW – Well, aside native the odd explode footballs, ns really can not think the anything, no.

L-A – room insurance prices crippling?PW – Actually, ns regularly examine and, as much as ns know, over there is no one-of-a-kind insurance for dog walkers in the Netherlands yet. The is all spanned by the liability insurance allowance of every individual dog’s owner.

L-A – carry out dogs in your care frequently fight through each other?PW – They hardly ever fight. If I watch that a dog go not acquire on with the rest of the group, i either take it him on the other day-to-day walk, or ns refer him to another walker. Ns sometimes obtain other dogs reflecting aggression towards dogs in mine group. The group sticks together, then, but I have never had actually a significant incident.

L-A – What are the health and also safety regulation in place in The Netherlands worrying the dog wade business?PW – There room no government regulations using specifically to the profession. Of course you need to abide to basic safety regulations in transporting and walking them.

L-A – have you ever before gotten hurt by a dog while delivering out her job?PW – No, never.

L-A – would you ever before refuse to walk a details dog?PW – It has actually only occurred on a pair of this occasions:

One time, the dog was absolutely petrified that the van and also just refuse to obtain on.Another client of mine maintained cancelling appointments and delaying payment.Right now, I likewise do not have actually the transport infrastructure for giant breeds favor St Bernards.

In conclusion

Paula followed her dream and built a serious, solid, modern-day business. However to keep her business, Paula keeps investing in continuing education and equipment. This is hoping that an ext and more dog walkers will match Paula’s standards, together the profession slowly transforms from a “McJob” (to quote Douglas Coupland), to a respected job in the eyes of the public.

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Contact Paula

For much more information about Woef-Out, Paula’s dog go business, visit

Any comments?

As ever, I worth your comments and remarks. I would specifically love come hear from you if:

You are using a dog go service. What nation are friend in and what’s her feedback ~ above the high quality of service?You have had actually a great or negative experience with a dog walking service (please suggest your country).You room a experienced dog walker (please show your country) and also you’d favor to comment/add top top what was debated because you agree or disagree with Paula’s views.You room a expert dog walker and would like to comment about the degree of maturity that the dog walking market and profession in your country.You space a dog walker and also feel prefer the job is tho undervalued, or top top the contrary, in her country.

Further reading

Thinking of acquiring a dog? truth check.Other dog pro interviews