Trying to find suitable jobs as a teenager can prove challenging due to labor laws that determine the minimum age in which a minor may be employed, as per individual State laws. So how old do you have to be to make money walking dogs?
Dog walking is one of the few professions in the United States of America that is considered a chore activity that children below 14 can participate in. While this is the general rule, dog walking companies usually have their own age requirements.
While minors can become dog walkers, there are important considerations to allow children to legally be dog walkers. Further to legal requirements regarding consent, there are some important factors to consider regarding aptitude for dog walking.
What Are The Rules For Children Wanting To Be Dog Walkers?
There are legal rules and regulations, governed both through State law and the policies of private dog walking companies and the use of dog walking apps. These must be considered in relation to aptitude.
Legal Rules And Regulations For Children Walking Dogs
While children below the age of 14 may become dog walkers, they cannot be hired by companies and are restricted to being self-employed. It is also required that their parent or guardian monitor and consent to their dog walking activity.
Aspects of business management that children will most likely need consent, and parental assistance include, but are not limited to the following:
- Accompanying a minor to potential clients and on dog walks.
- Assistance in determining and filing any taxes that may need to be paid due to income and expenditure.
- Assistance in filing for liability insurance.
- Establishing a custodial bank account on behalf of the child.
- Assistance in the creation of income and expenditure budget worksheets.
- Ensuring that the child does not exceed the legal hours and days worked as a dog walker.
- Creating advertising material and establishing oneself as the point of contact for any business issues. Children should not be contacted directly on their devices over business concerns.
- Assist in advertising the business while actively screening potential clients for the child. Clients of young children should be known to the parents in some capacity (neighbor, relative, spiritual leader, etc.)
- Monitor the child’s movements with either a GPS tracker or cell phone to ensure they remain safe, stay on route, and do not exceed legal working hours.
Who Is Liable If A Dog Is Injured While Being Walked?
It is important to consider that a child cannot be held liable for any harm befalling a dog while the child is walking the dog. In the event of injury to a dog, the parent or guardian will be held liable for any damages (vet bills, emotional damages, etc.)
It is recommended that the guardian of a child file liability insurance in the event that any harm arises as the child performs their professional dog walking duties.
Aptitude Requirements For Children Walking Dogs
Further to legal rules and regulations is whether a child has the aptitude for dog walking; this is crucial to consider as it is essential that the child wants to become a dog walker can perform their tasks safely and securely.
The most important thing to consider is whether the child who wants to become a dog walker is eager and understands how to correctly care for dogs while on walks.
Should a child be fearful of dogs, not understand how to care for dogs while on walks, or not wish to fulfill an employment position as a dog walker, they must not be coerced into doing so. Doing so is both unlawful and harmful to children.
The second consideration is the physicality of the child. Certain clients may have multiple dogs, large dogs, or energetic dogs that a young child may be difficult to control due to their lack of physical strength.
To ensure a child is paired with a dog that they can safely control during a walk and with whom they can feel comfortable, it is vital that the child meets the dog in advance to build up a trusting relationship.
Once established, it is necessary to make sure the child walks the dog in a safe and enclosed area before taking the dog on a walk (such as in a backyard or a courtyard). This is to ensure the child can safely handle the dog.
The final consideration is to ensure the child is comfortable and safe walking in the neighborhood where they intend to take dogs on walks.
Therefore, a child wanting to be a dog walker must have a sense of direction, not be exposed to hazardous areas, and know how to successfully operate a GPS device or cell phone for direction assistance and to be safely monitored.
What Are The Benefits Of Dog Walking For Children?
While the most immediate and obvious benefit of dog walking is money, children who are dog walkers are seldom paid as much as their adult equivalents. However, the main benefits are often developmental in nature:
- Dog walking as a part-time job fosters a spirit of independence and helps to develop entrepreneurial skills at a young age.
- Dog walking helps children develop empathy and how to take responsibility and care for animals.
- Dog walking is an opportunity for children to engage in activities that improve mental and physical health.
- Dog walking may introduce and inspire children to the idea of working with animals in the future as adults (veterinarians, zoologists, special K9 units, etc.)
- Dog walking is relatively inexpensive to begin. With expenses usually reserved for travel to clients, cell phone data, purchasing reliable running shoes, and purchasing harnesses and leashes.
What Dog Walking Apps Are Suitable For Children?
Many dog walkers like to use dog walking apps on their devices to assist with GPS tracking, payment options, job opportunities, etc. Unfortunately, the most popular dog-walking apps such as Rover, PetBacker, and Wag require the walker to be 18 years and older.
However, the following apps/sites can be used by children between 13 and 18 to find self-employed dog walking opportunities:
While there are many part-time jobs available for adults, options for children are limited. Fortunately, with the correct support network, children can become dog walkers to capitalize on pay from their community and learn valuable life skills.