This post was written by TDWA founding member, Yvette at Tail Blazers. Tail Blazers serves King & Queen West and Liberty Village.
We get a lot of inquiries from dog walkers asking how they can get listed on the Toronto Dog Walkers Association website. The thing is, we are not just an online directory of businesses, we are an association, so you don’t simply ‘sign up’ – you become a member of the team. We’re not just holding the dog walkers in this city to a higher standard, we’re also having regular meetings, planning community events, raising funds for charity, and educating the public on responsible dog ownership and safety. We brainstorm, plan and execute these things together, and we’re darn proud of how our association is evolving and expanding.
So how do you join our team?
First, ask yourself the following questions:
- Have I been a dog walker for at least 2 years?
- Have I read through the TDWA website, including the Code of Conduct, to ensure that my business practices and ideologies align with those of the TDWA?
- Do I use exclusively force-free methods of dog handling?
- Am I well educated and experienced in all things Dog?
- Am I one of the best dog walkers in Toronto?
If you answered yes to all of those questions, read on!
If you have read through our website (and we know you have, as per Question No. 2!), you are already aware of our mission to maintain a network of like-minded dog walkers who operate under a strict code of conduct and ethics. We aim to keep the business of professional dog walking as it should be: focused on force-free care and safety, continuing education, and respect for the community.
Membership is free and is extended to you when you are nominated by an existing TDWA member, and subsequently approved by the Board of Directors.
How do you get nominated?
If you know an existing TDWA member, ask them for a nomination to be put forward on your behalf at the next Board of Directors meeting.
If you do not have a contact, you may provide us with your business information (website, Facebook page, Twitter, Yelp listing, Google + page, relevant credentials, letters of recommendation from pet care professionals, etc.) and we will begin researching your business to determine whether or not you qualify. This process may take weeks or even months. You may be asked to complete a questionnaire assessment and also provide dates on which you may be shadowed and/or interviewed by a member of the Board. Inquiries should be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Here is a short list of what we look for in a new member, including employees, if applicable. Failure to meet any of these requirements may result in the rejection of a new nominee by the Board of Directors.
- a business history free of any negligence and/or complaints from pet owners, community members, or other pet care professionals
- demonstration of an interest in ongoing education
- practice of exclusively force-free dog handling methods
- professionalism in dealing with clients and the public
- respect for public spaces and bylaws
- an excellent reputation within the pet care community
- professional online presence
In short, you must embody everything that makes a dog walker a true professional, and act as an ambassador for our profession.
Our requirements for membership may seem strict, but this is the only way to maintain an
association that is trustworthy, reputable and credible.
Are you new to the industry and just starting up a dog walking business? We haven’t forgotten about you! The TDWA is in the process of developing a Mentorship program to help you to become the best dog walker you can be, and hopefully a future TDWA member!
Thank you for your interest in joining the TDWA, and we hope to see you in the parks!