Published: 06 June 2016
Molly trained in Canine First Aid with First Aid for Dogs. Here we find out a little more about her.
Name: Molly Belcher - Walkies with Molly
What do you do: Dog walker and pet feeding
How long have you been a dog walker? I started my business in July 2016 but did it voluntarily for a year before that.
Have you always been an dog walker? I worked in local government for 12 years as a Training Officer. Deep down I knew I wanted to work with dogs but didn't know in what area. Over a year ago I decided to drop my working hours to 4 days a week and on my day off I volunteer in a doggy day care centre. I then signed up to Borrow My Doggy and walked dogs for free. The light bulb switched on that this is what I want to do full time!
Why did you feel learning dog first aid was important? As I'm responsible for the client's dog whilst I'm walking it, I wanted to be confident that I'd know what to do in an emergency.
What's the one piece of information that has really stuck in your head from the course?: The course made me realise that in an emergency I may have to get an injured dog back to my van and quickly. It's made me think about my walking routes and not walking too far from my van.
What’s your favourite part of your job? Being outdoors, caring for dogs that would otherwise be home alone and working with a range of breeds.
How do you keep your skills up to date? Do you have any favourite websites that you use? I'm currently studying Dog Behaviour at college and undertaking a professional dog walker certificate. This widens my knowledge. I also regularly check Careers with Dogs pages on Facebook.
What qualities do you think are important in a dog walker? You need to be confident in dealing with all breeds and know how to diffuse an aggressive situation or, better still, not let it happen in the first place by recognising dog behaviour and signals. Knowing dog law and where best to walk dogs is vital.
Have you learnt anything surprising about dogs from working with them? They adapt to you as the handler very quickly.
What’s your top tip for caring for dogs? You need to be patient with dogs. Like humans, a new situation can be daunting and scary. Don't push them to do anything that they clearly aren't happy with. Gentle encouragement will go along way if you're calm and patient.
Have you had an amusing experiences in your work as as dog walker? I walk a small Chihuahua cross who thinks he's tall enough to jump in my van... I have to catch him quick so he doesn't land on his back again!
Which dog would you most like to walk or which famous person’s dog would you most like to walk? I'd love to walk a pack of Huskies or, rather, be pulled on a buggy across the Downs!
Thank you Molly we wish you all the best with your dog walking business.