With Jaki the Siberian husky, Mía the schnauzer by his side, Guðmundur Ingi Halldórsson turns heads as he strolls through downtown. But there’s more to his strut than meets the eye. With each step, a few more krónur find their way into his bank account. Guðmundur is not just any ordinary pedestrian. He’s a dog walker.
Guðmundur Ingi Halldórsson, 34, a waiter
Waiting tables at Jómfrúin is my main source of income. But I’m also the founder of Guðmhundarganga (@gudmhundarganga on Instagram), a dog walking business. My plan is to make this a full time job, even though I’ve just started doing it this month.
I got started when I quit my job as a kindergarten teacher and I had to find something that kept me active. Two years ago, I was diagnosed with ADHD and various other things. A huge part of living with ADHD is exercise. When I look back at my childhood, I always felt best when I was outside, walking dogs. So why not do it when I’m grown up as well? It’s the best kind of company!
The dog walking business is a huge thing on the mainland of Europe and in America. It’s not a thing here in Iceland. I wanted to pave the way for this type of a job and do it well. Plus, have an impact on the dog culture, regulations and the society of dog owners, especially with just getting around with a dog, getting to stop somewhere and have a drink or for some food and being able to take my whole family with me. I have a daughter, a dog and three cats.
Dogs with diverse desires
Different types of dogs have different sensories. They’re made for different types of actions. For example, this is a working dog (points at Jaki). He can run forever. This one (Mía) is all in the nose. When I take her for a walk alone, she just runs around for 20 minutes fulfilling her need to smell.
I have to be able to know the needs of each dog. That’s why I do this very formally. I don’t know anyone that does it as formal as I do. I take dog walking very seriously. Plus, I’m entering people’s homes. I always tell people that I have no criminal record. Our first meeting is always free. I get to know the owner and the dog in a safe environment where they feel good. Then I pull out a contract, we fill that out and make plans for how we will continue working together.
I don’t have the least favourite thing about dog walking right now. I suppose it’s the computer work. Everything else is awesome. I love working with dogs and I love to see progress.
Sniffing for customers
I advertise on social media. You can buy half an hour or an hour of just single walks or get a monthly pass. I’ve got one customer that has already bought a pass for two months. I’m going to walk her dogs for two months, every weekday. I don’t work on the weekends, except for at the restaurant.
My advice for anyone who wants to be a dog walker is to be formal and study YouTube. YouTube is awesome. If you’re looking for a job to exercise, I highly recommend this. I’m walking at least three hours a day. Dogs are the best kind of people.
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