Lessons From My Daughter’s First Job — A Dream, A Dollar and A Dog


Daughter wants a dog
Our daughter really wants a dog. We, her parents, however, do not want to take on this responsibility at this point in our lives. Life is chaotic enough already. However, this does not mean we can’t find creative ways to foster and support our daughter’s interest in and love of animals.

We recently found a great opportunity to do just that. Our neighbors have a dog that doesn’t get taken out on walks very often. So, I asked the couple if we could start walking their dog for them. My girl and I each have a leash and we take the pooch on a walk. It’s a toss up as to who is happier — the dog or my daughter. The dog experiences a smorgasborg of smells and my daughter gets to bond with the animal and pretend for 30-45 minutes that she has her own dog. It’s very sweet.

Dogwalker for hire
Our friends recently approached me to ask me if they could offer my daughter a regular job and pay her $1 every time she walks their dog (about 1x a week). Before I agreed I talked it over with my husband. I wasn’t sure if this was something that our daughter should be getting paid to do. But then I realized that it could offer her some good lessons in learning responsibility and also a sense of pride about doing a job and getting paid for her work (I’m also a big on teaching girls the importance of being paid for their work. This is something I feel that women need to stress to their daughters.)

So, after talking to my husband we agreed it was a great idea. When we mentioned the job offer to our daughter she was beaming. The first thing our girl told her friends the next day at school was “I have a job.” My daughter’s teacher told her she wished she could walk her dog.

Dog poop and responsibility – a lesson learned
Later when my daughter was thinking about her future glory days as a dog walker she said “When I grow up I’m going to be a dog walker and I’m going to hire someone to pick up the poop.”

At this point I told my daughter “Well, you could do that but then you would have to split the money you’ve made with that person. If you pick up the poop yourself you can keep all of the money.”

She thought about that for a moment and I think she realized that it’s worth dealing with a little poop to get the whole dollar.

We haven’t taken the dog out for a walk yet now that she’s his official walker but once we do I’m going to encourage her to learn how to clean up after the dog. Up until this point I’ve been her pooper scooper. But now that she’s getting paid for this work she needs to do the whole job. If she’s not up to that then yours truly will be pocketing 50 cents per walk.

Perhaps other readers think this is too rigid? Or that I should help my daughter out by cleaning up the poop. I for one don’t think there’s any lesson offered to my daughter if I do the job for her.

One of my coworkers told me “well, it’s good for her to understand that sometimes you have to get a little dirty to get a job done.” I also think she’s up to doing the whole job and that she will enjoy reaping all of the rewards.

Others thoughts?


7 Responses to “Lessons From My Daughter’s First Job — A Dream, A Dollar and A Dog”

  1. alex Says:

    Gotta love a post with a section entitled “Dog poop and responsibility – a lesson learned” Great post!

  2. Carnival of Personal Finance » Carnival of Personal Finance #107 Says:

    […] Finance Psychology: Lessons From My Daughter’s First Job – A Dream, A Dollar and A Dog […]

  3. triple-e Says:

    I have far more respect (and your daughter should have more self-respect) for parents that let their kids do the whole job. I have seen everything from paper routes to girl/boy scout sales being done by parents. Kids learn nothing, other than their parents will bail them out whenever they don’t feel like doing something.

  4. Carnivals this week | journey2retirement.com Blog Says:

    […] Lessons From My Daughter?s First Job ? A Dream, A Dollar and A Dog – Cute story. I’ll keep this in mind when my son starts asking for a dog. […]

  5. Efrain Says:

    I was about to comment $0.75 go to your daughter and a quarter to you, but triple-e has a Great Point (the last sentence). I say just teach your daughter how to complete the whole job. Or maybe take a quarter or two until she learns to do it on her own. Then she’ll realize that learning to do something on her own can reap higher rewards when she gets the full dollar to herself.

  6. emma Says:

    Loved the whole post! And think a 50% deduction for poop handling is entirely justified. A quarter’s fine too, but I’d be thinking the aim is to provide an incentive to do the work and earn as much as possible…

  7. David Says:

    I think this is a great opportunity to teach your daughter about owning and operating a business which is the key to success in our capitalistic society. However, I think it is insulting to professional dog walkers for you to under cut their rates so drastically. Dog walkers usually charge as little as $10.00 for a 30min walk up to $60.00/hour or more, depending on their local economy, additional services and expenses.
    We provide a valuable service for our clients who work hard all day and don’t always have the time and energy to properly exercise their pets. We also carry insurance or bonding that protect us if we happen to be attacked by another dog while walking our client’s animal. These are all things your daughter needs to learn about running her business.
    For you to undercut the market so drastically devalues the whole dog walking market and if she decides to stick with dog walking professionally she will be affecting her own bottom line. Not to mention, charging so little enhances the misunderstanding that dog walking is an unimportant or worthless service that requires little skill.
    When she starts making enough money to hire other people to walk dogs for her (paying them slightly less than she charges and keeping the profit to grow the business) she will be well on the road to building her first business empire. Don’t ruin this lesson for her by subsidizing it with money or free labor or you will be setting her up for big disappointments in life when she realizes that she will have to deal with these problems on her own.
    I highly recommend reading some books about starting a business. “Rich Dad, Poor Dad,” by Robert T Kiyosaki, is a wonderful short book that clearly illustrates the different attitudes between a “worker” or “employee” and an “owner” or “investor.”
    Good luck and never sell yourself short, your daughter provides a valuable service and should be paid appropriately.

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