There is definitely an art (or, perhaps, a science) to dog walking. There are so many different factors involved when we, as dog walkers, are out on the street with a dog for its half hour walk. We have to make sure the dog doesn't eat anything off the street. We have to make sure the dog doesn't do its business where there are signs posted to not let the dog do its business. We have to make sure the dog doesn't do its business in the tiny plot of land in front of the apartment building where the gentleman will come out and yell at us for letting our dog do its business there. Some dogs are leash aggressive and we have to make sure that it doesn't get too close to another dog. Some dogs don't like men (or women) (or children) and so we have to make sure to keep the dog away from anything it might try to attack.....I could go on and on.
For these reasons (and many more), dog walkers need to be extremely focused at the task at hand. Remember, this *is* a job. We are responsible for the well being of another creature that is extremely beloved by its owners - and by us. Each dog is different. And each dog comes with a set of instructions/warnings from its owner. Now, I may deal with this more than other dog walkers because I am known for dealing very well with problematic dogs. I own one myself and have walked MANY "issue dogs" over the years. So I get recommended to people who have dogs that need special care and attention.
Therefore, I don't necessarily look "happy" or "approachable" while I'm dog walking. This has been ingrained in me after years of first walking dogs for dog walking companies/doggie day cares. Every single owner of these companies has asked me to, in their own words, put my "don't mess with me" face on. This is to ensure that no one comes up to me and asks me if they can pet my dog. These companies are terrified of a dog biting someone and then getting sued by that person. In fact, when I first moved here to NYC, I had a woman who owned her own dog walking company tell me that con artists actually go around New York getting in dog's faces, TRYING to get bitten, so that they can sue. (Or extort money - something else with which I have personal experience.)
Now that I have my own company, I try to find a balance. I don't want to look like I'm angry or unapproachable. If someone needs a dog walker, I'd like for them to be able to come up to me and ask me for my card. However, if someone asks me if they can pet my dog, I try to very kindly and politely explain to them that the dog is not mine, and I have no way of knowing how the dog may react and so, for legal reasons, I am unable to let them.
We've got to find a way of protecting ourselves, yet be happy and enjoy the fact that we have one of the best jobs in the world: being outside spending time with fun, lovable, loving dogs!!