Commercial Dog Walking
Commercial Dog Walkers are now encouraged to become a member of our Trusted Trader Scheme
COVID-19. For advice on animal care and what is permitted during restrictions on movement, please see Scottish Government Guidance on COVID-19 and Companion Animals.
Commercial Dog Walkers (CDWs) have a wonderful opportunity to be positive advocates for responsible dog ownership as they have an increased level of engagement with dog owners and the general public. Unfortunately, income generation will sometimes encourage CDWs to increase the number of dogs that they walk at any one time. This increases the risk of them not being fully in control and the potential for an incident to occur. CDW's are still till legally obliged to keep all dogs under their care under full control at all times in accordance with the Control of Dogs (Scotland) Act 2010, just as their owners are.
Commercial dog walking is a topic of great debate currently due to the increasing number of individuals undertaking such activities. There are no specific legal controls to regulate CDWs, so many local authorities and organisations encourage improvement of these businesses by using voluntary schemes or initiatives to promote responsible dog walking. CDWs that become involved in these will be seen as being 'trusted businesses' and will hopefully gain more business promoting responsible ownership and walking. The success of local schemes has prompted The Kennel Club to begin developing a new Code of Practice for Commercial Dog Walkers which it is hoping will be used nationally. There are already guidelines and standards that are nationally known such as Lantra's National Occupational Standards for Commercial Dog Walking.
What is West Lothian Council doing?
We have developed standards for West Lothian, based on these national guidelines and other successful schemes throughout the UK. In order to give dog owners confidence and promote and encourage responsible CDWs, we are working with Trading Standards colleagues to allow CDW businesses to join the Trusted Trader Scheme. This will allow further endorsement for their businesses whilst they conform to the set of standard practices established for those operating in West Lothian. The standards can be found here.