SHOULD dog walking services be licensed?

It seems that dog walking services are a growing business sector - possibly because they offer a welcome opportunity for people to work for themselves, and also because they offer a low-cost set-up with no qualification or licensing requirements.

This opportunity can be viewed as a good thing but, because dog walkers and their charges will necessarily come into contact with other members of the public and their animals, it is important for dog walking services to take steps to ensure that any such contact is good for both sides.

Unfortunately, this is not always the case.

Recently, four off-the-leash dogs appeared from a blind entrance to a field and made a beeline for my two smaller dogs. 

We had encountered one or two of these before, again off the leash and running up to my dogs, but they had proved to be friendly. 

However, on this occasion, all four dogs ran up to my dogs and one of them, a German Shepherd, attacked one of my dogs. 

Being pack animals, this could have started all four joining in the attack but, fortunately, perhaps miraculously, I managed to pull the German Shepherd away and there were no visible injuries. 

All four were large (German Shepherd, Dalmatian, greyhound and Labrador-type cross). A fifth dog, a Husky type, was held on a leash by the dog walker’s companion.

One of the dogs, the Dalmatian, then followed us for some 50 yards before eventually responding to the dog walker’s calls.

Clearly, the dog walker did not have these dogs under control and this is potentially a serious threat to others. 

As such, and in order to prevent similar situations occurring in future, it would seem that dog walking services should be licensed and subject to a code of conduct that is in both their and others’ interests. 

Any continued failure to observe the code of conduct should result in the licence being rescinded.