Responsible behaviour by the public
As a commercial dog walker, you must follow the guidance in the Scottish Outdoor Access Code and keep your dog(s) under proper control at all times.
It can be very positive for your business to be accredited to a professional scheme, particularly if it's one that also takes account of animal welfare issues. Most schemes offer free promotion on their websites, which can give you advantage over other dog walking companies. East Lothian Council have a scheme called Dog Watch which would be good to join if you live there. If there is no scheme for your area, you could contact your local authority dog warden or access officer to consider setting one up. The Kennel Club is running a pilot accreditation scheme during 2015 that will cover the whole of Scotland.
Commercial dog walkers, as professionals in their field, should also be prepared to set an example of responsible dog walking and promote this to other dog walkers of all ages. One way of doing this would be to become a member of the Green Dog Walkers scheme and take the pledge to always clean up after your dogs. Members of the scheme also carry additional dog waste bags so that they can offer a spare if someone else has forgotten theirs. The Green Dog Walkers scheme includes some top tips for promoting responsible behaviour.
Increasingly you should be aware of Park Management Rules in some towns and cities, which might require you to register to use parks. These rules have been introduced because of the number of people who use the parks, to help manage these places for the benefit of all concerned.
The key things are:
- Know your rights and responsibilities under the Scottish Outdoor Access Code
- Look after the welfare of the animals you care for
- Consider joining a professional accreditation scheme.
Responsible behaviour by land managers
The Code does not contain any specific advice for land managers about commercial dog walking. Guidance on managing any access issues linked to dog walking (and commercial dog walking) can be found here. If you are encountering problems of this type, you could also discuss this with your local authority (or National Park Authority) access officer.
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