Explained: Dog Walking Qualifications and Licensing

January 5, 2016

Last updated: June 28, 2022

Dog walking can make for a more than viable business – provided you have the time, inclination, and love of dogs, of course.

If you’re thinking about starting a dog walking business you might already have wondered about the need for any kind of certification, qualification, or licensing – none of which is strictly necessary, but all likely to prove more than useful, depending on your location and clients.

About Us

We’re one of the leading providers of insurance for pet businesses – including dog walking insurance and its related services. So, if you are walking dogs, pet sitting, grooming, boarding, or taxiing pets, rest confident in the reliable cover we provide against your public liabilities, care, custody and control safeguards, and protection of the equipment used in your pet-based business.

Your dog walking business – principles

You’ll soon discover that many owners think of their pets practically as their children. So, they’ll want to know that the person they are leaving them with is responsible and trustworthy. Having a relevant qualification of one kind or another might help to reassure those anxious owners that you know exactly what you’re doing.

If you’re looking for the most appropriate way of documenting that qualification, you’ll find that there’s a wide range from which to choose – from academic degree courses to certificates in animal care or even pet psychology. Any of these might bolster your standing and status as someone who knows – and cares – about pets.

Your dog walking business – certification

One of the most popular and widely used certificates for would-be dog walkers is issued by Think Dog! The course focuses on dog behaviour and training. 

An alternative provider of courses suitable for anyone looking to set up a dog walking business is Compass.  The organisation runs the College of Canine Studies and offers an especially wide range of courses on animal behaviour, welfare, care, and husbandry.

Your dog walking business – licensing

Before embarking on any course of instruction, it is worth checking whether the certificate or qualification issued upon its completion is recognised by the qualifications regulator Ofqual and meets the Animal Activity Licensing Regulations administered by the Department for Environment, Food, and Rural Affairs (DEFRA).

Clearly, it will be critical that your business complies with these and any other local licensing regulations. Keeping abreast of regulatory changes will be important whether you are new to the business or have been a dog walker for a long time.

Your dog walking business – insurance

Licensing requirements may also have a bearing on your need for the type of dog walking insurance in which we specialise here at Protectivity. Regulations enforced by the Royal Parks, for example, stipulate that the grounds may be used only by licensed professional dog walkers. This is part of the Parks’ efforts to ensure that all users and visitors maintain a high standard and have the correct insurance cover for themselves, the dogs, and the public.

But it is not only for access to the Royal Parks. For your own peace of mind, the protection of your business, and to bolster your standing as a professional pet business owner maintaining the appropriate level of insurance is critical.


Certification, qualification, licensing, and insurance – none of these may be absolutely essential if you are looking to start a dog walking business. But without them, you may be struggling to run your pet business safely, efficiently, and successfully.

So that you keep up to date with developments likely to impact your business, you might want to keep in touch with some of the associations that bring together people offering dog walking services.

Organisations such as these help to ensure that the standards of dog walking are kept high and professional. Joining an association such as the Association of Professional Dog Walkers (APDW) helps to establish you as a professional in your field and reassure your customers that you take responsibility in your role.

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