As a dog walker, taking out several of your canine clients at one time is a great way to maximise income. However, there is often confusion as to how many dogs walkers can walk at one time.
The answer to this quandary is not a straightforward one. This is because the limit is not set by central government or any one body. Instead, the Control of Dogs Act 2010, allows local authorities to set their own restrictions and maximum number.
Some council areas will have no set limit, while others will see a complete ban on dogs. This is true on some beaches in Devon, Essex and Lincolnshire in the summer months.
What is becoming more common is local councils lowering the number of dogs permitted to be walked at any one time.
Gosport Borough Council were one of the earlier authorities to take advantage the remit of Public Space Protection Orders when announcing that the maximum number of dogs one person could walk would be lowered from six to four in March 2017.
Other councils have since followed, with consultations regularly being announced. Wandsworth in London sees the council limit the number of dogs that can be walked to four. However, there is the possibility to apply for a licence to walk up to eight dogs in specified areas of the borough.
When some councils announced a consultation on the subject, a furore followed. For example, Blackpool Council faced stiff opposition this year when they announced plans to reduce the number to four dogs. While other restrictions made it through, the limit remained at six dogs at a time.
The drive to restrict the number of dogs any owner can walk at a time is not something that the Kennel Club sees as viable. The organisation has previously released a statement arguing the setting of an arbitrary number:
“The maximum number of dogs a person can walk in a controlled manner depends on a number of factors relating to the dog walker, the dogs being walked, whether leads are used and the location the walking is taking place,” a statement read.
People must use their own initiative to make a judgement for themselves the press release implied. By assessing the risks of walking a larger number of dogs, walkers, both professional and non, can best judge how many dogs they should walk at one time.
Local rules are there to be followed, with fines of over £100 in operation for anyone walking more than the maximum number of dogs. However, the limit to the number of dogs set by your council, and the number of dogs covered by a professional’s Dog Walking Insurance can vary.
At Protectivity, we cover dog walkers for up to six dogs at any one time. Therefore, if no local authority restrictions are in place, this is the limit you should stick to. However, if the local council says no more than four, this is the figure to adhere to.
There can often be confusion when it comes to walking your own dogs and Dog Walking Insurance. Our policy is designed to cover dogs not owned by you, however if you take your own canines out with your clients’ dogs, they count towards your six-dog maximum.
For example, if you walk two of your own dogs with four client-owned dogs, this is fine, however only the latter four would be covered by your insurance policy.
It’s important to remember that your own dogs wouldn’t be covered by the insurance policy should they get injured or cause injury to another dog, but they could send you over the limit of six dogs at a time, rendering your insurance cover invalid in the event of a claim.
The subject can be a confusing one for dog walkers, but our advice is always to check with your local council. If a PSPO is in place limiting the number of dogs you can walk, stick to that. Otherwise we advise you to walk no more than six dogs at any one time.