PDWA Ethics

Ethical Working

"Ethics" is defined as the moral principles that control or influence a person's behaviour.

It is important to consider how our actions may affect others - be it our client, immediate family, business partner / colleague / employee / employer / other businesses in your area / local environment.

Generally, there are some very simple things a self employed dog walker can easily do to enable ethical working:

  • Make decisions based on the best interests and welfare of our clients

  • Do what we say we are going to do as per our marketing and advertising strategy, in accordance with the clients requirements

  • Respect our industry

  • Respect our colleagues

  • Work lawfully and responsibly

  • Be as prepared and as organised as possible, don't cut corners

  • Only take on clients already serviced by another colleague, business or employer after a respectful consultation

  • Only take on clients or offer advice based on your level of experience and expertise

  • Avoid the writing and sharing of negative blogs or social media posts

  • Claim ownership for mistakes and mishaps - we are all only human after all

  • Be the best and kindest we can be

PDWA Ethical Working Practice

Our Best Practice Guidance is a standard term and condition of all membership applications.

Our Ethical Working Practice is an enhancement to our Best Practice and while some points do cover both, we actively encourage our members to also follow the detail to ensure they are working to and within the ethos of our organisation - that is to work with kindness and consideration towards the animals in our care and to all the humans that we come in to contact with along the way:

 Note: Some of the points listed are also documented with in our Best Practice Guidance and are compulsory under our membership terms

Hold an appropriate level of business insurance cover for all services provided, including Public Liability Insurance, Employers Liability insurance employed or volunteer dog walkers are engaged, Professional Indemnity insurance if advisory service are provided.


All staff / volunteers hold valid disclosure certification, first aid certification, must register as a business with HMRC and complete annual self-assessment returns in a timely manner.


Be aware of and up to date with all laws associated with dogs, control and handling, local council legislation, park management rules, outdoor access codes and trading standards.


Obtain appropriate and necessary licences and permits from my local authority.


Obtain permission to walk dogs on land belonging to my local authority, park management groups and / or other landowners and comply with their code of practice / rules / public space protection orders if in place.


Carry out full and appropriate risk assessments for all aspects of business. Note: Risk assessments should be a continuous process of identifying potential hazards, assessing the risk level and taking action to avoid any potential risk for each dog and each walk, in order to cater for each dog’s individual needs for safety, welfare and maximum enjoyment / enrichment, as far as practicable.


Create and implement procedures for potential emergency situations. Note: This should include at a minimum but not limited to illness to myself / staff / dependents; ill dogs; females in season; pregnant dogs, dogs becoming lost, injured or dealing with a dog fight; vehicle breakdown; vehicle traffic accident; inclement weather.


Keep and maintain accurate records. Note: This should include at a minimum but not limited to detailed client file, incident reporting, client reviews, personal staff files (paid or voluntary), staff training, understand and comply with general data protection regulations, book keeping, self-assessment.


Request guidance from my local Police Constabulary on issues of personal security and security of the dogs in my / our care.


Register with a local veterinary practice for emergency care and request guidance on hygiene and avoidance of cross contamination where possible.


Ensure the welfare, health and safety of every dog in my / our care.


Keep all dogs in my / our care under control always.


Have a genuine care, respect and courtesy for all animals, the public, other dog walkers (commercial or owners) and environment.


Ensure all dogs in my / our care wear correctly fitted, collars and / or harnesses.


Ensure all dogs in my / our care are microchipped and wear external identification tags attached to the collar. Note: Business tags to be annotated with business name, address, post code and contact telephone number.


Carry out equipment safety checks prior to each use.


Ensure security of our clients’ premises following all visits, collection and return of dogs.


Ensure all dogs in my / our care are transported in a safe and secure manner. Note: Dogs or other animals should suitably restrained so they cannot cause distractions to the driver or cause injury to the driver, passengers or themselves. Use suitable seat belt harness, pet carrier, dog cage or dog guards.


Keep dogs on a short lead when walking away from and returning to the vehicle.


Keep dogs on a short lead when walking on the pavement, road or other path shared with other users such as cyclists or horse riders. Note: If possible walk the dog on the furthest side away from the road or oncoming others.


Only exercise a maximum of 4 well behaved dogs under voice control, per person at one time in a public area.


Ensure all group walk dogs can be walked together safely, comfortably and under control on the lead.


Ensure that the introduction of dogs to a group walk is carefully managed and monitored. Note: Not all dogs enjoy or adapt positively to a group scenario.


No walking groups of dogs with other members of staff or professional dog walkers with other groups of dogs; meet, greet and move on.


Do not use any form of punishment (voice or physical) or physical force for any dogs in my / our care.


Do not use any form of aversive equipment for any dogs in my / our care. Note: includes the use of check chains, choke, shock or prong collars or any other collar designed to pull or choke or cause pain or discomfort (physical or emotional) to a dog.


Do not use extendable leads for roadside walking.


Carry enough dog waste bags and immediately clean up after dogs in my / our care and dispose of waste properly in line with current legislation.


Carry a dog first aid kit.


Carry out all services for which we are engaged honestly.


Do not falsely advertise any service or credentials.


Only carry out services or provide advice for which I am / we are suitably qualified.


Do not disclose any private, personal or confidential information about my clients without permissions.


Ensure that all business staff / volunteers receive appropriate on going vocational external and / or internal training. Note: This should include at a minimum but not limited to, an adequate level of training in the knowledge of dogs, different breeds, behaviour, exercise care and caution if placing dogs into groups. Personal files should record all training received and these files to be maintained and updated as appropriate.


Ensure that all employees or contractors under my / our management understand and adhere to the PDWA Best Practice Guidance and Ethical Working Practice.


Respect others, maintain my / our own professionalism exercising thought and empathy if posting or commenting on websites, blogs and / or social media.


Respect other local dog walking businesses and I / we will not solicit their clientele.


Do not bring the Professional Dog Walkers Association (PDWA) or the industry into disrepute.