A thorough agreement should be in place for the best interests of both the client and the dog walker.

An agreement should define the scope of rights and obligations for all involved parties; having clearly written documentation in place will help protect both the dog walker, their employees and of course, the clients.

As a professional, if you use the PDWA templates, you might be familiar with the Terms & Conditions of Engagement element and that it is set out into 15 sections; that there are areas within those sections that you should include your own working processes and policies.

We do not have a “one size fits all document” because we understand that we all need to run our businesses the best we can on an individual level and that we all work differently.

We would recommend that you review your paperwork periodically and understand what is written within your terms to ensure that you are working within your scope, obligation and the current law.

And also of course, that your clients are getting the best possible service you can provide, they understand their obligation and know what to expect from you.

Such areas to consider may include, but not limited to, the following:

Be clear about:

Your days of work

Your opening hours

Annual leave – how much you take and if you arrange cover

Sickness – if you arrange cover

Emergency cancellation by you (and refund terms if you are paid in advance)

Payment terms

Methods of payment you accept

Booking process and fees (e.g. start / end dates if known, set weekly days or ad hoc; minimum number of bookings a week etc)

Cancellation by your client and any fees this may incur

Termination of contract process and fees this may incur

Your key care / return policy

Your qualifications, professional memberships and any other certification you may hold

Any laws, licence, Public Space Protection Orders (PSPOs) or best practice requirements that may be in situ, or within your local area or if you are part of a formal organisation

How you work (e.g. individual or group walks or both)

How you manage your group walks

How you introduce new dogs to each other

Your policy for walking neutered / unspayed dogs·

Your policy for walking pregnant females / females in season (check with your insurer to validate your cover on this)

Your policy for walking poorly animals or dogs with health issues (manageable or palliative)

Your policy for walking reactive dogs

Your policy for walking unvaccinated dogs

Your hygiene policy for dealing with possible cross contamination (yourself, vehicle, third parties)

On / off lead walking – obtain appropriate permission

Inclement / adverse weather walking policy

Your security policy (client’s home and dog)

Provide a statement detailing the service you provide and what is / not included within the cost

Data Protection policy

Complaints policy

Do feel free to get in touch if you would like any further information on this topic, whether a dog walker or a client.

Thank you for reading.