Short course lecturer Kate Middleton has become one of the first people in the UK to complete the Ofqual regulated Level 4 Canine Emergency First Aid.
The qualification is administered by iPET Network Ltd and is a combination of theory and practical assessment, covering emergency first aid, transport, legislation and essential administration for a work environment.
Kate has been delivering short courses at Writtle University College for more than five years.
She said: "When I started out there were no courses available for dog walkers, so being a former HE lecture in Animal Science I approached Writtle about writing and delivering a programme for Short Courses about how to start a dog walking business."
"In this course, I included everything I think a dog walker/pet sitter would need to know from market research, legislation, keeping accounts, marketing, creating terms and conditions and key procedures through to how to schedule your day, introduce dogs and manage a group of dogs on a walk."
The awarding body then released the first Ofqual regulated courses; City & Guilds and Certificate of Technical Competence Certificates in Dog Walking and Pet Sitting at Level 2. These were recognised as necessary training in the Professional Dog Walkers Guidelines produced by the PIF, Dogs Trust and RSPCA.
Kate said: "As someone who is passionate about training for dog walkers and would like to see it become a regulated industry where dog walkers have to be licensed, I was thrilled to be able to teach these courses as well - which complement the 'How to Start Your Dog Walking Business' course brilliantly."
"Most students complete both the City & Guilds Dog Walking Certificate and the 'How to Start a Business' course."
For the last 18 months, Kate has been working as a course leader for the online course provider The Dog Business School for the Level 2 and 3 Ofqual regulated Canine, Care, Behaviour and Welfare courses.
"I wrote the course content for these and created more courses in legislation around the licensed activities of home boarding and dog day care and canine first aid," she said.
"As my Masters degree was in Animal Behaviour I began to specialise in canine behaviour in the context of dog walking, home boarding and day care situations, so this year created a canine behaviour course for those professions."
"This course is a more in depth look at canine behaviour, understanding canine emotions such as stress and aggression, how to assess dogs, introduce them and manage walks and play. So it again compliments the City & Guilds and the 'Start Your Own Business' course and allows students who want to learn more about canine behaviour to deepen their knowledge and understanding."
Kate was then asked to take on the Canine First Aid course at Writtle. She undertook six months of training in Canine First Aid both online and face to face courses, culminating in the Level 4 qualification.
Kate said: "I feel that this is the perfect 'cherry on top' of the suite of courses we offer. Students can come and learn how to set up their business, how to administer first aid, how to manage behaviour and get an ofqual regulated Level 2 qualification all in the same place."
"Many students have taken all the courses and want more. They have also made connections and alliances with other dog walkers/pet sitters and have some support in place for what can be an isolated job."
"I'm very proud that we offer this suite of courses and are sending well qualified and informed students into the world of dog walking - creating better welfare for the dogs."