The new compulsory course for dog owners and how much it costs

The new compulsory course for dog owners and how much it costs

One of the most talked about parts of Spain's new Animal Welfare Law is that dog owners will be required to complete a mandatory course. The overarching aim of the new legislation is to safeguard the welfare of animals and pets, and it comes into effect in just a few weeks on September 29th, following its publication in the Official State Gazette (BOE) six months ago.

A focal point of this legislation, which has been widely discussed and that you have been contacting us about, is the requirement for dog owners to complete a compulsory training course. Article 30 of the law states, "People who choose to become dog owners must demonstrate the completion of a training course for dog ownership, which will have indefinite validity."

The positive aspect of this requirement is that the course will be offered at no cost and can be conveniently completed online. Importantly, it applies to both prospective dog owners looking to adopt a dog and those who are already canine companions. The primary objective of the course is to impart fundamental knowledge in the areas of animal handling, care, and responsible pet ownership.

Although specific course details are yet to be unveiled, Sergio García Torres, the General Director of Animal Rights in Spain, shed some light on what to expect. He explained, "We are talking about a short training course very similar to courses that food handlers take to work in restaurants. It’s a free course that is done online and is relatively easy."

In addition to the training course, dog owners will also need to take out civil liability insurance to protect third parties. Furthermore, they must commit not to leave their dogs alone for more than 24 hours or confined on a balcony, terrace, or patio.

The Royal Canine Society has disclosed that the training program will encompass three key components: one focused on animal care, another on animal welfare, and a third on animal legislation. Once successfully completed, the certification will have indefinite validity.

Existing dog owners have a two-year grace period until September 29th, 2025, to fulfil this requirement, while future dog owners must complete the course before acquiring a dog. Failure to comply with this regulation could result in fines ranging from 500 to 10,000 euros.

Notably, owners of working dogs, including guide dogs, are exempt from the mandatory training course, recognizing the specialized nature of their responsibilities and training requirements.