As the weather starts to get warmer, more and more dog owners will be heading further afield whilst out walking their dogs. For many owners, nothing beats a countryside walk with a canine companion, but there are a few things which are worth keeping in mind whilst trekking off the beaten path.
Look Out For Livestock
Remember, whilst walking on footpaths which cross farmland, you may end up in the same field as livestock. It is important in these situations to keep as much space between your dog and the animals as possible, and always keep your dog on its lead.
If you find yourself in a situation where cattle are acting aggressively, which can happen particularly if they are with calves, then it’s often best to let go of your dog to let it run away. Most importantly you should leave the field as quickly as possible for your own safety.
Whenever you are out walking your dog, you should always take the time to clean up after them should they get caught short. Being out in the countryside is no different, you should always clean up after your dog.
Whilst it may seem harmless, dog mess can spread serious infections and diseases to farm animals, wildlife, and other walkers.
If there are no dog bins available, be sure to bag up the mess and take it home with you to dispose of safely.
Remember to Respect The Lead
I recently started a campaign to help remind dog walkers to respect the reasons other dog owners may be keeping their pet on a lead. Whilst your dog may be friendly, please remember that this is not the case for everyone. A lively, excited dog approaching those being kept on a lead can be stressful and dangerous for both dogs and owners alike.
You can read more tips on respecting other dog owners on my Respect The Lead campaign page.
Dogs and Horses
A common site whilst walking cross-country, especially on bridal ways, are horse riders.
You should always keep an eye out for situations where your dog may frighten a horse, as this can be extremely dangerous for the rider and animal alike. If you are walking with your dog off the lead, be sure that you are able to recall them easily, or keep them on a lead if needed. If you need to pass a horse on a path, be sure to put your dog on a lead in plenty of time before passing.
The Countryside Code
If you are planning on taking a countryside walk, it’s a good idea to take a look at The Countryside Code. You can view the latest version of The Countryside Code on the Government website here.
As the code says, the key things to remember are to respect other people, protect the natural environment, and together we can all enjoy the outdoors.