Spring is the most enjoyable season for walks with Ember, I love being outside when the weather is warmer (hopefully soon, please). However, it is also the worst season and can become uncomfortable for dogs, owners and wildlife alike. Spring synergy with dogs and wildlife isn’t something which comes easy, but I’m fed up of being tarnished with the same brush as other, irresponsible dog owners.
Sarah from Twilight Bark wrote a post recently and her experience really resonated with me and inspired me to write this little post. Go check out her open letter to dog owners here.
I don’t enjoy seeing oblivious owners turning a blind eye when their seemingly out of control dogs bound up to me whilst on a walk, let alone when they are endangering wildlife in their own home. If a sign is telling me my dog is to be on a lead, my dog will be on a lead and part of me is shocked when I realise so many people don’t follow these. Unfortunately though, another part of me isn’t really surprised. I have seen so many dogs off lead, who the owner claims are under control, chase sheep, bark at passing horses or have scary standoffs with cows.
If I had a pound for every time we have been told to let Ember off the lead, I would be a millionaire. But no matter how much we trust her, I don’t want to put her or any other animal in danger and I would rather enjoy a walk than worry about any unfortunate events happening.
We have so many opportunities to have great adventures outdoors in the UK, but due to the actions of a selfish few, there are so many restrictions now being put into place. This means responsible dog owners are missing out on great walks.
Below are some tips for all us dog owners to ensure everyone is kept safe on dog walks, as well as some helpful quotes from the Countryside Code.
☆ Remove attractions from your hope and garden. Look for anything that may attract any uninvited visitors may conflict with your dog. Attractants include fallen bird seed, called fruits or berries or even forgotten treats.
☆ Remember it is their home. When walking your dog anywhere near wildlife, consider that is their home and treat it with respect. I wonder how they would feel to have a dog sniffing around their house.
☆ Leash up. Anywhere there is nature, or the opportunity to chase wildlife, keep your dog on a lead to prevent any discomfort for either animal. If you do have your dog off lead, make sure you have a strong recall trained and your dog is under control at all times.
The Countryside Code states;
– Keep your dog on a lead around sheep
– Dogs must not chase wildlife, if they have a strong chase instinct, keep them on a lead
– Follow and respect any official signs, as dogs may not be allowed on some areas of land, or they may have to be kept on a lead
– Keep your dog under control so it does not scare or disturb farm animals or wildlife
– Keep your dog on a lead if you can’t rely on their obedience
– Look out for horse riders, cyclists or joggers, they may startle your dog, or your dog may startle them
– If you find yourself in a field with wary livestock, move away calmly and don’t manic and make no sudden movements.
– If you encounter any fields with livestock, try to find an alternative route and avoid crossing the field
– Take particular care that your dog doesn’t scare sheep or lambs, or wander where they may disturb nesting birds
– Clean up after your dog and dispose of it responsibly, to prevent it causing infections
I’d love to know what you think! Have you ever been victimised for being the responsible one?