Almost exactly a year ago I kicked off this blog, and the business of Developing Dogs, with a post about dog poo, and now I’m at it again with the launch of the Responsible Dog Walker campaign in Ely, Littleport and surrounding villages. Along with the lovely people from Jurassic Bark we are trying to support the local council in tackling the problem of dog poo in our local parks and footpaths, and also to raise awareness of some of the things you might want to consider when walking your dog.
Walking your dog should be an opportunity to have fun, relax and enjoy the time together, but there are a few things we should all be aware of while out and about with our dogs:
- All dogs in a public place must wear a visible ID attached to a collar with details of the owner’s name and address. It is not legally necessary, but can help reunite lost dogs more quickly, to include a phone number on the tag too.
- From April 2016 all dogs must also be microchipped with owner’s details. Remember to keep your details up to date if you move. Free microchipping is available from some local veterinary surgeries.
- Always carry, and use, poo bags to pick up after your dog. Dispose of the bags in appropriate bins, and do not leave them on the ground or hanging from trees. There are multiple reasons to pick up after your dog, not least because it keeps the environment safe and clear for other walkers.
- Never leave your dog unattended outside a shop or in your car. Dogs are increasingly the target for thieves who sell them on, use them for dog fighting or breeding, or demand a ransom for their return. Dogs left unattended can also be subject to abuse or unintentional unwanted attention which leaves them scared and potentially aggressive. Dogs die in hot cars and leaving a window open does not help keep them cool.
- Respect other people and dog walkers on your walks. Do not allow your dog out of your sight or to run up to other dogs, people or animals uninvited. Your dog may be friendly, but others may not welcome their attention. Dogs on lead may be in training or rehabilitation, ill, elderly, or simply prefer not to interact with other dogs; please respect their space and needs. Some owners use yellow ribbons attached to their dog’s lead to signal that they need space – keep an eye out for them and allow them to keep their distance.
- Teach your dog how to walk nicely on lead, and a reliable recall for when they are off lead. If they are still learning to how to walk with a loose lead then use a harness or head collar to manage them when necessary. If you are not sure of their recall around distractions then use a harness with a long line attached so they can still have some opportunity to run but you have control if you need it. Ask an APDT, UK-accredited trainer for help teaching loose lead walking or reliable recalls using rewards and fun not fear or pain.
- If using a long line or flexi lead it should be attached to a back-connecting harness. If your dog runs to the end of the lead at speed they may be seriously injured if it is attached to their collar. Similarly, never use a long line or flexi-lead along a roadside – they can easily allow your dog to run in to the middle of the road if something attracts their attention. Dogs must be on lead alongside roads or on pavements.
- Wherever you are walking, be aware of your local environment. Dogs can cause considerable damage to crops, nesting wildlife or livestock, as well as being a nuisance to other path or park users. If in doubt, keep them on lead until it is safe to let them off or find an alternative place to walk so that everyone has a positive experience and enjoys their walks.
For your free monthly supply of poo bags visit Jurassic Bark at Littleport and sign up as a Responsible Dog Walker to get your free monthly supply of poo bags and be in with a chance of winning exclusive use of the 8 acre secure field here at Developing Dogs.
For help with loose lead walking, reliable recalls or any other aspects of living with or walking your dog, take a look at our classes and workshops here at Developing Dogs.