Spring is just about upon us, and, as the weather improves and the daylight stretches further into the evenings, those of us with dogs will be getting out more.
Take Special Care
The change in seasons means that farmers will be releasing livestock back into the fields, and, with lots of baby animals around, all dog owners will need to take extra special care when walking in the countryside.
To this end, remember these eight essential elements of the Countryside Code when out with your dogs:
- Respect and be considerate to everyone means putting your dog back on a lead when you see another dog. This method is the safest one when approaching and passing dogs. Do this when you see an approaching owner putting their dog on a lead. They might be trying to tell you something about how their dog feels about meeting other dogs.
- Leave gates as you find them means making sure you close them behind you if necessary.
- Not blocking access to any gateways or paths means when parking the car, have a good look around before walking away. Is it blocking access or occupying a layby or turning area? Is there room not just for a car to get past, but a farm tractor with attachments?
- Keeping to marked paths means not allowing your dog to run through young crops. Too often, dogs are allowed to exercise across “grass” that is actually a crop the farmer has recently planted. Once crushed underfoot (paw), the plants will never be as productive as they could have been if left untouched.
- Always keeping dogs under control means having the dog on a lead or long line unless you are 100% sure you can recall your dog away from livestock and wildlife.
- Always keep your dog in sight means a out-of-sight dog may pick up the scent of something without you being aware. The smell of something like a fox can have a potent effect on practically any dog. They will be off before you know what is happening. Just because there is no livestock around does not mean there is nothing to pursue.
- Check your route means being aware of the areas your walk will take you through. Farmyards with untethered or even tied-up sheepdogs can be hazardous places for owners with dogs. Also, do you know if all stiles and gates are passable, particularly for large dogs?
- Planning your walk means knowing how to cut the walk short if you need to unexpectedly. If away from your home area, always check where the local vets are. You never know when you are going to need an emergency visit.
Other things to remember are:
- Remember your mobile phone and make sure it’s fully charged before starting out
- Carry a spare lead
- Take TWO whistles if you use a whistle to call your dog. It’s so easy to lose one
Just be prepared and use common sense to enjoy your spring walks in our gorgeous countryside.
Thank you for reading ‘Spring Is in the Air – Take Care When Out and About’. For more pet articles, click here.
Image by ZoeGammon on Pixabay.com.