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Kennel Club gives its backing to responsible dog-walking campaign


By Alan Hendry

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The dog-walking campaign by NFU Scotland encourages responsible behaviour in the Scottish countryside this Easter.
The dog-walking campaign by NFU Scotland encourages responsible behaviour in the Scottish countryside this Easter.

A Scotland-wide campaign promoting responsible dog-walking has been backed by the Kennel Club – the largest organisation in the UK devoted to dog health, welfare and training.

It is supporting the initiative by NFU Scotland – using the hashtag #walkieswithoutworries – to encourage responsible behaviour in the Scottish countryside this Easter.

In a guest blog for the farmers' union, Dr Ed Hayes, head of public affairs at the Kennel Club, states: “While we know that many owners do keep their dogs on leads when they know livestock is present, with so many people getting new pets and the lockdown restrictions limiting opportunities for proper socialisation, training and education, we are concerned about the potential negative impact on livestock, wildlife, dogs and people.

He adds: “With spring upon us and lambing season under way, it’s also crucial that owners understand their responsibilities and exercise appropriate caution when accessing rural areas, particularly if livestock is present and their dog isn’t used to walking in the countryside.”

Training is key, according to Dr Hayes – and he says this is particularly pertinent as the UK moves towards post-lockdown life, with many people having bought a dog for the first time during the past year and now making plans to adjust. This might include walking in the countryside for the first time with a dog, and the need to ensure that everyone stays safe and has a positive experience.

His states: “Teaching your dog basic recall is essential in keeping your dog under control, particularly when walking in new areas. Make sure your puppy is also used to walking on a lead prior to taking them to any new areas, particularly in the countryside.

"It is good practice to keep a dog on a lead around farm animals, year-round. However, if cattle or horses chase you and your dog, it is safer to let your dog off the lead.”

The full blog can be seen here.


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