What's the paw count on your site? Do the canine visitors (or their owners) cause you problems? Or could they bring you an increase in visitor numbers?
It's Walk Your Dog Week which was founded in 2010 to bring awareness to canine obesity and behaviour with the aim of encouraging people to spend more time with their dogs, to enjoy walking them and taking care of them and in the process create a routine and helping pets and owners change their lifestyles. So perhaps now's a good time to encourage more four-footed visitors who'll bring their humans with them.
You may have noticed the CJS Team are doggie people and will have seen Kerryn's Labradors Dido, Hester and Flora popping up on our social media from time to time often with the honorary title of 'Office Dog', they like to keep the office team on their toes - quite literally sometimes, stepping over and around slumbering canines whilst avoiding the squeaky toy land mines. The lovely Otto occupies Katie and family whilst Ed keeps an eye on Amy and was the companion to her beloved (and much missed) William. The one with the ginormous ears is Rosita who belongs to Tracey and is a rescued Podenco (extra points if you guessed that), an Ibizan Hound who is learning all about pheasants this year - they keep her transfixed for hours.
Our outdoor dogs pull us away from computer screens and into the countryside on a regular basis. It's well known that dogs keep us healthy with significant physical and mental health benefits. Research recently found that dog owners are far more likely to meet weekly exercise targets of 150 minutes per week than people without dogs. In fact:
- 64% of dog owners met the physical activity guidelines through dog walking alone;
- Dog owners are 14 times more likely to walk for recreation;
- Dog walking was in addition to – not instead of – other exercise.
In 2008 Stephen Jenkinson asked: "Do you have 'issues' with dog owners? Are the same old signs and leaflets not improving things? If so – you are not alone! And better still, the advice and support you need is out there, if you really want to improve things." In his article Walkers with dogs: new approaches to better management. Read it here
Earlier this year he was one of the speakers at the “Sharing Good Practice - People and Dogs in the Outdoors” seminar delivered by The Outdoor Recreation Network hosted by Forestry England and The Kennel Club informing attendees that: "Since 2010, dog ownership is up 10% and is now at 8.5 million dogs. 26% of homes have a dog and astonishingly over half of all outdoor visits include a dog." So it's quite likely that your countryside site has a significant paw count as well as foot fall.
By Dr Elizabeth Rogers wrote a report on the seminar here which has links to many resources including a youtube recording of some of the sessions.
Full size graphic here - just so you can check out those ears and see our much loved dogs in greater detail! (Yes, Dido is wearing boots. No, the tree is not growing out of Otto's head! But doesn’t he sit nicely, showing what a handsome boy he is.)