Boots, jacket, hat & gloves, leads, whistle, poo bags - check, check, check. OK tribe* let's go!
We're off out across the moors to enjoy Walk the Dog day. OK, not really we've got a Weekly to get out, but we've been once this morning and will snatch another quick outing later on perhaps even over lunchtime to help clear the head ready for the next onslaught. The government recommends that we get at least 30 minutes of exercise each day which is something that everybody can achieve, and even go beyond, on a daily dog walk or two, with one or a houseful of dogs you can never lead a sedentary life they need their walks both on and, where safe to do so, off lead.
It's such an important part of keeping a dog happy and healthy that it's mentioned in defra's Code of Practice for the Welfare of Dogs: "Give your dog the exercise it needs, at least daily unless your vet recommends otherwise, to keep your dog fit, active and stimulated."
The Kennel Club has some Puppy and dog walking tips to help owners do their best for their canine companions. Including important things like making sure your dog comes back! (Remember Fenton?)
As well as the benefits for the dog getting out on regular dog walks can be life changing for owners too; Ron Lightfoot lost almost four stone in weight and reversed his type 2 diabetes he says he has ‘gained years of his life back’ and owes it all to his rescue dog, read their incredible story.
For most people giving the dog the exercise required means a nice walk and ideally in open countryside but as many countryside and greenspace managers know all too well this brings with it a series of problems to contend with, from dealing with abandoned filled dog poo bags to farm animal worrying and wildlife disturbance. Research highlights the daily demand for off-lead exercise, close to home and away from traffic, and how we, as access managers, share responsibility for perpetuating needless conflict, says Stephen Jenkinson in his article written for CJS.
Keep Britain Tidy has some hints and tips on how to deal with dog poo problem, they say that nine out of 10 dog owners clean up after their dog but that means 10% don't and of those who do clean up if there are no suitable bins then bags are often tossed into hedges and trees, biodegradable bags are no excuse or in my experience actually make matters worse.
Earlier this month Outdoor Recreation Network along with Forestry Commission England and the Kennel Club held a conference to discuss managing these problems. You can watch the Question and Answer session from Day 1 on the ORN YouTube channel here. Session Speakers are: Alison Kohler, Peter Gorbing, Stephen Jenkinson and Dawn Rayment. And some of the speakers' slides can be seen here.
Not only that but ORN are writing the lead article on similar subjects in the May edition of CJS Focus which is looking at Recreation; it's a long way off so keep following us to know when it's published.
*I have no idea why my pack of three labs is known as a tribe but there you go, it might hark back to the days when it had a wolfhound as well and pack seemed a little near the mark for a hound or a wolf come to that.