Campaign offers advice for dog owners around livestock
Dog owners across Scotland are being encouraged to take extra care around livestock when enjoying the great outdoors this spring.
Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) is running a national radio and digital campaign, based on advice from the National Access Forum, to help dog owners to explore their local natural areas without disturbing vulnerable young animals during the lambing season.
The key message of the campaign — which has been developed alongside Police Scotland, NFU Scotland, Scottish Land and Estates and The Kennel Club — is to keep dogs out of fields with young farm animals and on a short lead or close at heel when livestock are around. If cattle react aggressively, release your dog and take the shortest, safest route out of the field.
The Scottish Outdoor Access Code website provides more information, including online video tutorials covering everything from teaching a dog to be relaxed around livestock through to dog walker etiquette and legal responsibilities.
Dog behaviourist and trainer Natalie Light said: “These videos are packed full of great tips that will give dog owners the information and skills to have fun and safe walks in Scotland’s outdoors as well as understand their rights and responsibilities under the Scottish Outdoor Access Code.
“I hope they encourage everyone to get involved and have the confidence to enjoy getting out and about with their pets this spring.”
Farmers and other land managers are also encouraged to support responsible access with dogs by following the guidance in the Scottish Outdoor Access Code, for example by avoiding putting sheep close to lambing in fields with well-used routes, or indicating reasonable alternatives. If necessary, local access officers can also provide advice.
More information is available on the Scottish Outdoor Access Code website.