How to enjoy great dog walks responsibly

Inspiration and advice for walks with your canine friend.

As a dog lover there’s nothing better than a walk with your canine friend.  Here are some tips to help you enjoy brilliant dog walks whilst also being a responsible dog walker. 


Enjoy a great dog walk 

Our 10 best dog walks include coastal dog walks, woodland dog walks and circular dog walks.  If you’re looking for more inspiration, search our library of Ramblers Routes for dog friendly walks near you. 


Walking your dog responsibly 

The Countryside Code in England and Wales and the Outdoor Access Code in Scotland include helpful information for dog walkers.  The codes advise you should keep your dog under effective or proper control but there are certain situations, and times of year, when specific rules apply that require dogs to be kept on a lead. 

You can also download our Dog Walking Code.


Walking your dog responsibly on access land 

Special rules apply when walking your dog on access land. Between 1 March and 31 July (the main breeding period for ground-nesting birds) you should keep your dog on a lead no more than 2m long.  You should do the same at any time of year near livestock. 

In some places specific local restrictions may also be in place, such as banning dogs from grouse moors. Look out for local signs and check access maps for information on restrictions. 


Staying safe when walking your dog 

If you walk in fields where cattle may be kept, it’s worth having a read of our advice on  

how to walk safely through a field of animals.  Cattle can become unsettled by the presence of a dog and in these circumstances it’s always best to release your dog from its lead. The dog will be able to run away, and the cattle’s interest will be drawn from you to the dog. 

Take extra care on bridleways and byways where dogs could frighten horses or be at risk of vehicle traffic. 

Staying safe around dogs you meet when walking 

If you encounter an aggressive dog the RSPCA advises that you should stay calm and talk to the dog calmly in a pleasant tone of voice.  You may need to move, either behind something or to get away from the dog but do not make sudden movements or run, just walk slowly away from the dog.   

If you are bitten or intimidated by a dog when using a public right of way, report the problem to both the police and to the local highway authority. 

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