For me, the arrival of spring means longer dog walks in the country most evenings. Living in a village meant that my dog (Office dog Elvis) learned from a very young age how to interact with other animals in the fields around our home.
In this blog, we take a look at how to approach and when not to approach animals whilst out and about.
Horses – If you meet a horse and its rider whilst out walking, it is important to keep your dog under control allowing the horse to pass. As horses are prey animals, most of them have an instinct to flee from anything they perceive as dangerous. Teach your dogs to act calmly when they spot a horse, as barking or even pulling on the lead towards a horse can spook them. If you pass a horse in a field, its not unusual for them to approach you and your dog. Just ensure your dog remains calm and does not get too close. Luckily for me, Elvis has formed quite the friendship with our neighbour Monty.
Sheep and Lamb – This time of the year, its quite likely that you will come across sheep and lamb whilst out walking in the UK’s beautiful countryside. While you may think your dog is obedient, instinct can sometimes kick in when they see other animals. Even if your dog does not catch up with the sheep, or even chase at all, the stress of having a dog lunge towards a sheep can be fatal and, in some cases, can also cause pregnant ewes to miscarry their lambs.
‘It is an offence to allow a dog to worry sheep. Worrying includes attacking or chasing sheep and, in some circumstances, farmers are legally entitled to shoot dogs if they are endangering their sheep. It is vital that you keep your dog on the lead around livestock, even if you can usually trust it to come to call.’, Explain the NSA (National sheep Association).
Cows – Avoid! Whilst cows may seem like placid animals, it is reported that at least 5 people are killed and almost 100 injured each year by cows in the UK. A spokesperson for the NFU (National Farmers Union said ‘Our advice to walkers is if you have a dog with you, keep it under close control, but do not hang on to it should a cow or bull start acting aggressively. If you feel threatened, just carry on as normal, do not run, move to the edge of the field and if possible find another way round the field, returning to the original path as soon as is possible. And remember to close the gate.”.
Other dogs – Just as you wouldn’t walk up to a stranger in the street and give them a hug, you shouldn’t let your dog approach every dog they encounter, especially if said dog is on a lead. There are many reasons a dog could be on a lead, such as being nervous, aggressive, recovering from an injury or being in season etc. If your dog approaches a dog on lead, recall your dog. If you are unable to recall your dog, then your dog should be on a lead.
If you take into account the above suggestions, there’s is no reason that you can’t enjoy what the beautiful countryside has to offer.
We would love to see your pet making the most of the great British countryside, so please do tag us in your snaps, or send them to Hello@Buddies.co.uk.