Start off by asking other dog owners if they know of a nearby wood to explore – there may be a secret grove just round the corner that you never knew existed. There are also lots of good websites to help you out:
Where to Walk?
1. The Woodland Trust gives details of woods in or near your area. Simply type in your postcode and various woods will be listed, along with ratings, photos and maps.
2. The Forestry Commission website has a range of walks with clearly marked paths so map reading is not required.
3. Walking World’s website has more than 5,500 walks covering the entire UK. Just type in your location and you can choose how far you want to walk and how hilly you want your walk to be. A suitable stroll will then be selected for you.
4. If you want to go on holiday with your dog, or find a lovely new place to walk, there are lots of websites that are a great source of ideas!
Health Benefits walking provides your dog
- Helps to strengthen the bond between dog and owner.
- Helps with weight control and to keep your pet in tip-top shape reducing health risks.
- Helps to socialise a nervous or timid dog and build up confidence.
- Regular walks can be extremely beneficial to your pets digestive system.
- Can help to reduce stress and eliminate any destructive behaviour or pent up energy.
Top Tips before setting off
1. Go prepared. Make sure you’re wearing comfortable clothing and are prepared for the weather conditions. Wear sensible, non-slip shoes and make sure you (and your dog) are visible in dark weather by wearing high-vis clothing.
2. Be a responsible dog walker. Follow the Countryside Code when you’re walking your dog- observe all signs about where dogs must be kept on a lead and where access is only seasonal.
3. Dogs need at least one walk a day, and if you’re thinking of taking him on a long trail, make sure he’s fit enough to do as much walking as you!
4. Never let your dog disturb or chase other animals or wildlife.
5. Always clear up after your dog and dispose of the mess safely.
6. Show consideration for other people using the woods, such as horse riders or cyclists. Not everyone is a dog lover and some children can be very frightened by a boisterous canine bounding towards them!
7. Make sure your dog is wearing a collar with a name tag that includes your name and mobile phone number. It’s also worth getting your dog microchipped and registering their details on the Petlog database at www.petlog.org.uk just in case they get lost.