About Dorset Dogs

Dorset Dogs champions positive management for people with dogs in town, coast & countryside and promotes responsible dog ownership.

What we believe

Dogs are wonderful for our physical, mental and emotional well-being and if that goes hand-in-hand with responsible dog ownership there are strong benefits for the value, care and future protection given to our countryside, green spaces and wild creatures.

Who are we?

Dorset Dogs was set up by a group of land managers (eg rangers, site managers) who were also dog owners.  We recognised from our own experience that there can be issues to do with dogs out and about on their walks (such as fouling, disturbance to wildlife, grazing animals or other people) but we wanted to find more effective, positive ways to manage those issues and also to recognise that dog owners can bring positive impacts rather than negative ones.  We sought best practice training and advice from experts who are consulted by Government and national organisations. We continue to ensure we stay updated so that we are able to offer advice and feedback on best practice canine access management to people who manage land where people walk and to dog owners.

We work with all sorts of people, from dog owners and land managers to dog businesses and charities, conservation and countryside organisations.

People walking with dogs are often the main visitors to green spaces and the countryside.  We are ‘eyes & ears’, discouraging anti-social behaviour simply by being there, or reporting fires or other incidents.  Some dog owners also take part in voluntary work at their local site, for example litter-picking, conducting wildlife surveys or carrying out practical work on site. 

Dog owners who live in or visit Dorset can become members of Dorset Dogs, by signing up to follow the doggy do code and keeping in touch with local dog and countryside information. There are now well over 2000 Dorset Dogs human members and even more canine ones!

Explore the website…

  • Read the Doggy Do Code and find out more about the issues around responsible dog ownership.  
  • Be well-informed on your walks – includes information about great dog walking areas as well as what you need to know about more sensitive places you may already visit in your local area: Out & about
  • Try out the tabs at the top or side of the page to explore the whole website.
  • …and join us!

Dorset Dogs won the national KC Dog Award 2013!

The Special Recognition award is an annual award for best positive canine access management – click here We think it’s important to continue to uphold the gold standard approach.

The Dorset Dogs ethos is supported by many dog owners, dog businesses, and dog, conservation and countryside organisations and charities. 

Funding & History

Dorset Dogs receives funding from development mitigation to carry out work mainly in south-east Dorset, with additional funding coming in from providing expertise for specific work such as ‘information pit stops’, guided walkies’ or canine access management guidance, alongside small donations from businesses who support the Dorset Dogs ethos and advertise on the website.

Dorset Dogs was initially set up with heathland development mitigation funding via the Urban Heaths Partnership, combined with access management funding from Natural England, to help manage both issues and opportunities for people with dogs to enjoy countryside and green spaces.

Dorset Dogs small team (less than 2 staff) is part of the Urban Heaths Partnership core team. Volunteers, the support of many dog and/or countryside colleagues and the goodwill of responsible dog owners are essential to the work we do.