Walking is great for our mental and physical health, and it is even more enjoyable when we have our four-legged friends with us. Thanks to a new film produced in collaboration with dog behaviourist Natalie Light, discover some top tips on how you and your dog can enjoy the great British countryside safely this summer.

With livestock in farm fields, ground-nesting birds on heathland and a variety of other path users such as horse riders, children and cyclists, there are many times when your dog can be distracted and getting them to engage with you, will help you to achieve a happy, safe and stress free walk. At times, you may need your dog to stick to the path or be on the lead for their own and other’s safety. There are a number of hazards that can be harmful to you and your dog. These can include ticks and adders, which will very often hide away in the scrub and vegetation, away from the pathway areas. This new short film gives some great advice on why it is important to do these things for you and your dog’s safety, as well as protecting the beautiful countryside and wildlife we all love.

Natalie Light and her dog called Fish

As a follow up, five bite size 50-second top tips films will be released over the coming months. In each film Natalie shares some excellent advice on topics such as how to get a better recall, new games to make walks more fun and some great ideas for working on your dog’s behaviour around distractions when out walking.

These films are a product of a new and exciting partnership which has formed over the last 8 months. Dorset Dogs, Devon Loves Dogs, Heathland Hounds, New Forest National Park, South Downs National Park and Bird Aware Solent have joined forces to work more closely on a number of dog related projects. This new working group is aptly named SCCAMP – the Southern Counties Canine Access Management Partnership.

With many people engaging with the countryside, particularly with the ongoing pandemic and their new found love for nature with their pet dog, this has at times, caused increased pressure on our lovely green and pleasant land. Each of the organisations in the SCCAMP are actively engaged in championing positive management of dogs in the countryside and raising awareness of the importance of responsible dog ownership in their geographical areas and hope that by joining together they can reach more people with these important messages.

Paul Attwell, Team Manager of Urban Heaths Partnerships explains; ‘This collaborative approach of working in partnership generates the opportunity to share best practice and work together on joint initiatives that disseminate and promote consistent and recognisable messages across a wide area of the country.’

The members of the group have a wealth of experience and share skills in ecology, conservation, dog behaviour and tourism. As a result, the partnership fully understands the pressures that disturbance by people and dogs can cause on wildlife, within the countryside setting.

Everyone has a responsibility to keep themselves, others and your dog safe, while enjoying the great outdoors and we hope that these new films will highlight the positive engagements that you can have with your dog and the countryside and will give you some great tips to assist you along the way. Watch and share these new films, and keep up to date with all of the SCCAMP partner’s work by following them on social media.