Dogs are brilliant and dog walkers, as regular park users, help look after our open spaces by reporting any problems or damage in the park, collecting litter and help improve safety.
Owning a dog can improve your physical and mental health, so let's not give dogs a bad name in shared spaces by following these simple rules.
- We must always pick up after our dog. It is everyone’s responsibility to keep the environment clean and tidy for all park users. Collect poo in a bag and dispose of in any litter bin in the park or take it home.
You can be FINED up to £1000 if you fail to clean up after your dog.
Courtesy and control
- Respect other park users. They may not love dogs as much as we do. Some park visitors, especially children, can be scared or intimidated by dogs, especially if they bark or jump up on people.
- Be aware of what our dog is doing all of the time. While we are staring at our phone or chatting, we need to make sure we know where our dog is and what they are doing. Dogs should always be supervised and never just turned out into a park on their own.
- Don't let your dogs steal food from picnics or to beg from other park users. Most dogs will look for food where ever they can find it, (some more than others). If there are people eating in the park and we don’t think you can fully trust our dog not to hassle them or try to steal their food, then we need to keep it on the lead.
- Never let dogs damage trees shrubs, flower beds or other park features. Council maintenance teams and Friends groups spend a lot of time and money making parks beautiful places to be. We must never allow our dogs to dig up and otherwise damage flower beds, or to damage trees.
- Keep dogs under close control. If we can't recall our dog we must keep it on a lead until we have trained it. Look up local dog training classes. Dogs enjoy the training process and it improves the bond between dog and owner. Well trained dogs are the best ambassadors
- If a dog has been aggressive towards other dogs or people, always keep it on a lead in a shared space. Further training with a specialist trainer can often turn difficult dogs around, so consider further training. In the meantime, we have a responsibility to make sure our dogs are safe to run free in a public place.
- Please don't let a dog chase or disturb any wildlife. In some parks there might be wildlife such as ducks, swans, foxes or deer for instance, which can be easily disturbed by dogs. Don’t let dogs chase them.
- If you are taking your dog out into the surrounding area you might want to look at the dog codes for Hampshire and the New Forest
Other ways we can be responsible owners
The Control of Dogs Order 1992 states that any dog in a public place must, by law, wear a collar with the name and address (including postcode) of the owner engraved or written on it. It is not required to have your phone number, but it would certainly help if the dog was lost. It is also required by law that all dogs are microchipped.
It is important to keep our dogs regularly wormed for their own health and wellbeing and to avoid spreading parasites when visiting shared open spaces. For further information ask you vet or look online for worming programs. The same is true for fleas.
Dogs have always been contentious in parks and beaches. We can do a lot to improve their image by being as considerate to other park users as we might expect them to be towards us, so follow the code and always be friendly and polite to other park users.
Find more information and advice on dogs also visit our Animal Welfare page.