Keeping your dog safe
We want you to enjoy your walks on the Thames Basin Heaths Special Protection Area and if your dog is safe and happy, you can both have fun.
Keeping your dog in sight and close to you is the simplest way to keep him safe. If you can see your dog, you can see what he’s up to, prevent potentially difficult situations from developing and allow you to manage dog to dog greetings.
Training your dog to regularly ‘check in’ with you teaches him to always re-focus on you. This will help you get his attention in distracting situations.
Training a good recall and an emergency ‘Stop!’ could save your dog’s life. Dog trainer, Natalie Light explains how to teach a strong recall in this video…
Interacting with your dog on your walks is rewarding for both of you! Adding play or training to your walks provides mental stimulation to keep your dog happy, strengthen your bond and keep the focus on you. Take a look at these videos from Natalie Light for some great training tips…
Socialising your dog so they are comfortable with all situations that may arise on your walks is very important. Natalie Light explains the importance of starting a puppy’s socialisation as early as possible.
You don’t want your dog becoming overly excited by encounters while they are out. A lack of interest in chasing or barking at wildlife, livestock, or cyclists and joggers, is important for your dog’s safety and allows others to enjoy their walk too.
On Ministry of Defence land it’s important to remember that it’s a training area and you may encounter heavy armoured vehicles, troops and battle simulations with pyrotechnics and gunfire. For your safety, and that of your dog, please keep clear of any military training and follow any signs or requests from military personnel.
Live Range Danger Areas (RDAs) are marked by signage and red flags (daytime) and red lamps (at night). Don’t enter the RDA when the red flags are flying or the lamps lit.
The parasites and bacteria in dog waste can spread disease to other dogs and people. Some stay in the soil for many years. Please always bag and bin dog waste. Speak to your vet about appropriate worming treatments.
Adders are often found on heathlands and they may be active on a sunny day, even in winter. Keeping your dog close and out of the vegetation will reduce the chance of it spotting an adder before you do.
Ignoring good dog etiquette by allowing your off-lead dog to approach others on a lead can trigger an aggressive response. Some dogs need more space and may be wearing a yellow harness, coat or lead – see Yellow Dog UK.