Being a responsible dog owner
The outdoors is essential for dogs and their owners. In Scotland, you can walk your dog on most land as long as you follow the Scottish Outdoor Access Code and keep your dog under proper control.
Outdoors with your dog
Poorly controlled dogs are a serious concern for farmers, other land managers and visitors to the countryside.
- Worry or attack livestock, for example causing pregnant ewes to miscarry or resulting in injury or death
- Disturb wildlife, including breeding birds
- Scare other people
Dog waste also spreads diseases to people and animals, particularly in fields with livestock or where fruit and vegetables are growing.
Important things to remember
- Do not allow your dog to approach animals or people uninvited (in open country, it may not be obvious when animals are around)
- Where possible avoid animals - release your dog if threatened by cattle and don't linger if wildlife is disturbed by your presence
- Always keep your dog in sight and under control – if in doubt use a lead
- Don’t take your dog into fields of vegetables and fruit unless there is a clear path
- Always bag and bin dog poo – take it home when bins aren’t available
Advice for farmers and crofters
To help address any problems caused by dog walking:
Consider public access and assess relevant risks
If necessary, use helpful signs to highlight issues to dog owners, removing them when not required
Suggest reasonable alternative routes if needed