I have just been up Pen-y-ghent (Yorkshire Dales) this morning. Up from Horton church, via Brackenbottom (standard Three Peaks route). At Brackenbottom, where the route leaves the tarmac, and the footpath starts and climbs along the wall through the fields, on the road gate there is a recent/new sign saying: "Please close gates behind you and all dogs to be kept on leads as sheep and lambs wandering. Thank you", which seems perfectly clear and polite.
Between Brackenbottom and the junction with the Pennine Way, there were frequently sheep in the fields. I passed half a dozen small groups of walkers. Three of those groups had dogs (respectively single dog, two dogs, three dogs): none of them were on leads. Were these walkers with dogs illiterate, ignorant, or just grossly inconsiderate, or do they just think that a plain, simple, polite sign on the gate (which they must have passed) doesn't apply to them.
It defies belief. I feel sorry for the land/livestock owner. There are plenty of responsible dog owners, but some dog walkers are giving the good ones a really bad name.
Sadly, there is no obligation in law see e.g.
or Hants County Council (amongst others):
"In particular, there is no general legal requirement for dogs to be on a lead or under 'close control' near livestock or in other sensitive situations"
I am a walker, I don't have a dog, nor do I have livestock.
But seriously, to those walkers this morning with dogs not on leads: WTF.....? If someone asks nicely, why not....
As a dog owner, my dog is almost never on a lead but I'd certainly not go in a field if I couldn't take a huge swing away from them. But I only take him in areas he's legally allowed off the leash. Most of the law here (and in the UK) is 'under control'.
At lambing time obviously I just don't take a dog in if I can avoid it, certainly on a leash but even the sight of a dog is stressful.
But outside of that, if using access by the law, I don't see why the landowner can request otherwise - certainly outside of a specific time like lambing. On a PRoW there is generally no requirement to put your dog on a lead and dogs are defined as a legal accompaniment on walks.
It's a legal access route, they shouldn't be dictating outside of the law. We've seen areas where they try to limit access to hours, limit direction of trial, even blocking them.
However, if a dog is off the leash they should be 'under control', which for me means within the immediate vicinity and under voice command. Basically they have to be on the line of the permitted access route.
Agree. However, many people I think no one is going to tell me what to do with my dog or he/she wouldn't chase sheep.
I recall a comment I saw many years ago on a dog forum. One contributor who bred deerhounds said her dogs were well behaved and she was confident walking one of them off the lead in a field of sheep but if she had two (or more) together they were always on the lead; the instinct of the pair/or more was just too strong to trust.
Our crossed fell terrier(he has a bit of some sighthound in him) is always on the lead as all non-dog furry animals, fox sized or smaller have, to him, the same name - prey; and nothing would stop him going after them.
Agree with you. Another UKC dog thread. Lovely.
Sorry but do I observe all the signs? No, partly because so many refer to lambing season and are left there all year. In the lambing season, fair enough, go somewhere else or keep dog on a lead.
Whenever I am anywhere near livestock (near probably means they up to 1k or so in front of us) regardless of time of year the dog is on a lead.
The problem with 'under control' is that a lot of people think their dog is under control when it isn't. I've seen it happen a few times when a dog will rip bits off a sheep and the owner says 'he never does this'. Some people think the rules aren't for them because their dog is special (not saying you are one of them this isn't aimed at you).
At some point in the next year (I hope) my dog will be undertaking a stock-test where he is basically put in a down stay and sheep and drove past him, and then he will be put in a down stay and have to recall through/around sheep. He isn't allowed to show any sign of interest in the tasty white fluffy things, going to be one hell of a challenge that is for sure. Retested yearly.
Until he has passed that I will keep him on a long line, and distract him with a ball when near sheep. Once he has passed it though, I will happily leave him off lead when in a field of sheep. The law says must be under control, and that can be done without being on a lead, which neither of us like.
I wouldn't have the dog off the lead around sheep even if it has passed proper testing every year (you're making more effort than most) you just never know and other people and the farmer might get the wrong idea if they see your dog off the lead. It's not spoiling the dog's day if it has to be on a long lead for a few short sections.
I find different people's idea of under control to be interesting! Our dog came to us at 6 months old, unsocialized and had never been introduced to animals. So starting off from a tricky place. We are making progress, but definitely an onlead dog and not very confident with other dogs (partly due to the lead. He is better on the odd occasion he can be off) and therefore reactive to them. Thankfully he is much better in this respect than he was, but still not happy if a dog approaches him.
When we are out, if it looks like an offlead dog is coming near, I ask the owner to call their dog away. The number of people who complain "my dog is friendly" or just generally blame my dog for reacting is unbelievable. I will have moved well off the path, have a good hold of my dog, be distracting him with a game or trick training or something, yet my dog is the problem and "out of control" when their dog interrupts us and worries him?!
Yep, control is very subjective!
> I wouldn't have the dog off the lead around sheep even if it has passed proper testing every year (you're making more effort than most) you just never know and other people and the farmer might get the wrong idea if they see your dog off the lead. It's not spoiling the dog's day if it has to be on a long lead for a few short sections.
Do agree with this. My dogs all pass the sheep test, and in the case of the last one he was actually chased by sheep a couple of times (stroppy Lakeland Herdys).
Current newish dog is pretty sheep blind, but will head for any water to leap into without much warning. So any sheep around and he is on a lead to avoid anyone wrongly thinking he is chasing anything.
He is going to be a working dog, so hard to have him on the lead if he is working.
TBH if I was just walking down a path not working, and there were sheep close by he would likely end up back on the lead as there is that temptation. It just wouldn't be practical all of the time.
OK sorry, didn't realize he was a worker.
Right now he is a fluffy little grumpy teenager, but we are getting there.
Thing I have found with sheep is they just popup out of no where! I have seen a dog chase and catch a sheep before, it wasn't pleasant, and I can see why it should be encouraged to keep dogs on the lead. Does make me super on top of Bran though, because if he ever did anything like that it would be game over for us working.
(I was being argumentative initially sorry and I have no idea why, bored I think)
Nice dog! I didn't think you were being argumentative no worries.
We have a 17 year old Jack Russell and I still would not trust him with sheep, although he now only try's to chase them in his sleep.
Only time a dog is under control in public is on a lead. It's as simple as that.
A lot of dog owners don't even realise that having a dog off a lead on a right of way that has cyclist or horseback access is against the highway code so technically they would be breaking the law if they did not abide.
Ignorance unfortunately plays a large part in this whole problem.
Both dogs I've had were taught not to chase livestock.
Find a co-opoerative farmer. Easy for me as I build / repair drystone walls ....
Get a ewe with lambs. Dog on long lead. Allow dog to approach lambs on lead. Watch what happens. Whilst Fido is going up to the lambs, mum will go for the dog. Both our dogs soon got the idea - only two goes needed before lesson taken to heart.. . (Don't go for sheep or you'll get knocked over by the bigger ones!).
A little harder for cattle. Find a farmer who'll help. Get the dog used to walking around cattle and get him used to them smelling him/her and approaching the dog. Find a cow or bullock that'll stand its ground. The dog should get the idea that cattle don't always run away and are somewhat larger than the dog!.
I wouldn't try to do this without the farmer being present/cop-operative.
When out with the dog,you may still need to keep your dogs attention on you and not stock when out and about!
This doesn't always work. My dog's fear reaction is to chase the scary thing away! Traffic, trains, cows, horses, other dogs etc.
We had the friendly farmer who suggested this to us and we did it. He is horrific around sheep now, can easily pull me over to try and chase them away.
You need to train calmness in all situations, not fear.
I have a dog....very rarely on a lead where I usually walk but there is no livestock. If I go somewhere there is livestock its on the lead....I don't see how it's complicated.
> But outside of that, if using access by the law, I don't see why the landowner can request otherwise - certainly outside of a specific time like lambing. On a PRoW there is generally no requirement to put your dog on a lead and dogs are defined as a legal accompaniment on walks.
Does that mean the dog has to stay on the PROW or can it run around the field at will?
"However, if a dog is off the leash they should be 'under control', which for me means within the immediate vicinity and under voice command. Basically they have to be on the line of the permitted access route.:"
So you did, I missed that
I'm on my third Border Collie rescue dog. This breed is generally highly strung and require a lot work to get them okay with livestock. Plus you have to be as fit as your dog! However it can be done. Ran 8 miles this morning through a lot sheep and cattle with our latest dog. Not a blink.
Ours is improving, but really slowly. Scaring him definitely wasn't a good move! He will never be offlead around them and running is always canicross so he can't get away from me! He can cope with normal traffic now (still not so much lorries etc) and trains and dogs are less problematic than they were. Sheep are still the hardest. I think with sheep there is double thing going on of them being scary, so must be chased away and then once they are running away it looks like a fun game!
Sheep are still the hardest. I think with sheep there is double thing going on of them being scary, so must be chased away and then once they are running away it looks like a fun game!
You've got the nail on the head!
The current Countryside Code advice is under 'effective' control - which I think is even more vague.
I live on a dairy farm. I always keep our dog on a lead when we walk through the cows. He is fine when animals are just wandering about, but if anything starts to run (rabbits, hares, cars) he immediately wants to chase it. He is OK about flushing pheasants out of a hedge and doesn't want to chase them. He has improved after much training, but I wouldn't trust him, so I always keep him on a lead in any field with livestock.
Just to clarify about "lambing season" and signs being left up. I imagine it depends where in the county you are, but here in Derbyshire I have seen lambs in the fields in January and there are lambs there right now in October. So lambing 'season' can be basically all year.
For me it's simple, if there is a sign saying keep your dog in a lead then keep it on a lead.
If there are animals in the field, put the dog on a lead.
Don't like it? Walk somewhere else. Like most dogs ours prefer to be off the lead and love to run and play together but there is a time and a place
> For me it's simple, if there is a sign saying keep your dog in a lead then keep it on a lead.
> If there are animals in the field, put the dog on a lead.
> Don't like it? Walk somewhere else. Like most dogs ours prefer to be off the lead and love to run and play together but there is a time and a place
If only things were as simple as that.
I've lost track of the number of times I've come across cattle grazing in open country without me seeing them at first. As sheep are being replaced by cattle in many upland areas dog owners need to be aware of the dangers. Young bullocks like nothing more than chasing a dog. If that dog happens to be on a lead then the owner is at significant risk of injury. In that situation you'd be well advised to let the dog off its lead so it can outrun the cattle.
Then the problem is that there are almost always sheep nearby too. So if I let the dog off, the farmer will shoot him for chasing the sheep!! You can't win!
> Then the problem is that there are almost always sheep nearby too. So if I let the dog off, the farmer will shoot him for chasing the sheep!! You can't win!
There's the rub. It seems to me that many dog owners don't understand that it's an animal welfare issue not their rights vs a farmers.
I feel that dangerous animals (cows) shouldn't be on open hillsides. If a path goes through a field of cattle, there should be a sign so people can make an informed choice as to whether to go through. On an open hill, though, how would you know? You might if you are local, but not if visiting. It is an animal welfare issue, and a human welfare one. The dog doesn't get any protection whether I keep him on lead or let him off! Off lead, he gets shot by the farmer, on lead we both get trampled!
> I feel that dangerous animals (cows) shouldn't be on open hillsides.
Does your feeling extend to the Alps and Pyrenees ?
I'm still not sure you could describe either a bull or a cow, "a dangerous animal'. Isn't it a bit like describing all dogs as dangerous? After all, dogs do and have killed & injured people even in this country. But not everyone is scared by dogs.
I'm generally not at all bothered by either species. But I do remember once in the Picos De Europa walking across open hillside where a small herd of cattle was grazing in the distance. They were guarded, not by humans, but by two enormous Spanish cattle dogs, which are left in sole charge of the cattle for days on end.
The dogs saw me from half a mile away and started barking. Then they started to walk towards me barking loudly. It was only when the broke into a faster trot that I started to get worried for my own safety. I mean, what on earth could I do against two dogs with a combined weight far in excess of mine? I did know of one way of disabling a dog, but not two at the same time. Its the only time in my life I thought I was going to be an edible substance and had absolutely no idea what to do.
They approached to within 30 or 40 feet and by then I knew I was doomed. They continued loudly barking at me - and then to my surprise and relief, they suddenly turned and trotted back to their flock having given me and anything else a clear message that you; 'Don't mess with us - or our flock'
That was some 20 years ago - and I can still feel the relief I felt then, now.
Had a similar experience in the Pyrenees. Walking by a flock of sheep I saw a lovely big fluffy dog with a spiked collar that would have fended off a Tyrannosaurus. His barks and general demeanor got the message through loud and clear: piss off!
There used to be a sign next to the Cabane D'Ansabere which roughly translated said:
"Keep your dog on a lead or our dog will eat it"
I grew up in a rural area with a fair share of beauty spots frequented by local dog walkers from the nearest small town. The farmer had several lambs killed by dogs not on leads. He put up signs with graphic photos, people got upset that their kids might see the photos and the issue appeared in the local newspaper
Another lamb was killed and the farmer added "dogs caught worrying sheep will be shot" to the signs. Again, much was made of it in the paper but most of the rural community were non pulsed by it.
Of course the obvious happened and the farmer shot a dog caught chasing sheep. The owners were understandably distraught but people started using leads or walked elsewhere.
I really like dogs but if it's not under control and chases livestock then I have zero sympathy if it gets shot.
I've never been to the Pyrenees and only alps in winter, so don't know what it's like there.
I have though had cows and a bull being way more interested than I would like in me and some clients around Boreraig and Suishnish on more occasions than I would like! They can be pretty much anywhere in that area and we have had a few of them walking towards us in a group in a brisk manner. Another time, a bull did a snort and a stamp.
I find them very intimating and if I get warning of them then I take a VERY wide berth!
I have walked off a hill down a path which had gained a herd of cows since I passed in the morning which made me uneasy enough to get my ice axe off my bag and have it in my hand. Other times I have had walking poles extended and ready or even just rucksack unbuckled so I could throw it of needed. I also once bashed through some gorse for long way as some bullocks were ganging up on us! All these times have been without the dog. I tend to only take the dog to hills I have done and am sure won't have cows.
They are big, scary beasts. People get badly injured and killed by them!
When I was a kid we had a field of sheep at the back of our house, and our dog genuinely wanted to play with them and why not? The lambs were having a great time gambolling away, and Gelert just wanted to join in. I can clearly remember one time when he was doing that the mother, shaking with fear, nonetheless approached him, one step at a time, to protect her lambs. It was pretty impressive really.
> They are big, scary beasts. People get badly injured and killed by them!
Tell me about it.
I have some UKC history on the subject and don't think i should say more at this point.
These Pyreneean Mountain Dogs in charge of the sheep are not to be messed with , they live with the sheep and regard themselves as boss sheep, warning signs and warning leaflets are readily availabie. They look like a supersized cross between a Labrador and a Retreiver.
Two experiences with pyreneean dogs.
Envisage a stream about 5 feet across with a 2 foot waterfall to the right and a stone like a bald head in the middle. I stepped on the stone slipped and landed face down in the stream at the bottom of the waterfall with a 60 litre sac on my back. Hauling myself out drenched I was faced with a poster on a tree warning me about Pyreneean mountain Dogs and about 20 yards away was one looking at me -I'm convinced it was laughing at me it didn't move and luckily the path followed the stream avoiding walking past it.
On my traverse of the Pyrenees I ended up on the GR11 with the final bit to Llanca but with a day to spare halfway I found a refuge courtesy of the Barcelona mountaineering club. It was pristine with log fire and sleeping platform and picnic table and sink and tap outside -perfect and somebody had left a bottle of wine. About 5 minutes after arriving the door creaked open and a large hound walked in with a orange plastic collar it stood about three feet tall and looked half starved. It jumped on the p[atform and sniffed at my rucsac and then sat gazing at me, The door opened again and a large lurcher walked in sat down and howled. Again this dog was half starved and possessed an orange collar but just sat and looked at me . I'd been looking forward to a final 'eat up' which included a foot long chorizo sausage - I ended up with about an inch and a half of sausage the dogs gobbled the rest and then just walked out. It dawned on me then that I'd been suckered.
French climber Seb Bouin has made the first ascent of a new 9b/+ at Pic Saint-Loup, France. The route is 50m in total and breaks down into a 9a+, followed by a Font 8A+ boulder problem. He has named the route Beyond Integral.