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Dog Walkers Split On Whether to Walk on the Lead or Off

According to a recent survey, British dog owners are divided on whether dogs should be walked on or off the lead in public spaces. 


The survey conducted by specialists in natural health supplements for dogs, Canine Natural Cures, found that 51% of dog owners think that dogs should be kept on leads at all times in public spaces. Public spaces are defined as areas where dog walkers are likely to meet other members of the public eg parks, beaches, pavements or even in the countryside if there are others about. 

Thirty per cent of respondents said that they never or rarely walk their dogs off the lead - irrespective of where they are walking or whom they might meet. 

The survey studied the dog walking behaviours and attitudes of approx 200 dog walkers throughout the country. The survey was undertaken in response to the recent news that Russell Brand’s dog attacked a wallaby. 

 In the survey, anonymous respondents were also asked if their dogs had ever worried livestock or wildlife. Almost 20% of respondents admitted that their dog had been guilty of this transgression even though 77% of respondents said that their dogs always or mostly come back when they are called. 

Aisling Armitage, director of Canine Natural Cures commented, “Whilst it would seem that most dog owners do feel that they have control over their dogs, anecdotally many admit that the lure of running deer, sheep or birds may cause their dogs to forget their manners on occasion. For this reason, it is important for dog owners to remain vigilant on a walk at all times.”

The most popular location for a dog walk is not surprisingly the countryside (58%) where people are more inclined to let their dogs off the lead provided they are alone.  Lead walkers are more likely to walk in the town (32%) versus 5% of off lead walkers. Twenty four per cent go to the park and enclosed fields are popular among 16%. 

Enclosed fields are usually privately owned and hired out on an hourly basis. Dog walkers typically pay between £8-10 per hour for use of the field. Increasingly dog owners with aggressive dogs, dogs that have behavioural issues or owners with multiple dogs prefer the security of walking in an enclosed field where they know that their dogs are safe. 

Finally most people spend at least 30 minutes per day walking their dog irrespective of whether their dog is walked on or off the lead. Forty two per cent spend 30 minutes to an hour walking their dog and 49% spend over an hour per day walking their dog. Approximately 10% exercise their dog for less than half an hour per day.

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