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SNH continue to target responsible access message at dog owners

SNH carried out research late last year to establish where best to focus future Code communications, particularly as TV adverts are now prohibitively expensive.  Dog issues (particularly dog waste and dog control) came out as the top concern with a wide range of stakeholder groups, and radio was the recommended media format.

Furthermore, recent research underlines that if SNH wish to influence the behaviour of dog walkers they must acknowledge the value and importance that dog owners place on their pets, and present any desired behavioural changes as being 'good for the dogs'.  They’ve implemented a radio campaign that commenced this week to hit just before the Easter break using two different adverts topping and tailing ad breaks (one countryside and one park setting) to help communicate responsible dog walking advice using a dog character called Jess who encourages owners to pick up after their dog, thus not getting the dog a bad name. 



w/c 11th March for 3 weeks:

Real Radio Scotland

96.3 Real XS Radio

Total Forth

Total Clyde

Radio Borders

West Sound

Moray Firth Radio

Total Tay

Total Northsound

w/c 18th March for 2 weeks:

TalkSPORT (Scotland)


The URL been set up to take users directly to the dog walking advice pages at (this URL is a lot easier to say on radio - and to remember).  The radio adverts have been uploaded to the site and the web pages will be monitored so we can analyse the traffic figures.

These two adverts focus on dog fouling, however SNH plan to continue the Jess style advert early in the new financial year focusing on the other dog issues; the control of dogs and in particular sheep worrying.  SNH also trialled a Code related workshop for dog walking companies in the central belt which proved a great success, and we plan to repeat these elsewhere in the new financial year. 

A press release has also gone out this week (see below) and 70k copies of the Code dog owners leaflet have been racked in relevant sites throughout Scotland. 

Press release: Calling all dog owners – get your dog a good name!

As spring approaches, dog owners are being encouraged to pick up after their dog when out and about.

The latest national radio campaign from Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) begins this week, focussing on the issues surrounding dog waste, as part of ongoing work to publicise access rights and the Scottish Outdoor Access Code.

Kirstin Guthrie, SNH Communications Officer said: “Our radio campaign introduces the character ‘Jess’ - a wise border collie - who helps dispel some myths, as well as highlight how not cleaning up after your dog can kill livestock and encourage other people to think badly of you and your dog.”

Stephen Jenkinson, Kennel Club Access Advisor added: “Most dog owners understandably tend to be very protective of their dogs, treating them as part of the family and so cleaning up after their pet, wherever they are, is second nature.

“But some owners still get their dogs a bad name by not picking up in places ranging from city parks and paths to informal tracks across fields in the countryside.  Worse still, some owners leave bagged poo hanging from trees or on the ground. To reduce this problem, we want people to know that if there’s no dedicated dog bin, bagged poo can go in any general litter bin.

“We know some people may think it’s okay to leave their dog’s waste where farm animals graze, but this can spread disease which can kill sheep and make cows lose their unborn calves. Simply bagging it and binning it wherever you are prevents this needless suffering and protects your dog’s reputation.”

Scotland enjoys some of the most advanced countryside access rights in the world.  These access rights apply to anyone walking their dogs provided they’re kept under proper control. The Scottish Outdoor Access Code includes practical advice for dog owners on where they can go and what they can do. This advice becomes particularly relevant as spring approaches, when it’s important to properly control dogs to protect young farm animals and ground-nesting birds (over half of Scotland's birds nest on the ground).

At this time of year, dog owners’ main responsibilities are:

  • LAMBS: Don't take your dog into fields where there are lambs, calves or other young animals. Go into a neighbouring field or on to land next to it.  
  • FARM ANIMALS: Never let your dog worry or attack farm animals.
  • SAFETY AROUND CATTLE: Cattle can act aggressively. Keep yourself and your dog at a safe distance and if necessary let your dog go so that you can both seek safety. Where possible, choose a route that avoids taking your dog into fields with farm animals.
  • GROUND NESTING BIRDS: During the bird breeding season (usually April to July), keep your dog under close control or on a short lead in moorland, forests, grassland, loch shores and the sea shore.
  • PLANTED FIELDS: Don't take your dog into fruit and vegetable fields unless there is a clear path, and keep your dog to the path.
  • PUBLIC PLACES: Keep your dog under close control and avoid causing concern to others, especially those who fear dogs.
  • DOG WASTE: Pick up and dispose of carefully.  

Know the Code before you go; enjoy your access rights responsibly. Find more advice and


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