Dorset Dogs was set up by a group of land managers who were also dog owners.
We recognised from our own experience that there are issues to do with dogs out and about on their walks (eg fouling, or disturbance to wildlife, grazing animals or other people) but we wanted to find more positive ways to manage those issues and also to recognise the benefits that dog owners can bring. We work together with other dog owners and land managers to do this, as well as dog, conservation and countryside organisations, charities and businesses.
People walking with dogs are often the main visitors to green spaces and the countryside. We are ‘eyes & ears’, discouraging anti-social behaviour simply by being there, or reporting fires or other incidents. Some dog owners also take part in voluntary work at their local site, for example litter-picking, conducting wildlife surveys or carrying out practical work. In 2020 we partnered with Dorset and Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Service to introduce our K9 Firewise Patrol. The patrol involves local dog walkers looking out for fires and potential fires, and reporting incidents directly to the control room of the emergency services. The dog walking volunteers get induction training and some merchandise to identify their presence to fellow walkers. These early interventions can bring a stop to fires or help to report them before they get out of control.