How to walk your dog properly: BBC Countryfile features Suffolk pooch project at Carlton Marshes

Countryfile presenter Matt Baker with dogs from the Happy Paws Dog Training Society Picture: Mark Wi

Countryfile presenter Matt Baker with dogs from the Happy Paws Dog Training Society Picture: Mark Willeard - Credit: Mark Willeard

TV's most-watched show is training its cameras on an unusual East Anglian project - teaching people how to walk their dogs responsibly.

Suffolk Wildlife Trust has obtained a Public Space Protection Order covering its Carlton Marshes nat

Suffolk Wildlife Trust has obtained a Public Space Protection Order covering its Carlton Marshes nature reserve warden Matt Gooch with Gloria Fountain and Callie from the Happy Paws dog training society. Picture: Nick Butcher

BBC Countryfile on Sunday is focusing on how people taking their pooches for a stroll at Carlton Marshes are getting tips on becoming more responsible for what their pets get up to.

Working in partnership with the Suffolk Wildlife Trust, Happy Paws Dog Training Society in Barnby is working with Suffolk Wildlife Trust to run the Dog Ambassador programme, which promotes responsible dog walking.

It follows problem that led to Suffolk Wildlife Trust being granted a Public Space Protection Order to combat owners with unruly dogs at its Carlton and Oulton Marshes reserve near Lowestoft.

Happy Paws chairman Mark Willeard said members of the society who were given training as Dog Ambassadors talked to other dog walkers at Carlton Marshes to promote the need for responsible dog walking.

A loose dog pictured on private grazing marshes near to the Suffolk Wildlife Trusts Carlton Marshes

A loose dog pictured on private grazing marshes near to the Suffolk Wildlife Trusts Carlton Marshes nature reserve. Picture: Suffolk Wildlife Trust. - Credit: Archant


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He said one of the biggest complaints was the mess caused by dogs and owners who did not pick up after them.

He said: 'We reinforce the need to clear up after your dog in order to help reduce the disturbance to wildlife at this fantastic nature reserve.

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'The project is about education and simply sharing the information we have received in our training in a friendly manner, with other dog walkers.'

Mr Willeard said the Dog Ambassadors explained why it was important to have control of your dog on site, especially at this time of year when there were lots of ground-nesting birds about.

'We explain that the repercussions of not having a dog under control, and wildlife getting disturbed, means that there is an effect on breeding numbers which is a real shame,' he said.

'It's been a really worthwhile project so far which has received, overall, a really good, positive response from dog walkers.'

Mr Willeard was interviewed on camera for Countryfile by presenter Matt Baker. 'Matt also got involved in doing some training with some of our dogs over at the Broads Equestrian Centre,' he said.

Sunday's show on BBC1 will also look at a new nature reserve in the Broads that will create a refuge for rare migrant species.

? Suffolk Wildlife Trust was granted a Public Space Protection Order to combat problems caused by unruly dogs at its Carlton and Oulton Marshes reserve near Lowestoft.

Fines range from £80 for transgressions, rising to a maximum of £1,000 if a case is taken to court.

Experts suggest that you follow a few simple rules to ensure that your dog walking experience remains pleasant for everyone:

• Teach your dog to walk on a lead from an early age or, if possible, take it for training;

• Keep your dog on a leash in sensitive areas;

• Always carry poo bags with you and dispose of them responsibly in recognised bins;

• Fit your dog with a collar and ID tag that gives your name and contact details;

• Ensure your dog is microchipped;

• Never leave your dog unattended;

• Always respect the rights of other dog owners and walkers.

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