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Explore by Paw Code of Conduct - essential reading!

  • 4 days ago · 7:00 AM

Dear Fellow Dog Walker

Thank you for joining the Explore by Paw dog walking group. Walking the dogs is all about dogs and owners having a relaxed and enjoyable walk. To avoid any misunderstandings the group ‘rules’ are given below, and if you join a walk it is assumed that you have read them and agree to act accordingly.

The MeetUp website has clear guidelines about its role in the community, and we stick to these. Key points for us are:

The group is a community group of like-minded individuals. Explore by Paw is not insured for anything at all. So you are individually responsible for any damage or injury caused by your dog; and for any mishap befalling your dog.

You should have your dog fully under control and within sight at all times. Walking with more than one dog: each dog should be accompanied by at least one person. If this isn't possible, please be doubly careful that you are in full control of both dogs at all times. If necessary, you may be asked to put one dog on-lead. 


There is a maximum of two dogs per person/pair of people.

The walk routes go over farmland. Please ensure your dog is treated for worms, ticks and fleas. Livestock can contract serious diseases from dog parasites.

Livestock: all dogs should be under close control/on leads near livestock, horses, llamas, etc whether they are known chasers or not. Dogs behave differently in a pack, and can cause distress to farm animals especially at lambing/calving time.
If you feel threatened by cows, though, let the dog go and get yourself to a place of safety. Dogs can look after themselves.

In the event that a dog walker allows their dog to act in a way that is likely to cause, or actually causes, injury to other group members, livestock or other dogs they will be asked to leave the group. Livestock worrying is a criminal offence and will be reported to the police, and the owner identified.

Practical dog management

1: to avoid competition between dogs, please do not bring dog toys (balls, frizbees, etc) on walks and do not throw sticks for your dog to chase. Dogs do not share nicely!

2: extending leads are sometimes useful for a few dogs with specific behaviour needs. If you are using an extending lead, please ensure you do not inconvenience other walkers and do not let other dogs get entangled. Extending leads should be fully retracted at stiles, narrow bridges, and anywhere when other dogs are on-lead. Most other dog-walking groups ban the use of extending leads altogether, but we don't as they do have a use for a small number of dogs while training is underway. That said, the use of extending leads should be a temporary fix and not as a substitute for proper training and control.

3: when the group is stationary (in the pub, having a picnic, etc) your dog should be fully under control and close to you. Dogs must never be allowed to roam out of 'your' space.

4: treats. If you give your dog food treats, please make sure that other dogs are out of range.

Health: if your dog is unwell and infectious, please do not bring him/her to the group walk. If your dog is unwell after a walk, please let other group members know in case vet treatment is necessary; e.g. parvo outbreak, kennel cough, etc.

Bitches on heat: please don’t bring on walks until the season is well and truly over.

Other dogs and people: when the group meets other dogs, please keep your dog under control. A pack of dogs can be very threatening to a dog walking solo, and its owner too. Same applies for small children, let’s not be the ones who give a child a lifelong terror of dogs!

Stiles: please be prepared to help other walkers’ dogs over stiles and obstacles. The walks are created to avoid stiles as far as possible, but occasionally big dogs may need to be lifted over.

Dogs under 12 months shouldn’t be doing massively long walks as they are still growing. You know best what walk length your dog can enjoy, and younger dogs (9 months plus) with good recall do manage the shorter walks well. If in doubt, please check with your vet.

Swimming: we try and get a swimming place into the walks but cannot guarantee that the water is always danger-free. Floodwater, poisonous algae and other waterborne hazards are beyond our control.

Children: due to the potential danger to children from a large group of dogs, children (i.e. people under the age of 15) may not join Explore by Paw dog walks. Exceptions to this include people training for the KC Young Handler categories, and outdoorsy kids who enjoy walking and socialising with adults.

In pubs after the walk any requests made to the group by the landlord must be complied with. Dogs must not be allowed on seats, and should be kept under control and away from other patrons. Dogs must not be allowed to lick plates or other items intended for human use.

Membership: Membership subs are £1.50 a month (£18 a year) payable on May 1st each year. Subs are used to maintain the group, develop new routes, provide useful training - such as Pet First Aid courses, Map reading for dog-walkers, big discounts on Dog Walker Professional certs and diplomas - and to support our chosen charities.

Trial Walks: all new members are encouraged to try a pack walk to make sure their dog enjoys the experience. Not all dogs enjoy pack walks, so do check this before paying any subs.

Inactive new members are automatically removed by Meetup if they haven't come on a walk within two months of joining. If this happens, it's not personal and you're very welcome to re-join. 

Each walk is Risk Assessed for its suitability to our activity. The walk leader will try to point out any areas that s/he considers may be a danger or where extra care should be taken. However neither Meetup nor the walk leader takes any responsibility for any accident or injury that may occur on one of our walks. Each and every walker is responsible for his/her actions and that of their dog.

If you disagree with any points in the Code of Conduct, please don't join the group as these are not negotiable.

Lezli Rees
updated January 2015

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