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Dog walking in the Dales Copyright Stephen Garnett

Dogs and the Dales

Every year millions of dogs get to stretch their legs and enjoy the wide open spaces and stunning landscapes of the Yorkshire Dales National Park. There’s such great exploring to be done and many dog-friendly establishments to unwind in.

Tips on walking with your dog

  • Please keep your dog on a lead on public rights of way and in fields where there is livestock present.
  • Ground nesting birds are easily disturbed by dogs and fly away leaving the nest vulnerable or abandoned completely. From March to July use a short lead.
  • Be prepared for cattle to react to your presence, especially if you have a dog with you. Move quickly and quietly, and if possible walk around the herd. Don’t panic or run. Most cattle will stop before they reach you. If they follow just walk on quietly.
  • When walking with dogs in fields with cattle, the advice is to avoid getting between cows and their calves; to keep your dog under close control on a lead but not to hang onto your dog if you are threatened by cattle – let it go and allow the dog to run to safety. This offers the best chance of a safe outcome to both you and your dog.
  • If you feel threatened by animals protecting their territory or young, do not run. Move to the edge of the field and, if possible, find another way round.
  • Poo – bag it and bin it! Toxocariasis can be passed onto livestock, dogs, humans and even into the soil.
  • Not everyone likes dogs. Please be considerate and keep your dog on a lead when around other people.
  • The spectacular limestone scenery includes hazards a dog could fall into such as caves, limestone pavement and sink holes. Please stick to the paths.
  • When it gets hot in the summer months consider if you should be taking your dog for longer walks and if you do, try to walk them in the cooler parts of the day. Find out how to take care when exercising your dogs and how to look out for heatstroke on the RSPCA website.
Dog walking in a field of cows in the Dales
Walker with his dog on a short lead

Sheep Worrying

All livestock suffers greatly from being attacked or chased by dogs, with farmers suffering the hard financial consequences of lost stock. As pet ownership has increased over the last year and more people spend time in the countryside there is the potential for instances of livestock worrying to increase and we want to support the local farming community in preventing that from happening by providing updated guidance to anyone walking a dog in the Yorkshire Dales National Park.

The NFU have reported a 10% increase in sheep worrying incidents in 2020, with livestock fatalities costing the farming community over £1.3m.

If your dog attacks livestock and livestock is injured, the Police have various powers to prosecute. If you see a dog on the loose worrying livestock in the Yorkshire Dales report it to North Yorkshire Police.

A farmer is allowed to kill the dog if it’s worrying their livestock. 

wharfedale in the spring
Lambing time

More details

Watch out for instructional signage on gates and posts, or call into a National Park Visitor Centre for more advice (dogs are welcome).