We are over the moon to be getting started here at Coast and Country Canines and to welcome you to our new website we thought we’d answer a few questions.

What is Coast and Country Canines?

We are an initiative that aims to build a community of like-minded, nature-loving dog owners and walkers, who want to help protect our natural world. As well as this website we also have a facebook group, facebook and instagram pages, and we also do in person events. We want to focus on giving people the right information and tools so they can have the best, safest walks, while also taking steps to reduce wildlife disturbance.

What information and tools?

If you have a look at the resources tab in the top bar, you will see some examples of what we have put together. These include training tips and guides, as many dog owners that we talk to say that they struggle with certain aspects of training. We also have suggested walking routes, each one including places to play, nice views and safety advice, as our research suggests this is what people are looking for in a good walk.

We have also included a little breakdown of some of the points from the countryside code that we think are most important as dog owners. This is the basis of building up our reputation as a responsible part of countryside users.

When talking to dog owners out and about we have found that lots of people wanted some new ideas of where to walk. So we went to some of our favourite routes and put together some guides to help people find new hidden gems or extend their current walks.

Why were you started?

Coast and Country Canines was created by Bird Aware Solent, a partnership of local councils, Natural England, The Hampshire & Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust and the RSPB. We were started because of the large amount of disturbance that dog walking causes to wildlife. As dog owners and lovers, we know that this isn’t representative of dog owners as a whole and is more a case of lack of information than bad intent. So, we believe that by championing the responsible owners and giving people the right tools, we can make a difference as a community.

What is wildlife disturbance?

Disturbance is anything that causes an animal to change or adapt its natural behaviour. Most of us know that killing wildlife is wrong, but less people are aware of how damaging simple disturbance can be. The issue is that our wildlife is facing all sorts of pressures right now and any extra pressure might damage their chances of survival. For example, for animals that are feeding to help survive a migration or a hard winter, flying or running away not only gives them less time, it also expends valuable energy reserves.

Why should dog owners care about wildlife disturbance?

As dog walkers we benefit from the natural world so much. It gives us somewhere to walk that is physically and mentally stimulating and it is good for our own mental health too. Animals are a vital part of that, so protecting them is important. We can either be one of the biggest causes of disturbance or we can make some small changes and be a part of the solution.

We are delighted that you are here and hope that you will join us in building this community! Please explore the rest of our website and consider joining and following our social media channels. Keep an eye out for wildlife, be safe, be consistent, have fun and happy walking!