Sheep Safe courses offered to local dog walkers

The latest series of 'Sheep Safe', subsidised dog training courses for local dog owners begins this September.

The courses, led by dog behaviourist Sue Harper, are aimed at giving dog owners confidence to walk their dogs near livestock and training dogs to ignore sheep.

Each year on the Hills and Commons, sheep are killed by dogs which is devastating for the grazier and distressing for all involved.

Beck Baker, Community and Conservation Officer, said ‘Sadly, dogs chasing and attacking sheep is a common occurrence on the Malvern Hills and Commons.’

‘We’d like to remind dog walkers that any dog, big or small, docile or aggressive, has the potential to chase or kill livestock so all dogs should be kept on a lead near grazing cattle and sheep. 

“This training course will help dog owners better understand their dog’s behaviour and how to react if they unexpectedly come across livestock.  However, the safest and simplest thing to do is to put the dog on a lead.”

Course details

The next course, with dog behaviourist Sue Harper, starts on 1st September.  To find out more details and to book your place please emailing Sue at sharperdogs@hotmail.co.uk

In recognition of the course being successfully completed, if the dog and owner attend all six training sessions, the cost of the course will be reduced to only £30.  If any classes are missed, attendees will be charged at the normal rate of £60 for the 6-week course.

Stockwatch

In addition to the training courses, to help dog walkers avoid the livestock or prepare to encounter livestock, the Malvern Hills Trust provides a weekly Stockwatch update.  Stockwatch provides information about the locations of sheep and cattle within the temporary electric fencing compartments on the Hills and Commons. 

The public can view Stockwatch on the Malvern Hills Trust website www.malvernhills.org.uk or sign up to receive weekly email alerts with the livestock information.  Stockwatch is also published each week in the Malvern Gazette.

Grazing Common Land

Beck added ‘We’d like to remind people that that the Malvern Hills and Commons are registered common land so dog walkers should expect to encounter livestock anywhere at any time.  To be safe, always put your dog on a lead near grazing livestock.’

Livestock are an essential part of the management of the Malvern Hills and Commons. The cattle and sheep eat the bramble, scrub and young trees and this maintains the open grassland habitat.  This keeps the landscape special and benefits the geology, archaeology, wildlife, and the access and views for visitors.