Forestry Commission logo
Dog walker on a forest trail.

Motivations and beliefs

Understanding the values, beliefs and motivations behind what dog walkers do and where they go, is central to developing effective management that meets their needs and reduces conflict.

A cartoon of a dog runningWhere owners take their dogs and how they allow them to behave, is influenced by many factors including:

Personal factors:

  • A primary concern towards their dog’s safety and well-being.
  • Their personal reasons for owning a dog and taking it for a walk.
  • Experiences, restrictions and facilities at other nearby places.
  • Their understanding and confidence in training their dog to be obedient.
  • Being on a lead can make some dogs more aggressive or vulnerable to attack.
  • A lack of understanding about how others may see their dog, and impacts of unwelcome interaction or other undesired behaviour.
  • The time available for interacting with their dog.

Site based factors:

  • Pre-visit and arrival information about the site.
  • Availability of travel by private car or public transport.
  • Perceptions of personal safety.
  • Perceived degree of welcome, care and respect shown to themselves - and the site - by land managers and other users.
  • Ease of complying with credible requests or restrictions.
  • Conflicting, unclear or unexplained requests or information.
  • Availability of convenient, alternative locations for activities.