New Forest Dog On The Forest Off The Lead

New Forest Ambassadors to promote responsible dog ownership


A new scheme to link New Forest pet trades to responsible dog ownership has been launched by the New Forest Dog Owners Group and a number of local shops and businesses. Known as the NFDOG Ambassador scheme, it is hoped that by engaging with owners where appropriate, more can be done to promote responsible ownership, for example keeping control of dogs, and picking up after them.

Six local businesses have kick started the scheme, and have agreed to talk to dog owners about being responsible, if it comes up in conversation. To support this, NFDOG have supplied credit card handouts which also include information on lost dogs and what to do if a pet goes missing.

 “The idea came from a seminar we held last year and which nearly 80 local dog businesses, shops, trainers and suppliers attended in Brockenhurst,” says Heather Gould, Chair of NFDOG. “Most dog owners are responsible, but clearly there are many who are not, and that harms the reputation of all. We talk about this in groups with the local authorities and others about responsible ownership – but this doesn’t reach owners. So we’re really grateful for the support of our new Ambassadors to spread the message, taking directly with owners.”

In return NFDOG is promoting the Ambassador businesses to its 1400 members via its website and unique NFDOG phone app. The traders have also agreed to offer a discount or a free service to group members, to encourage their business. 

“The New Forest can seem like one giant playground to some dogs. Dogs have no concept of right and wrong so it's up to us to try to manage their interactions with it,” says Deborah Burrows, of Healthy Pet Store in Totton. “It's about finding an appropriate outlet to meet dogs' needs whilst being aware of the impact of humans and dogs on the land. Thankfully, the region is supported by a network of excellent trainers who are able to provide the type of training needed for this unique environment and its challenges." 

Those signed up to the NFDOG Ambassador scheme include the Totton store and food suppliers, a dog physiotherapist, dog walkers, and groomers.

Healthy Pet Store

Picture: Deborah Burrows of Totton’s Healthy Pet Store with the NFDOG Ambassador sign.