Out and about with your dog

Guidance for enjoying the countryside with your dog.

There's nothing better than a walk in the countryside with your four legged friend, but there are numerous accounts of sheep worrying which leads to land managers not being as welcoming as they might be.

Sheep worrying is not just about a dog physically attacking a sheep, it's about stressing it too.  If your dog is chasing a ball or a rabbit on the hill, or barking and running about the beach and you notice sheep running off or crowding into a corner that is sheep worrying. Sometimes they will even run over cliffs to escape their perceived threat.

Aimee Budge of Bigton Farm spoke to us about the issues that can arise with outdoor access  involving dogs. You can see what she says here.

The Scottish Outdoor Access Code says:

  • Never let your dog worry or attack farm animals.
  • Don't take your dog into fields where there are lambs, calves or other young farm animals.
  • If you go into a field of farm animals, keep your dog(s) on a short lead or close at heel and keep as far as possible from the animals.


  • Don't take your dog into fields of crops, such as silage, unless there is a clear path and keep your dog to the path.

Ground nesting birds:

  • During the breeding season (usually April-July) keep your dog on a short lead in areas such as moorland, grasslands, loch and sea shores to avoid disturbing birds that nest on or near the ground.

Dog waste:

  • Pick up and remove your dog's faeces if it defecates in a public open place

Further Information:

If you have any queries on outdoor access in Shetland please contact the Shetland Outdoors Team and we'll see what we can do.

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