SAWW's policy regarding dogs on walks is developed from and consistent with UK equality legislation and Ramblers national guidance on the subject (Dogs on walks and Insurance FAQ, item 13). In general, SAWW welcomes well-behaved dogs on walks. In accordance with UK equality law, SAWW's policy is to allow Recognised Assistance Dogs, e.g. guide dogs, hearing dogs, etc. on SAWW walks. In addition, SAWW generally welcomes other well-behaved dogs on walks. However, the leader of any SAWW walk may choose whether or not to allow non-assistance dogs on their walk or insist that they be kept on short leads at all times (the leader will be able to indicate such choices on the walk submission form, which will then be reflected in the walk description on the walks programme). If the walk leader chooses to allow dogs then:
- Only SAWW members may bring a dog on the walk
- SAWW members may only bring a dog on a walk by prior arrangement with the walk leader
- Each SAWW member may only bring one dog.
These conditions are imposed to help ensure that only "safe" dogs attend SAWW walks, to allow walk leaders to exercise some control over the numbers of dogs on SAWW walks and to ensure that all dogs are kept under control.
At all times from arrival for a walk to departure from that walk, the person bringing a dog on a walk is responsible for the behaviour of that dog and should ensure it is controlled accordingly. In particular, dogs should be kept on short leads on roads, in sensitive environmental areas, when near livestock, on narrow paths when a loose dog may endanger other walkers, or as otherwise required by local regulation. Additionally, dogs must be put on a short lead whenever the walk leader requests. The only exception to this rule is in emergency, e.g. aggressive livestock, when releasing the dog would be the safer option.