This week (19th -25th November) is Road Safety Awareness Week, which can also be applied to dogs and their owners.
With the clocks having recently gone back, Dogs Trust Canterbury is offering advice to dog owners to help prevent road accidents when out walking their dogs in the evening.
Now as daylight hours are dwindling, the rehoming centre think it’s the ideal time to let dog walker know how to stay safe during winter.
Dogs Trust Canterbury, rehoming centre manager, Harriet Blaskett, said: “We know that responsible dog owners take their dogs out several times a day, whatever the weather throughout the year, but when the nights and mornings get darker, it is so important to take sensible measures to make sure both owners and their dogs stay safe when out and about.”
The charity as the following advice for dog owners and dog walkers:
- Keep control of your dog and don’t let them off the lead unless you are in a safe area, which is well lit.
- Consider wearing high visibility clothing, such as jackets, vest or reflective strips on your clothes so you can be easily seen by motorists.
- A reflective collar and lead or a high visibility coat or flashing collar will also increase your dog’s visibility in the dark.
- Work out a winter dog walking route, which is in urban areas and includes both pavements and areas with street lighting.
- If there is no pavement, walk against the flow of the traffic and keep your dog in the side farthest from the road.
- Carry a torch, which will help you be seen and also enable you to pick up your dog’s mess. Or, consider a head torch so that your hands are free.
- You could walk your dog in a group of other dog walkers, or with a friend, which could be safer than walking on your own.
- If possible, take your dog in the car to a place where you can walk away from the roadside. Many parks and sports fields have lighting but always check that dogs are allowed first.
- Make sure your dog is well trained and responsive to commands.
Harriet added: “When it comes to walking your dog in the winter months, there is a lot of fun to be had, running through the autumn leaves or enjoying the snow. Taking a few sensible steps can make sure that winter walks and days out can be fun too. It’s vital for their safety that they learn how to come back when called, regardless of where they are and what’s going on around them.”
Dogs Trust Canterbury has been working with Tink, a deaf Staffordshire Bull Terrier in their care, who can find it more difficult to stay safe around roads.
The team have been training her to ‘wait’ at the roadside, as well as how to ‘sit’, ‘down’, ‘touch’ and understand ‘good’ – for hen she’s doing a fantastic job. Tink is not yet ready to be rehomed, but when she is, the crucial life skills taught to her at the centre will go a long way in keeping her safe in her new home.
Helpful tips on teaching your dog recall can be found here.