Walking with dog in the dark: What you should pay attention to

Walking with dog in the dark: What you should pay attention to

The dark season is here: it is getting a little darker and often more uncomfortable outside with each passing day. Dawn sets in later, dusk in the evening earlier. As dog owners, we still have to walk our dog, of course. You should always pay attention to some points that are different in the dark than in the light.

Safety in the dark: What do we need to pay attention to in general?

Most dogs can find their way around in the twilight and dark better than humans. However, their own perspective does not help them to be noticed by other road users in time. It is particularly important that your dog is clearly visible in poor visibility, whether in the dark or in bad weather. This is the only way you can protect him, for example, from suddenly appearing cars, cyclists or other road users. To ensure that you and your dog are recognised in good time and that you do not expose yourself to any risk, there are various options available:

  • Collar: In the darker half of the year, you can replace your favourite's collar with an illuminated collar. Lightweight, flexible collars or light tubes with integrated LEDs or LED flashing lights glow in the dark, visible from afar. Thanks to the battery and USB connection, the models are easy to charge and will light up reliably for several hours - you don't need batteries. As an alternative the collar should at least have reflectors or - even better - be equipped with a completely reflective upper material. If your dog has a very long coat, make sure that the collar is not covered by the coat. In this case, it is better to use a harness, safety waistcoat or light tags.
  • Leashes: No matter if drag leash or lead leash - many dog leashes are available in bright, striking colours. Apart from the safety effect, this also has a practical function: the modern materials such as mesh, polyester or nylon can be cleaned quickly and easily and are very robust. Leashes with reflective elements or even light leashes with integrated LEDs are ideal in the dark.

    dog with illuminated collar

  • Harness: Most harnesses are equipped with highly reflective elements and thus offers a good solution in road traffic. Light adapters and flashing lights can also usually be attached to the crockery very well and visibly. Tip: always use a flashing light directly on the centre bar on the back or on each side.
  • Reflective clothing: As a general rule, you should wear light-coloured clothing when walking in the dark. Light-coloured clothes are seen better and faster. Reflectors, a high-visibility waistcoat or reflective tapes also increase visibility. However, reflective clothing is recommended for optimum safety: Neon colours such as yellow, green, orange or pink and reflective stripes on clothing make you visible from a distance. Your dog can either be equipped with reflective clothing or with a high-visibility waistcoat.
  • Lamps: Lamps such as flashing lights, headlamps or torches are also useful for attracting attention. Powered by LEDs, they are usually very bright and long-lasting. Many lamps already have integrated rechargeable batteries with a USB port; batteries are no longer needed for this. An additional advantage is that you are not only seen faster, but you can also see better where your route is going. This minimises the risk of injury, especially on rough terrain such as paths in the forest.

    dog with reflective clothing

Fighting fear in the dark: 5 tips for relaxed walking

In addition, many owners ask themselves the question: Are dogs afraid of the dark? Just as it can become a tense situation for us humans, some dogs do not feel comfortable in the dark: their perception changes as daylight diminishes. Especially if you also have a different perception in the dark, you must expect your dog to adapt to this. If you are afraid of the dark or tense, your dog may feel the same. After all, your dog will feel how you feel. It is quite possible that your dog will try to protect you or feel threatened by people coming towards you and bark at them. Conversely, this means that if you are not afraid yourself, you minimise the likelihood of your dog becoming frightened.

The following 5 tips might help you:

Tip 1: Appear confident and fearless

If you are rather anxious during the gas round in the dark, try not to let your fear show and proceed with a safe step and straight posture.

Tip 2: Take the puppy out for a walk in the dark

If you still have a very young dog that is afraid of the dark, you can first take him for a walk in the gas, to get him used to the dark. You can gradually increase the distance and, for example, try out longer paths or choose particularly dark routes through the forest

Tip 3: Practising the route in the light

Practice the gas rounds first in the light, so that your dog is already familiar with the round in the dark and thus has less reason to fear.

Tip 4: Treats as a reward for your brave darling

If your four-legged friend feels threatened by the darkness, it can happen that he suddenly barks at trees or pedestrians. You can try to improve this by rewarding your dog as soon as he has successfully mastered an unfamiliar, scary situation.

Tip 5: Always travel with a leash

It's better to keep your dog on a lead so that you always have him under control in case he sees something scary. This is also essential for other road users, as your dog will also be seen less well in the dark, for example by car drivers and cyclists. If you have a dog that loves to hunt, you should be aware that there are more wild animals out at dusk and in the dark. It is precisely then that you should secure your dog accordingly.

How do you ensure that your dog is no longer afraid in the dark? Or do you have an intrepid daredevil? You are welcome to tell the community about your experiences in the comments, we look forward to your story and many tips and tricks.

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