Safety when walking the dog
Taking your dog for their daily walks is one of the pleasures of owning them but before heading off to the park or round the streets, it’s worth thinking about how you can both enjoy your walk and stay safe. Fortunately the risks are low but you can reduce them further by taking the following precautions.
If walking in the park, consider meeting up with other dog walkers – it’s true what they say about safety in numbers
If you do decide to walk alone, plan your route carefully and whenever possible let someone know where you are going and what time you expect to be back.
Avoid using the same route and going at the same time every day.
Aim to look confident and in control of both your dog and any situation you are in.
Whilst it might be nice to take the quiet routes and feel like you have the place all to yourselves, it is always safer to stick to busy routes and busy times when there are plenty of other walkers about. If you are walking in a park, try to stay in open areas where you can see around you and be seen by other walkers.
If you’re walking around the streets, ensure you walk towards oncoming traffic to avoid kerb crawlers.
Avoid wearing headphones or chatting on your mobile phone when you are walking, as they prevent you from hearing danger approaching. You need to stay alert to your surroundings at all times because the sooner you become aware of potential danger the easier it is to avoid it.
Think about carrying a personal alarm with you, which can be used to disorientate and shock an attacker.
Always act on your instincts – if something looks or feels wrong it probably is, so don’t wait for your fears to be confirmed, get away from the situation as quickly as possible. This can also apply to your dog. If they uncharacteristically start growling/the hair on the back of their neck stands up in a situation, they could be sensing danger so take action to remove yourself from the situation.
Be aware that your dog may frighten others, especially children, so make sure they are under control at all times and that they do not run up to or jump up on strangers. People may react to this aggressively.
Remember – take common sense precautions and never rely on your dog to protect you.
Article courtesy of the Suzy Lamplugh Trust
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