Although dark nights and cold weather are approaching dogs still need regular exercise. It can be so difficult to give your dog’s the regular exercise they have become accustomed too over summer as the winter draws in however if dogs aren’t exercised as needed it can lead to behavioural problems and boredom. Some dogs can become destructive and others adopt a low mood. Exercising a dog when the evenings are darker earlier can be difficult. These tips can help you give your dog the exercise they need.
The dark nights are the main burden when trying to exercise your dog. Invest in some good quality reflective wear for you and even a reflective collar or lead for your dog. This will help make walking in the dark evenings safer. There are many different collars with flashing lights that can help you see your dog whilst exercising in the evening and attaching a bell to your dog’s collar is a great help. If you throw a ball for your dog you can even get ones that flash and light up which will help the hunt for it as the light drops.Invest in a good quality torch that has good range so you can see well in front of you whilst walking. If you have time in the mornings and it is lighter then you could try walking your dog at this time for longer and just do a quick walk in the evening.
Having touched briefly on safety I think this is such an important factor for you to consider whilst exercising your dog in the dark evenings. It’s a good idea to walk your dog in an area with street lights and other public interaction. It is less safe to walk in a deserted park in the dark even if you always walk there in the light. Avoid listening to music or becoming distracted on a mobile phone. Loosing concentration can make you vulnerable and an easy target to crime. It’s not always easy but if you can avoid walking alone it’s always best to walk with someone else. If you have neighbours with dogs speak to them about walking together in the evenings to make it safer for both of you. When it is difficult to see because of the dark it may be best to avoid letting your dog off the lead. If your dog was to run off or chase something it could be quite difficult to relocate each other. Always let someone know where you are going and how long you expect to be. Take a mobile phone in case you need to call someone in an emergency if you for example have an accident. Always take a route you know and leave the exploring to the daytime when it is much safer and you can see a lot clearer.
Ask around your local pet shops and vets as there are some dog exercise classes on in evenings. These are usually in a flood lit field and give your dog an opportunity to run around with other dogs and gain well needed exercise. These classes do cost money and you would have to have transport to get your dog there. If you want to let your dog off the lead he would need to be vaccinated, neutered, well behaved and not aggressive toward people or dogs. Often these classes would recommend the dog stays on the lead at first whilst it gets use to the environment. Speak to the organiser of the class to see whether your dog will be suitable for a class like this and what the requirements of your dog will be.If you work long hours and find it difficult exercising your dog in the light you could use a dog walker a few times a week. Ask about in pet shops and vets as well known people come highly recommended by word of mouth. There is a charge for dog walking which varies by area and by individual. Check the person you choose is fully insured, reputable and knows what they’re doing. It’s a good idea to allow them to meet your dog before they walk it. If you want to save money there may be a local teen looking to earn some pocket money in your neighbourhood. Again ask around neighbours and friends for someone local and responsible and again allow them time to bond with your dog before they start walking them.
If walks in the week are reduced then you can make up for it at the weekends. Taking your dog out for the day to the beach is a great idea. Check the rules regarding dogs on the beach before you make your journey to avoid disappointment. If you aren’t local to the beach then look for long walks within your area. Take a ball or toy if your dog enjoys fetch or running. If you have a bike and your dog is trained you can cycle while they run alongside you this will allow them to use more energy and helps keep you fit too! If the walks around you becoming quite wet and muddy in the winter then purchase a good pair of wellington boots. Have an old towel ready at the door and dry any wet mud from your dog’s feet and belly then make them go straight to their bed until they have dried. This will prevent your carpets and furniture from getting damaged. Using a retractable lead helps give your dog freedom but still giving you the control of a lead. It will only allow the dog to go as far as you allow so you don t have to worry about losing them. It’s always harder to fit everything into the day when winter approaches and exercising your dog can definitely become more difficult. Remember above all else that the safety of you and your dog is the most important thing to consider. Most dogs will be happy with stretching their legs and having a good run on the weekends. Find the best compromise for you are your pet this winter.