Dog walking in the dark(13 Posts)
The nights are drawing in, the local naice park now shuts before I can walk PestDog after work (and this will be the case until March) and the other areas where he can be let off the lead are, frankly, a bit rough / secluded / not well lit. No one in the household drives and the nearest half-suitable, 24 hour park is half an hour away on the bus, which isn't practical every night.
As a woman I'm concerned about my own personal safety - if I was attacked, PestDog would be about as much use as a chocolate teapot. PestDog needs quite a bit of walking (ideally involving an extended game of fetch) otherwise he turns into AwfulPestDog.
Not technically my dog, but I have taken on a lot of responsibility for walking him on behalf of a friend whose work hours changed, so please don't question me on why I didn't think of this before I got a dog! It also means that getting a dog walker isn't really a sensible solution as I'm not paying for someone else's dog to be walked and the owner doesn't have the money for one.
How does everyone else manage?
Sorry not totally clear, are you saying you can’t walk him at all because you’re concerned about your safety out at night?
Or are you saying the sort of walks you can manage aren’t enough to keep the awfulpestiness at bay?
If it’s the first, is there anyone near by, neighbour or a friend (that drives) with a dog who you could maybe walk with?
If it’s the second, what about more ‘brain games’ to keep his mind in check? Of course dogs need physical exercise but when that’s restricted, for whatever reason, brain games really can help.
The sort of walks I can (reliably) manage aren't enough to keep his awfulpestiness at bay - I can walk around the local residential streets, but there aren't any safe and parks where I can let him off without getting the bus. Realistically, we're talking a couple of hours of walking laps around residential streets with him if he can't be let off as he'd normally be chasing balls / squirrels / playing with other dogs and generally walking far further and faster than I do. Two hours of walking residential streets in the dark depths of winter will be zero fun.
I've got a light up collar on order for the park that can be reached by bus, but it's the other nights I'm worried about.
No car here, and no friends or relatives with one either - I'm in London, very few people own a car, and both friend and I have moved here from other parts of the country.
He's got 'brain game' toys like a Kong Wobbler, but as he's fairly young it's solid physical exercise (e.g. lap of the naice mid-sized park + min half an hour of non-stop game of fetch) that he needs in the end. There were a couple of days earlier in the week when we could only manage short walks and he became AwfulPestDog again.
What about scent and brain games to wear him out, plus lead walking.
Where are you? Via PM if you don't want to post as I bet there's somewhere nearer. It was only after getting a dog I realised what makes a park suitable for walking a dog.
Ten mins if scent games = 1 hour if walk in terms of tiring a dog out. Can you hide his kibble around the house or garden? Sometimes I sprinkle a tin of fish in the garden and the dogs search for ages.
Training games - hide and seek in the house. Take a look at kikopup with her games (can't remember if YouTube or Facebook). What about an evening agility class or obedience class? Watch YouTube in beginner's agility and make a small course in your garden or house with buckets/broom/chairs, things to weave in and out of. Find out how to use clicker if you don't already and teach to do obedience or even dance.
Sorry - ten mins of scent games = 1 hour of walk
Scent games, indoor training are great for a dog in the winter when they might miss the occasion walk due to weather, but I cant see it being good for a 10 min scent game to routinely take the place of a good walk for a hyper dog for 5-6 months of the year.
If you cant get to an offlead park walking the streets is really the only other alternative if you cant get a walker or go to indoor classes. Can you get someone to walk with you if you feel unsafe, another dog owner in the area? Make sure to change where you walk, even if it is the same street in a different direction to keep it interesting.
Any way you could switch around so that the longer walk gets done in the morning? Even if it means getting up at silly o'clock before work?
Or do an hour in the morning first thing where he gets to chase around and then a more sedate hour-long walk after dark in the evening.
Or get your friend involved where she can commit to a defined schedule of walking her own dog. She can't be working 24 hours per day so she needs to step up when she is not working. Again, if the only time she has is 7am until 8.30am then she should be doing that, not just abdicating responsibility and leaving it to you to figure out for the next 5 months.
Near me (south east) there’s lots of evening training/agility classes which are usually in a school hall or similar in the winter. Could you find one local to you and go a couple of times a week? That would help.
Another thought.....could you become a runner? Crams in the miles in less time and you feel less vulnerable/bored if you are running.
You might be able to join a running group which allows dogs?
Which area of London are you in? I'm in SW so know a few good off lead places if you're anywhere near.
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