Autumn/Winter walks in the dark

(23 Posts)
catsbeensickagain Sun 18-Aug-19 14:58:04

My dog was a puppy last year through the darkest bits of the winter so although obviously we walked him in the all the dark and cold and wet it wasn't particularly far, and by the time he was ready for long walks and runs (cocker spaniel) it was spring and there were longer evenings.
So, stupid question alert, how do I do this? I live in a village with no street lighting - obviously a big torch is a necessity, but most of our favourite walks are through woodland and over fields which are just not do-able in the dark. Do any of you change your walking habits for autumn/winter? Am I being a wimp to not fancy deserted lanes after dark given I will have the dog with me?

OP’s posts: |
Floralnomad Sun 18-Aug-19 15:01:15

I never walk my dog in the dark , he gets 2 walks a day of between 45 mins and an hour each and they are just moved about through the seasons so that they are always in daylight . Partly because I don’t like going out after my evening meal and also because of how he is I wouldn’t be able to let him offlead in the dark so it would be a boring pavement walk for him anyway . He just uses the garden in the evening for bathroom breaks if necessary .

BiteyShark Sun 18-Aug-19 15:08:26

When my dog (also a cocker) was younger I did try and walk him at night in the forest with a head torch. He wasn't that keen and looked more spooked than I did. I have noticed that he doesn't like walking even along the street at night so we just keep to daylight walks.

catsbeensickagain Sun 18-Aug-19 15:20:04

Thanks both - he will have a nice long walk around lunchtime (over an hour), but he is usually full of beans at around 6pm so we usually do 30-40 mins then too. Obviously I suppose he may not fancy it in the dark other than the pre-bed round the block sort of stroll?

OP’s posts: |
MissShapesMissStakes Sun 18-Aug-19 15:43:06

I read somewhere that a short-distance sniffy walk will tire them out as much as a long off lead walk. So can you have a pavement walk round the block but let him stop for every sniff and let him sniff for as long as he wants?

GrumpyMiddleAgedWoman Sun 18-Aug-19 16:48:37

You might be surprised how much you can see if you let your night vision have a chance. Obviously if it's pitch black and pissing down you can't see a bloody thing, but a bit of moon, or the stars, or some ambient light from houses or cars not too far away, or the just-set sun can let you see a surprising amount. I walk mine before work, which in the winter ensures I see a lot of sunrises and there's actually something a bit magical about setting off into the almost-pitch dark, and then slowly being able to identify colours and eventually it being light.

You will also learn the route in the dark, too, and be able to navigate by some very minor cues.

Both my dogs have flashing collars like tacky Christmas trees, and their recall is good when they're out together.

Jouska Sun 18-Aug-19 17:22:30

I do walk in the dark in the winter and it is part of S&R training so something we have to do.

A good head torch is vital and I do have collar lights for the dogs which we use sometimes. I love being on the moors in the dark and sunrises are the best time ever. Quiet and usually just me and the dogs.


Jouska Sun 18-Aug-19 17:24:22

Catbeensickagain if he has had a good walk in the daytime you could change his evening routine to be a indoor training session at 6pm - the brain work would work as much as the walk.

missbattenburg Sun 18-Aug-19 20:25:57

LED collar so you can find him.

Head torch so you can see your way.

Don't be surpised if he's a bit nervous during your first few dark walks, just while he gets used to it.

adaline Sun 18-Aug-19 21:50:59

You can buy light-up collars for the dog, or just use a regular collar and attach little LED lights to it. I also take a head torch so I have both hands free at all times.

However we don't go anywhere too adventurous in the dark - most of his walks are pavement walks. We're rural so anywhere else just isn't safe/practical in the dark unfortunately - too much risk of broken ankles or falling into an unfenced stream!

Luckily due to work he doesn't have to do many late-night walks! He gets easily spooked in the dark and doesn't enjoy them much.

SlothMama Mon 19-Aug-19 10:46:59

I have a small LED torch because I walk along a canal and don't want to miss step and fall in. My dog wears a LED collar so I can see where she is, which is useful when she runs off in the field chasing a squirrel.

Floralnomad Mon 19-Aug-19 13:11:59

What you also need to keep in mind is that more rabbits , foxes etc are out at night if you have a dog that will chase things .

LochJessMonster Tue 20-Aug-19 11:44:45

A head torch for you and a light up collar and bell for him so you can see him.
Our walks are slightly shorter in the winter months but I actually prefer it as I see less other dog walkers out so my dog gets to run off lead more.

joystir59 Wed 21-Aug-19 21:39:32

Our dog's winter walks move earlier in the afternoon as the nights draw in. He naturally wants them earlier in the winter.

StrongTea Wed 21-Aug-19 21:43:24

Head torch and lights on dog collars. Luckily have a tarmac gated road nearby so no traffic.

AvocadosBeforeMortgages Thu 22-Aug-19 10:40:52

My kit largely involves a flashing USB rechargeable light up collar, head torch, chuck it glow in the dark balls and a ball chucker

Oh, and a ski jacket.

I pick parks where there's still reasonable footfall after dark and try to stand near a pathway while chucking balls. I'm often cavalier with my personal safety, but even I have my limits as I don't live in the naice end of town.

sillysmiles Mon 02-Sep-19 13:37:02

During the winter my dog gets both of his weekday walks in the dark due to our schedules - we live rurally - no street lights. A good head torch and hi vis jacket for the human, LED collar for the dog. LED collar means you can let him offlead and still see him. I only walk roads not forest on those walks and save the forest walks for the weekends during the winter.

Span1elsRock Mon 02-Sep-19 13:41:05

We do our main long walk in the morning, and then a short 15 walk after work. Our dogs have LED collars and I've got a powerful rechargeable torch. We stick to our familiar walks just because I know they won't get lost! Mine seem to happily adapt to less walking in winter (cocker and sprocker spaniels).

PragmaticWench Thu 05-Sep-19 10:55:29

With our last dog we had the light-up collar, plus a light up ball to chase. Walks at night were also a good time to do some training, so less about romping around off the lead.

spiderlight Thu 05-Sep-19 11:36:15

I occasionally have to do walks in the dark. I'm lucky that our house backs onto an enclosed field that only residents can access and we know pretty much everyone who goes out there, so I don't have to worry about bumping into anyone scary! LED collar, flashing ball and a torch for poo-finding are all essentials.

MrsZola Sat 07-Sep-19 22:57:07

When I did dark winter walks I actually found it easier not to have a torch on all the time. If I did it ruined my night vision and I found that I couldn't see anything outside the pool of light. I couldn't see other people walking towards me, which didn't feel very safe. I did carry a small torch to find the poo to pick up.
Current DDog is scared of the dark and as I've changed my working hours, she only gets daylight walks. She won't even go in the dark garden by herself.

RidgedPerfection Sun 08-Sep-19 19:21:08

I run with my dog every morning at 0430 am, so much of the year it's done in darkness. I live rurally so no streetlighting or pavement bar 200yards or so through our village. I wear a head torch and also have a bright LED harness for myself if I am on lanes; my dog is run in a harness with lots of reflective bits on and either a very bright light up collar or a bright light attached to his harness.

Dontgiveamonkeys1350 Sun 08-Sep-19 21:11:30

I used to walk in the woods in the dark to walk my springer as he was dog reactive and that was the only time I could get him off the lead and run off some energy.
This didn’t really bother me to be honest. Not sure who would be waiting in the woods at 5am. Never felt worried. But I understand this is not for everyone.

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