We all love walking our dogs, and whilst a stroll with your favourite companion can be relaxing it's important to be vigilant of your surroundings and to take precautions to ensure that you stay safe. We don't want to scaremonger, but like anything in life something as ordinary as walking your dog can come with it's dangers so it's important to be prepared and not take it for granted. We've put together the following list of recommendations that you can do to stay safe and enjoy your walks.
Plan your walk
Our walks are guides only and based purely on personal experiences of our visits at the time. We've provided as much information as we can to help but always plan your own walks - know where you intend to park, plan your route and how long you expect it take. If the walk has a website look it up to check any updates such as car park locking times, any closures of routes etc.
Take your phone, and make sure it's charged
We don't tend to go anywhere without our phones these days so this is easy for everyone, but they can literally save your life. Many locations are not busy, so it could be a very long time until someone may come by if you need help for any reason so make sure you have your phone on you.
Ideally don't go alone, and always tell someone where you're going
It's important that someone knows where you are and when you expect to come back. Some terrains can be dangerous; slippery and steep uneven ground and it doesn't take a lot to lose your footing or for something unexpected to happen so it's incredibly important that someone is aware of where you are, and can help if needed.
Use a GPS tracker App
If you're going to the same park you've been to dozens of times and taking the same route you know like the back of your hand then this may not be necessary, but particularly if you are visiting somewhere for the first time these are absolute saviours. I use Mapmyrun to plan my route maps, we have no affiliation with them and there are many others available but I would absolutely recommend that you have one installed prior to going anywhere. Particularly when exploring new areas, even if you're not measuring your route it's so helpful to have a quick glance every now and again to see how far you've gone from your car, and make sure you haven't accidentally gone in the completely wrong direction for the last 20 minutes! I like to think I have a decent sense of direction, but some areas can be bewildering with numerous paths, obstacles and different directions to take and this has helped me on many occasion!
Take a personal attack alarm
This sounds extreme, but if the threat of anything unthinkable is there then this is one thing that is certainly better to have and not need, than to need and not have.
Think about vehicle security
Many locations have car parking spots that are very remote and not easily seen from public areas. Car thieves do operate in these areas and it's important not to make it easy for them. Ensure your vehicle is locked and secure, and make sure that there are no valuables on show through any windows.
Be aware of hazards
Think about roads, grazing cattle, farm vehicles and machinery, water hazards such as currents, ice and sluices, weather conditions, local uses such as motorbikes or shooting. This is incredibly important to not just your safety but to your dogs as well.
Be alert, and aware of yourself and your surroudings
Know where you are and what's around you. We recommend not wearing headphones or hoods as they can reduce your awareness of your surroundings, and don't have expensive jewellery or items on show. Don't go out at night time or when there's a risk of it getting dark before you are finished your walk.