When walking your four-legged friend, you should be especially careful on busy roads/bike paths. Other road users quickly overlook dogs with a dark coat, which can lead to accidents in the worst case. To avoid this and still enjoy your walk in the dark, you can prepare yourself a little.
Dog behaviour in the dark
Four-legged dog behavior can be significantly different in the dark than when walking in daylight. Instead of joyful pawing, curious sniffing, and agile romping across the lawn, suddenly everything is different in the dark. Much like humans, some dogs react in the dark in a reserved, skittish, and frightened manner.
Especially when passers-by are still wearing thick clothing in the cool season, with hats or scarves pulled deep into their faces, this can trigger a reflex in your four-legged friend that you may not even know yet. Dogs who want to protect their masters/masters often feel threatened by such dressed persons and show this by biting, barking or snarling. In such a situation your reaction is especially important: take the dog firmly on the leash and try to get him out of this situation by an alternative trigger.
Frightened dogs in the dark: What you can do
When walking in the dark, dogs are often startled when others are surprised by their appearance. Especially with dark dog breeds, it is helpful if you use, for example, a luminous collar for dogs, so that your four-legged friend can be seen from a distance. If it comes nevertheless to the fright moment, your fast reaction is in demand.
Pull the dog in your direction and speak to him with calming words. If you already know before your walk that your dog is jumpy, don't let him off the leash. To be even more noticeable, you can supplement the luminous collar with a luminous leash, reflective scarves or dog jackets.
Show your dog where to go: Flashlight as a tip against darkness
If you are on the way as a four-legged and two-legged team in the dark, you may not have enough light everywhere. Your four-legged friend has the ability to see optimally in the dark with his eyes. We humans often have a hard time with it, need some time until our eyes get used to the darkness and we find our way.
On your walk in the dark, you can light your way, literally. A small flashlight will help keep you safe on two and four legs. Small dog breeds in particular, whose shorter leg length puts them closer to the ground, will thank you. This makes it much easier to spot objects (stones or wood, for example) in time and pass over them effortlessly.
The flashlight also helps you to illuminate the ground. Who does not know it: Suddenly your dog chews with pleasure something which lies on the ground and often cannot be recognized in the fast at all what it was. At best, it's something that's harmless; at worst, something that requires an immediate trip to the vet. If you have a flashlight handy, it's easier to look at what's on the floor and examine the mouth area.
Tip: Headlamp as an alternative
If you don't want to walk through the dark with a flashlight in your hand all the time, there is a smart alternative: headlamps. They are simply attached to your head and illuminate the surroundings with your head movement. They hold best when you wear a cap underneath, because then the strap slips less easily.
Searching for dogs in the dark: It's easier with the GPS tracker
Your four-legged friend loves freedom and you don't want to spoil his fun playing, sniffing and exploring in the dark? In order to find your dog quickly at any time, a GPS tracker is helpful. It can be easily attached to a harness or collar and shows you where your dog is at any given time.
Most of these trackers have real-time tracking that is linked to your smartphone. You simply activate an app and in seconds you can see if your dog can find his way to you or if you need to spring into action.
Your dog is afraid of the dark? This is how you can take it away
If your four-legged friend is particularly fearful in the dark and doesn't dare go outside for his evening release, you should take action. This stressed state of your dog can have a lasting negative effect on the general well-being and especially on your relationship. To make your walk in the dark more relaxing for both of you, there are a few tricks you can use.
1. walk small rounds that you have already explored during the day.
2. establish the smaller rounds first and then gradually increase them after a few days. This is where your patience is needed, because your dog senses more than anyone else when you are impatient, which in turn stresses him out.
3. your dog is often afraid in the dark, if you are too. Many people dislike walking in the dark - four-legged friends sense this immediately. If you have a problem with darkness, you should practice it as well as your four-legged friend to give you both a pleasant evening walk.
4. during the walk in the dark, your four-legged friend may be tense all the time. You can use treats to counteract this and reward him. If he has mastered a scary situation and moved quickly(er) out of his fear mode, reward him with a treat.
Liability insurance, not only for fearful dogs
It's not just when walking in the dark and fearful dogs that things can happen from time to time. If a dog is startled, it may run into a bicyclist or even a motor vehicle. If the cyclist has to brake, falls, is injured or the bike is damaged, you may have to pay a lot of money. To avoid this, you should always take out liability insurance for your four-legged friend. These insurances are often available for just a few euros per month, but they cover exactly such cases of damage.