I am now having to walk Becca in the dark before work. Soon it will also be dark when I get home in the afternoon. Becca is timid when we walk in the dark, and honestly I'm not much better. Some acorns fell down behind us one morning and we both jumped about a foot.

I live in a relatively safe neighborhood but I have been wondering if I should take more safety measures. I always have me cell phone and a whistle with me. I have been debating getting pepper spray. Does anyone have any suggestions? Becca would hide behind me, and couldn't be counted on for protection.

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I would like advice also. We live in a nice neighborhood, but running into a coyote is a possibility. And I'm not too good at finding lost poops in the dark. I am thinking of wearing a headlamp. I am ashamed to admit that daily walks have not been a routine of the past, but Snickers needs her therapy walks for her knee now and I'm not going to miss them because of the dark.

I use a dedicated fanny-pack for all dog stuff.  I wear an old climber's sling over my shoulder, with the leashes attached to that by a carabiner.  It would be easy to hang a pepper spray on that.  Or keep it in a pocket.  It must be INSTANTLY available.  One of those little headlamps should be useful, hands-free.  Wear bright, reflective clothing -- getting hit by a car is probably the greatest danger. 

You could get a mastiff.  :)

And then bring a wheelbarrow for the mastiff's poop bag?

I do wear a reflective vest. A headlamp is a good idea. I tried a flashlight, but it was hard to juggle a flashlight, leash and poop bag. I wear a bait bag for Becca and a small pepper spray could fit there. I like the climbers sling idea as well.

I keep the headlamp around my neck, off, and turn it on only when I need it (we have well-lit streets).  Headlamps are easily lost:  you forget you have it on your head, then you take off your hat...

I have cat bells on my dogs' collars to hear them at all times, and when we are out playing in the dark (completely fenced yard but lots of trees to sniff and sticks/leaves to destroy), we have these little blinking collar lights to see them easier across the field. I have a mini backpack that I keep my poo bags and such in. Could keep a clippable light+bell in there with your leash so it's easy to find in the morning. Might not be a huge safety precaution, but it works for us pretty well.

I still am not brave enough to walk at night but do go on morning walks. I always carry pepper spray and when I am in a scary area or if I am walking in the evening I will hold the container ready to use. I'd say just stay in well let areas and walk with confidence (even if its fake). People can tell if you are timid/scared and that would make you more of a target. I have never had any issues (knock on wood) walking at night, but my landlord has given us dog owners permission to turn the tennis courts into a doggie park for night time fetch sessions. You need a key to access them and they are partially lit so I've been doing that instead of walks at night.

I do have a leash that I purchased that has a flashlight, and compartment for poop bag.  I have seen reflective leashes.  A vest for both of you would be a good idea, maybe pepper spray.  

Hi Marcie,

In Massachusetts, human pepper sprays are not legal, however animal repellents are.

Residents of Massachusetts may only buy self defense sprays from actual licensed Firearm Dealers within that state.

HOWEVER, you can buy animal repellents such as dog or bear spray.

I carry bearspray whenever I go camping in bear country, never had the privilege of discharging one yet. Word of advise, practice once, know the distance and check for wind direction before discharging one. My bonehead college roomate discharged one in the university cafeteria :) Lunch was cancelled.

I also put a flashing LED on my dog's collar, I use a cheap bike light from the dollar store, of course you can purchase a proper one with built in LED collar too.

In my opinion, setting off a 120 decibel personal alarm may even work better, I tested one, it's kinda like having a smoke detector going off next to your ear, very easy to use and definitely gets more attention than blowing a whistle.

If you are walking in areas you were walking in before and the only thing that has changed is the amount of light, the biggest danger is not being seen.  Light yourself and your dog up.  I clip lights to my dogs and myself (spot lit by nite ize) that come in a variety of colors and you look like a christmans tree walking down the street.  I also have a leash that lights up, however, I need to get new batteries for it for the upcoming season. I probably would not walk in an area I am not familiar with for the first time in the dark.

Just took my first evening walk where I needed an umbrella, and gloves as well.  Juggling two leashes, poop bags, and an umbrella is a skill that gets rusty over the summer, but I should be up to speed in no time. A jacket with lots of pockets helps.  Trying not to get bogged down with carrying too much stuff is the biggest difference between a summer evening walk and a winter evening walk.

Find some walking partners.  Not only do you feel safer but you are more likely to go out if somebody else is counting on you.  I walk once a week with some friends with corgis and our dogs lit up bring a smile to many people. Cars stop to ask us where we get our lights and to comment on how happy our dogs look.

Find well lit areas even if you may have to drive to them. Vary your routine - do not do the same walk at the same time everyday.

I love walking in the dark, there is a sense of peace and solitude you don't get in the daylight.  Get out and enjoy yourself.

Beware of the dangers and be prepared but put things in perspective.  Do you think of all the things that could happen if you stayed at home?  If I felt I needed to carry pepperspray I would probably trade my corgi in for a doberman.

I have run into a coyote on a walk,  We just froze and waited while the coyote sized us up and when it turned around and left we continued.

I always attach a small flashlight to the handle of my leash as well as carrying one. It waves around and makes us more visible. Also, Reflectors on the dog collar are good and light clothing for yourself make a big difference. I do also walk with a doberman so feel pretty safe....as long as no one realizes how friendly she is!

I talked to our school resource officer who is a deputy sheriff. She told me to get the strongest pepper spray that is legal. In Maine I think I can get about any of them. I think I'm safer in the morning than at night, even though I'm stuck walking at the same time each day. I know who on my route is up and around when I walk, a couple of them watch for me. I'm going to look at vests for Becca this weekend.

My last dog was on the small side, but he would bark. Becca is the only non barking corgi I know. She only barks when playing with other dogs, then rarely.


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