Racine & Me: Dog walking safety

Racine & Me: Dog walking safety

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RACINE, WI (CBS 58) -- Stephanie Nespoli with the Wisconsin Humane Society joined us virtually to provide dog walking safety tips. 

Those tips are the following: 

It’s starting to get dark outside earlier, but our furry friends still want to take their evening walks. There are a few things you can do to stay safe out there:

  • Try to walk on well-lit streets. This helps drivers see you – and helps you to see everything around you. If there aren’t any well-lit roads nearby, invest in a head lamp or flashlight.
  • Consider reflective or light-up gear for you and your pet; a vest or a coat for yourself, and a combination of a light-up collar, harness, or leash for your pet. It’s another way to make yourself more visible to drivers.
  • Keep your dog leash about 6 feet and avoid retractable leashes. When it’s dark outside, it’s much safer to have your dog close to you, especially near busy roads.
  • If the weather isn’t ideal – if it’s raining or foggy – think about holding off on that evening walk and choose a fun, indoor activity with your pet instead.

If you’re like me, and you see someone walking their dog, the first thing you want to do is go pet it. But before you do that, keep these things in mind when meeting an animal for the first time.

First – ask the owner if it’s OK to pet their dog. Some animals need time to warm up before being approached. Others may simply prefer to not be petted by strangers at all.

If you get the OK, let the dog approach you. Crouch down, stay still, keep a quiet voice, and hold out a fist for the animal to sniff. Pet them under the chin instead of on top of their head.

Don’t force the dog to approach if they aren’t comfortable. Some signs the dog may be uncomfortable are stiffening, licking their lips, excessively yawning, or vocalizing. If you notice any of these behaviors, it’s best to let them be.

With any dog interaction, there is always the unfortunate possibility of a dog bite occurring. We also have some tips on that to help keep interactions safe.

  • Always ask an owner’s permission before approaching a dog you don’t know, no matter how cute they are or how friendly they seem.
  • Do not try to pet dogs who are behind a fence or in a car as dogs often protect their own space.
  • Pay attention to the dog’s body language. A loose, wiggly dog is happy; a dog who freezes or stiffens their posture is uncomfortable or stressed.
  • Socialize and exercise your own dog. This will help them adapt more easily to the stress of new people and new situations.
  • Supervise your dog around people, especially kids who may not know how to appropriately behave around animals.
  • Spay or neuter your dog – altered animals are less likely to bite.

For more information you can visit their website here

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