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Seasons Change


I don't know about you, but I love it when the leaves start turn to orange. Living in the beautiful Forest of Dean I can enjoy the beauty that is Autumn.


With Autumn just around the corner, it has got me thinking about how seasons affect our dog walks. This may or may not be something you have thought of yourself. But I believe seasons have a big effect on how successful our walks are.


When you own a reactive dog, the days of simply grabbing the lead and stepping out the front door, whilst your mind is still on other things are a thing of the best. A reactive dog owner must be prepared, alert, and have a plan.


One of the subjects I address with my clients is planning your walks. One of the many things we discuss is the location, time you go, and options for changing direction or gaining more space.


These factors are significantly affected by the seasons and therefore affect the success of your walks.


Let's go through the seasons individually and see what I am talking about.


As we are about to approach Autumn we will start there.


During the Autumn months, the green leaves and ground foliage such as Bracon and nettles fall back and start to change from bright green to oranges and browns. The thickness of the forest floor affects our visual. Tall nettles and Bracon often mean we cannot see far ahead or around the corner, but now with them falling back and dying off, we can. So we gain an advantage here. The color change however can pose more of a challenge. Think about the color of a dog's coat against the foliage. When the foliage is lush and green most dog breeds tend to stand out. However, in the Autumn breeds which have brown or black coats are going to be harder to see. Our tri-colored dogs almost become camouflaged. I know my German Shepherd Nessa goes camouflaged during this season.

Therefore seeing off lead dogs against this backdrop of browns is going to be very tricky, which could see you pumping into a few unexpected, and we know how that's going to go!


Winter

Winter means dark mornings and dark evenings. This means our options for choosing the "quiet" walk times i.e. crack of dawn or late evening after work are no longer an option. Everyone is trying to walk their dogs in the short window of daylight, meaning that walking locations tend to be busy most of the time between 9am and 4pm. But wait you are at work during those hours, so how do you get your dog walked?


This can be tricky indeed. Investing in a dog walker that does 1-2-1 walks is probably your answer. Or hire an exercise field that has floodlights or a barn rental.


The winter has the advantage however of clear pathways, and extremely low foliage meaning you can have a good visual in the winter.


Spring

Spring is probably our best friend. The days start to get longer meaning we have more options on our time of the walk, to avoid other people and their dogs. The foliage is still low enough that we still have a good visual, and the color of everything is between brown and green, but mostly green.


Summer

AH! British summer. This can be equally as difficult as winter. The time of walks can be restricted due to the intense heat (when we get it). On the other hand, if we do not have the intense heat (most likely) then we have more time options with the sun rising around 5.30 am and setting around 10pm. Foliage is up high making vision difficult, also your options for gaining more space by going off the path and into the undergrowth are no longer an option unless you want to get caught up in brambles or stung the death by nettles!


And the heat affects everyone's mood, not just your dogs, meaning thresholds may be lower than normal.


Then let's not forget those of us who have children! Summer means six weeks off school! This on its own makes walking the dog even more challenging.


So, as you can see seasons can have a big effect on the success of our walks. This is why planning is so important. We can change where we walk during different seasons. For example, during the summer we may rent out an exercise field or find an open field location so we do not have the challenge of the high foliage. Likewise in autumn to avoid camouflaged dogs we may choose the same open plan locations.


During spring we have many more options and will most likely be able to enjoy a successful forest walk.


I hope this helps you to start thinking about walks differently. Once you start to understand how to change your approach to your dog walks, things will become so much easier for you.


Planning walks is just one little segment we cover in my behavior modification programs for dog reactive dogs. You can get more information about my programs and what they cover by booking a free discovery call with me.


To book simply reply to this email saying 'BOOK CALL'.


Thanks for reading!


Gemma

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