The daily dog walk can become a nerve-wracking experience if it involves taking your dog along a busy road. There are so many noises and distractions happening all at once with cars, bikes and lorries whizzing past that it can be a confusing and stressful time for dogs and owners alike. As a dog owner, any road traffic accident caused by your pet will ultimately be your responsibility and you’ll be liable to pay any associated vet bills as well as any necessary vehicle repairs too. With this in mind, it’s in everyone’s best interests to ensure that your dog is comfortable near busy roads and can act in a safe, calm manner when instructed.
One of the easiest steps you can take to ensure your pets safety near a busy road is to use a lead, and the shorter you can keep it, the closer your dog will have to stay to you. If your dog is prone to pulling when on the lead then it’s worth taking the time to get them out of this habit. The last thing you want is for them to pull you into the path of oncoming traffic when they see something interesting on the other side of the road. Keep the lead short and no matter how well trained your dog is, don’t let them off the leash when you’re in a high-traffic area.
You can use specific demands or keywords to help teach your dog to cross the road safely. In the same way that you’d use ‘sit’ or ‘stay’, you can teach your dog commands like ‘cross’ or ‘walk’ to help him understand when it’s best to start moving. Alternatively, teaching them phrases like ‘stop’ or ‘come away’ will also help to keep them under control.
During the winter months, or if visibility is poor, it’s a good idea for you to wear a high-visibility jacket or sash so that drivers can easily spot you and your dog. You could invest in an LED collar, reflective lead or a matching high-vis coat for your dog too to make sure you really stand out in the dark.
And lastly, make sure your dog can be properly identified with a microchip, or clearly labelled collar, and that you have sufficient pet insurance should the worst happen.