In my spare time I enjoy mountain biking and during the winter I head up to the snow fields for some skiing, these sports have colour coded runs based on the terrain and skill level of the participant. And just like mountain bike and ski runs dog walking locations could be colour coded too, being aware of the conditions and you and your dogs’ skill level means you can take responsibility for the difficulty or ease at which you want to walk and train.
Effectively training a dog is about learning to make the most informed decisions while you are walking your dog. There are no ‘run police’ on the ski slopes telling you that you cannot go down a particular run, you must make this decision based on a realistic understanding of your skill level. The same should occur when walking your dog, think about the distractions present, your dogs’ skill level, the equipment you have with you (such as food), temperament of your dog and your level of confidence before entering any area.
Examples of graded areas (streets and park spaces) may include the following.
GREEN AREA- Beginner dogs and handlers
- Fully fenced
- High visibility around the area and beyond
- Low likelihood of other dogs, bikes, joggers etc being present
- Very wide footpath widths or wide nature strips
- Very low road traffic
- Very low foot traffic
BLUE AREA- Intermediate dogs and handlers
- Open dog off lead park
- High dog traffic usually off lead
- Average footpath widths
- Some nature strips
- Moderate foot traffic
- May have some blind corners which can be avoided
- Other dogs, mostly friendly
BLACK AREA- Experienced dogs and dog handlers
- Open area
- Dense bush and shrubs
- Wild animals present such as rabbits, wombats, possums, kangaroos
- Other dogs (friendly or not) may be present on or off lead
- High amount of foot traffic
- Narrow footpaths
- High amount of road traffic
- Blind, unavoidable corners
If you are having trouble walking your dog go down to an easier colour. If you were a beginner skier you would not attempt a double black diamond run, the same goes for you and your dog. Be realistic about you and your dogs’ skill level so you can make an informed decision about where you choose to walk your dog, your enjoyment of the walk and training progress depends on it.