Before we got our trail dog Brynn we were big fans of night rides and sunset walks or runs up the black mountains that surround our South Wales home and having Brynn hasn’t changed that, we just have an extra one to prepare for.
The number one item on our prep lists for nighttime adventures is obviously lights and making sure our trail pupper is visible is super important. Whether we are running up the sugar loaf to catch the sunset and back down in the dark or hitting our favourite trails, being able to keep track of Brynn is a high priority and the LUMI light has made this very easy. Now our trail pupper is a little green( or red) beacon lighting the way around the Brecon Beacons.
Going out at night can feel a little bit daunting, especially if like us you’ve got a dog breed with a very good nose and high prey drive. That dusk time when all the creatures are about causing lots of distractions whilst you’re losing your visibility could be a deterrent. So here are our top tips to nighttime adventuring with your trail dog, to hopefully inspire you to fall in love with nighttime adventuring too.
For a first time adventure at night choose a well-known location
If it’s your first time venturing out for a night time ride, run or hike, we would strongly recommend going to places you know first. You want to know your route and how your trail dog reacts in that place while you get used to being out in the dark.
Riding trails at night can be great fun but it can change them (stuff looks different in the dark) and the way you ride so you want to feel very confident riding in the dark before going and trying out new locations. And you definitely wouldn’t want to get lost or lose your trail dog in an unfamiliar location in the dark.
If you are going to go for new locations then making sure you’ve got a good map downloaded is a must, you never know what your signal is going to be like.
Being prepared makes the experience more fun, because you can relax knowing you have everything you and your trail dog need.
Here’s Brynns Night Time Trail Dog Checklist:
- Good lights for you and your pooch (make sure you’ve fully charged them before you go)
- Maps downloaded for route
- Whistle for snappy recall
- Treats or toy for high value rewards
- Water if its been dry or not good water source available
- Sleigh bells for added awareness of puppers location
- Reflective harness or collars
- Bungee lead for waist attachment if you come across any distractions (deer are Brynn favourite night time friends)
- Towel and Chill Breaker coat in the car for post-adventure clean up and warming up if its been a wet or cold one
There are a few things from our trail dog training that for us become even more important during our night time adventures with Brynn.
Following the Leader
We use behind command with Brynn for riding single track, keeping him behind whoever is leading keeps him out of the way and also keeps him nearby if we want to stop for any reason. With the brightness of the LUMI light this also helps not having a flashing light in your eye line while you’re picking your line. We also talk to him to keep his focus on us which can be vital for stopping him running off with that deer that just ran to the left of us.
If we are going somewhere new on our night time adventure this becomes even more enforced as he might not know which way or trails we are choosing, we might not either and we wouldn’t want him following a trail ahead of us and getting lost.
Behind command also comes in handy for walking and running down anything steep. We love a trip up a mountain and we’re very lucky to have many around us but sometimes the way down can get pretty steep or we might have a steep edge we are walking along so keeping Brynn behind stops him from pulling us over. And at night when you’re maybe picking your footing using your torch light it’s even more of a help to not have a dog under your feet.
For day or night time adventures we use the Bungee lead as a waist belt to keep our hands free for riding, running or scrambling up or down technical terrain. But it really comes in handy when we see signals of Brynn’s high prey drive. Either we’ve spotted those glowing eyes in through the forest shining in our torchlight or we’ve seen Brynn’s nose go up as he catches a whiff of something in the distance. Then we just pop him on the lead until we’ve passed the distraction and at night we have definitely noticed using this a bit more.
Just as our senses are heightened in the dark your trail dogs are definitely. So we always carry those High-Value Rewards
Brynn is a food-loving boy so we simply carry some of his food with us in our top tube bag for quick and easy grabbing and for snappy recall pair it with his whistle. Keeping him close by and focused on us and not other nighttime loving friends.
So we hope our top tips have helped inspire you to head out for some nighttime adventures, see you on the trails. – Jess Kev and one very very well behaved and well trained German Wirehaired Pointer Brynn.
To follow more adventures from Jess, Kev and Brynn, follow them on Instagram at the link below