Hazards and Risk Assessment

09/02/2022

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HAZARDS AND RISK ASSESSMENT

A hazard is any danger in the environment. You can’t always avoid them, but you can prepare by thinking ahead and planning appropriate action.

What constitutes a hazard depends on you and your dog. They can be things that worry or over-excite your dog. Or places where your dog could get into trouble or where visibility is poor. Sometimes hazards can appear suddenly without warning.

You can handle hazards by creating space or using activities and games you have taught your dog to help them cope better in challenging situations. Having an exit strategy will help you get out of tricky situations as quickly as possible.

Using equipment like a long line ensures you can get your dog back in an emergency.

When walking your dog, being aware of potential hazards is important but you’ll also want to be able to assess the risk in any situation in order to plan the most sensible course of action.

What is the likelihood of something going wrong and what is the worst-case scenario if it does?

Sometimes the worst outcome is not serious, so you may be able to take a risk. Other times the worst outcome is disastrous and you need to be really careful.

For example, walking your dog along a short narrow lane where you’re likely to meet people isn’t a problem if your dog has an excellent U turn. The worst case scenario is that you will retrace your steps a short distance.

However if your dog is triggered by other animals and you’re walking past a field of livestock it is best to keep your dog on a lead. The likelihood of the fencing being damaged is low, but the worst outcome is that your dog gets into the field, attacks the livestock and is killed. This risk is just not worth taking!

Think about hazards in advance. Assess the risk, plan your response and you’ll be well on the way to stress-free walks with your dog.

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