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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi,
I have posted about this a couple of months ago but I am still finding that it is playing on my mind so I am hoping hearing what others say will help.

I live in a small village and am fortunate enough to be able to walk to footpaths across fields and through woods etc from the house. Although there are quite a few dog walkers in the village I can often walk without seeing a soul - which I like in many ways as it is nice to be just be Ruby and I. However I also still feel vulnerable and find my self frequently watching my back which tends to make me rush the walk to get back on the safety of the lane.

I do walk with other friends and their dogs as well but it is not always possible to arrange this. I sometimes walk early in morning or later evening when it may not be convenient for them and also it is nice not to necessarily plan every walk for the same time/place and just go when I feel like it. What I find hard is that I love the countryside and enjoy walking but can't get this feeling that someone might be following me.

I have 2 young children and over the holidays we have been going out together and the other day we took Ruby to a privately owned woods which we have permission to walk in. We were on our way out when a suddenly a dog bounded up to us. I turned around to see a man with another dog coming out of the trees and he called his dog back. I know most people in our village and had never seen him or his dogs before. He quickly turned and walked away without saying a word. My daughter, who had been walking slightly behind me, said "Mummy I saw him before you". So this episode freaked me out as well.

I know people will call me paranoid and say that nothing is likely to happen but it does and I bet those it happens to never thought it would.
I could only ever walk with someone else and I could only ever walk in very public places but that is not what I expected dog walking to be about.

Can anyone offer me some words of wisdom and advice on how to make me feel better about walking on my own.

Thank you

Chloe
 
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I think you have to get things in perspective. :wink:

I've walked my dogs on my own (mostly) for years. I walk the woods and fields, sometimes seeing other people but a lot of the time not. In all those years I have heard of one woman attacked with a hammer and that, it turned out, was by someone she knew. Whereas I know quite a few people who have been mugged, some violently, in urban areas, in broad daylight, with other people around them. I was attacked myself as a teenager on a train in the rush hour.

I would rather be in the woods on my own with my dogs, than in any lonely carpark in Basildon, because of the amount of muggings/attacks that happen there. If anything I feel much less vunerable if I have my dogs with me, because they always spot someone well before I do and come to tell me.

I won't say I don't have the odd wobbly moment, when all of a sudden a man (sorry men) without a dog appears in my path or behind me. But then I tend to pull myself up to my whole 5ft 4-ness, look them in the eye, smile and say Hello. At least then they know I have got a good look at them and I can judge much better their intentions by their reaction.

I won't let fear of what "might" happen, stop me from doing what I enjoy, whether that is walking my dogs in the woods, or having to used the London Underground on a day out (I'm a bit claustrophobic and 7/7 didn't exactly inspire confidence).

Be logical and don't let fear rule your life. :wink:
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thank you Jules.
You have put it into perspective brilliantly!!
I agree that I can't keep thinking about what 'might happen' - otherwise we might as well stay at home 24/7.

I guess I just needed someone like you to sort me out - but it was also reassuring to know that you do have the 'occasional wobble' too.

Many thanks

Chloe
 

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The worst I've had whilst walking the dogs, is a flasher in the ally, and that was 5 minutes from home, in town, and I didn't even realise what he was doing until I was alongside him! 8O

Take your mobile with you, hold your keys in your hand if you meet anyone you think may be dodgy (with the keys sticking through between your fingers incase you need to jab them!) and walk with confidence. I also sing loudly if I'm nervous, which should be enough to put all but the bravest nutter off approaching me!

I know it's hard to rationalise things if you have the heeby-jeebies, but I really do think that you are a lot safer walking alone in the countryside than through town on a Saturday night.

Becs and The Gang
 

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Chloe, I'm with you! I understand how you are feeling, and equally agree with what everyone else has said.

I've been thinking about what it will be like to be walking in the dark. I also live in a small village and enjoy some very rural walks.

I decided that I would vary my route each evening, but tell OH where I'm going. I've got a flashing collar for Poppy to wear so I can see her and so others can see I'm with a dog. I shall take a torch with me (nice bright halogen one that can be shone in someone's face if I don't like their vibes!). I will also have my phone and keys (I'm a great fan of the keys between fingers trick :wink: ) And I shall sing loudly if I get worried!!!!

OH thinks I'm mad to worry, completely nuts! But I am a natural born worrier about these things so I do them to make myself feel safer and then, having taken all the precautions that make me feel comfortable, I can enjoy myself.

We all have our own little fears and foibles, but walking Poppy alone and in peace is like a little piece of heaven for me so I do what makes it work.

Clarissa x
 

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I often walk Echo on my own across fields and woods and see nobody. When it is dark it is a little more scary especially if the fox runs out. I carry a panic alarm in the dog bag. It may also be possible to get some "pepper" spray if it is still legal- maybe try ebay! Hopefully I will never have to use the alarm but the noise it makes would quite put someone off!
 

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As Jules said, I would rather go for a wander in the woods or along a grassy track than cross a large carpark alone.

Invest in a rape alarm. They're only a couple of quid but work well to temporarily disable any potential assailant by making their ears hurt...lots!
You can get tiny ones which attach to your keys. Mind you don't set it off accidentally in the car though :lol:

edited to say Gah, Maw beat me to it!! :p
 
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Had a shower and a think :wink: . Have you thought about taking a Self Defence course?

After my "incident", it really knocked what little nerve I had and I was almost ready to quit my job in London for fear of it happening again. But then I spotted some local Self Defence Classes and it was the best move I ever made.

They weren't all about swift kicks to the groin or any Martial Arts, it was mostly good common sense advice about how NOT to let yourself be a Victim. Yes it did give you methods of getting out of certain grips but it was much more about distraction, looking confident (no one really wants to pick on the person who looks like they will stick up for themselves), staying calm and being able to talk your way out of things. It helped me hugely and I would recommend anyone taking a course.
 

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I live ina built up area with lots of groups of young boys hanging around and i wallk my dog on my own, its not practical for to have my hubby and 2 mids in tow for the daily walks.

I have a personel attack alram, my keys are always between my fingers and this bit of advise i got from when my son went to tae kwan do....no matter what size or build you are the elbow is strongest part on anyones body it packs a really good hit.

Sad as it is i do;t go near the parks near me at nite time....just wouldn;t put myself in the situation as most of lads and girls hanging around are drinking.
 

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I usually walk in the middle of nowhere, half the time i don't know the route let alone my OH....even then he's not home until 8pm at night so it would be no use.

I don't worry so much in summer but in winter I dress 'blokey' lots of layers and I push my hair up in a hat. I carry a stick and an alarm. I vary my routes and my times and *sometimes* i'm smart enough to leave a note on the wipe board at home with when and where i've gone.
I don't think there's much more I can do. Basil wouldn't hesitate to alert bark at a weirdo....he did the other day at a twitcher dressed in camo hiding in the undergrowth...or at least I hope they were a twitcher 8O

Now we have Nellie, Basil is having daily games of crocodile where he displays all his teeth in play, it sort of looks like a warning snarl to a none doggy person- i'm thinking of clickering it and giving it a 'guard' command.....of course he's be wagging his tail with it wating for a treat but it may just save our bacon one day.
 

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I got scared the other week when walking in the woods alone and I'm a man! There was this sudden rustling in the bushes and it made me think of an episode of the X-Files! ;)
 

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I walk my 2 through the woods and along the riverbank and then on to the beach, we also have a Marine Walk that we sometimes take. I do sometimes feel uncomfortable if it is dusk or really closed in weather but feel safer walking here than taking my dog out in the evening in Swindon 20yrs ago!! Even people you dont know here, give you the 'time of day'.

I expect even the most secure person would have the occaisional wobble.

I guess the media is alot to blame, things get blasted out of all preportion in the press so no-one feels really safe anywhere. Sad isn't it? :)
 

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Take a phone or a wee alarm and keep it in your hand! Then enjoy yourself - life is too short to be governed by fear of 'what if?' It might never happen, and think of all the enjoyment you will have missed worrying about it!
 

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I can understand the fear, I quite often walk alone with the dogs and have had a few wibbly moments. It's unusual to see someone walking in the fields without a dog so if I do see a man who's dog-less I tend to worry a little. Like others I always try to talk to people - and have got to casually know a lot of dog walkers that way, so at least I quite often see a friendly face in the distance.

I take my mobile phone with me and I have an alarm keyring (and yes, not good to let that go off accidentally in an enclosed space and then throw it, hand grenade-style, across the room so it gets stuck behind the tv still going off :oops:).

I had one experience with a man who was walking through the fields and we almost crossed route but he was just hanging around in a particular field, when I thought he would have moved on ages ago by the time we got there. I went back the other way that time and had phoned hubby, just in case. Other than that, everyone has been fine, even the dog-less men :lol: I will talk to anyone which I think has helped.

I'm another who would be much more wary of going out in town on a Saturday night - some things are just best avoided at my age :lol:

I could do with some sort of not-too-heavy foldable stick to complete my "kit" and carry it through the straps under my camera bag.
 

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I do think of this sometimes, because I am the usual dog walker in this family, and I am normally alone.

I won't let that fear stop me going out though. I live in a small town near the Essex/Herts border and we are surrounded by fields and farmland. The oddest thing I have come across personally when out in the local fields was a man playing a trumpet. :D

I do always have my mobile with me. I might buy myself a stick to take on walks soon too. :p

I used to have a pedometer which also had a personal attack alarm as part of it too, but Charlie bounded up to me all excited one day and caught his paw in the pull-string. :roll: It went off, and the racket drew some looks from a couple of other walkers!! 8O

Helen.
 

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Yes i to walk alone at times.I visit the woods near where i live.Sometimes we come across a man dressed in army type clothing,he has a greyhound type dog and he lurks behind trees.When i first saw him i was very concerned,but we have seen him quite a lot recently.I think he lurks because he is not sure of his dog.I should say he never lets the dog of lead.Anyone not sure would be frightened if they saw him.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Thanks everyone for all your responses.
I now realise that I am not the only who has these 'wobbly moments' but I need to put everything into perspective and stop it from ruining the lovely walks that I can have with Ruby.

As a consequence of the posts I have been looking online for personal alarms and also a better dog walking bag which will allow me to access anything I might need quickly. I will then feel more confident when I am out on my own.

Can anyone recommend a good dog walking bag as there seem to be quite a few different types around. I am thinking something that doesn't look like I am on a SAGA coach trip!!!!!

Thanks again

Chloe
 

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I understand where you are coming from, I get this too as I am always alone with my dogs. I am ok during the day but evenings I don't tend to go to the woods after 7 as kids start to hang around.

I always take my mobile with me but like other have said I often vary my route when I am out so I tend not to tell OH where I am off to, excet for the general vicinity.
 

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I just use a very basic but roomy bum bag that I bought in Millets. Anything from there or Army & Navy type stores should do the trick. I also have a rucksack if I want to carry more, which I bought from our Agility club.
 

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