Alas, it’s winter. After seeing a December storm batter the mid-west with very cold temperatures, snow and ice, I feel compelled to remind everyone of taking your safety, and that of your employees, seriously. I mentioned this in my book, but it deserves it’s own blog post. Please do not walk on icy streets without some kind of traction control for your feet!
Perhaps the most dangerous part of the job besides crossing busy streets is walking on ice. If you live in an area of the country where freezing temperatures are common you will need to be prepared. Dogs are unpredictable and may lunge or pull suddenly, taking you off your feet, even on dry pavement! When on ice, it’s ten times more likely to happen.
Not to scare you, but I knew a woman who was so badly injured by being pulled down by her dog, that she spent over a year in rehabilitation. She was pulled forward by her large-breed dog on an icy sidewalk. The momentum created by her dog, and sliding forward uncontrollably, was enough to do serious damage. She tried to prevent her fall with her arm as she collided with a telephone pole, breaking her arm in several places and fracturing her leg and hip… not pretty. If you’re walking more than one dog you can multiply your chances of being taken down exponentially. This doesn’t have to be the case. Like any other kind of safety measure (wearing a life-vest, seat-belt, etc) when employed, it will help prevent you from becoming a statistic.
Invest in a traction control device such as Yaktrax®. You basically slip these on over your boots. They are made of wire wrapped rubber and help you gain traction by biting into the ice in the same way tire chains do. There are two basic styles: the Yaktrax Walker® and Yaktrax Pro®. I used the walker version because when I bought mine, they didn’t have the pro version yet! The pro version is more durable and stays in place better than the walker version. If you haven’t already done so, pick up a pair today. Don’t put it off, include them with your Christmas shopping from Amazon. You can’t walk dogs if you’re stuck in a hospital bed or wearing a cast on your leg.