Let's face it: Despite of the pretty winter pictures, for many of us most of the dog training happens in the dark.
This time of the year we have daylight from eight to four. After teaching all day at the school and cooking at home, I'm ready to go out at five or six. Then it is completely dark.
A good headlamp makes most of the kennel-work easy. My choise is a rechangeable Petzl Tikka RSP, which is very bright, and also liberates you from bying one-way batteries all the time. But compared to daylight, it still takes more effort to check the dogs. To see how they are moving or feeling, you have to find them in your spot light one by one.
Harnessing and driving the team you need to be carefull. It's not only dark- it's also cold and icy. It's good to wear clothes and shoes that are warm and safe. I like work wear like Patron, Dimex or Blågläder on the training season. They are strong enough for working with dogs.
For safety it's important to use reflective materials also in dogwear and other gear. To prevent injuries it is important to walk the dogs before and after the training and also to keep the teams and speeds small enough when training in dark and icy conditions.
Sometimes my friends ask me, if I'm afraid of going to the forest alone in the dark. First of all I'm not alone. I have my dog team with me. And secondly: There is nothing to be afraid of in the forest. I am much more afraid of walking on the street in a city, because violent people are the only thing I am afraid of. In the forest there is no-one, so it is a very safe and friendly place also in the dark.
After weekdays there are weekends and holidays. Then I can go out in the morning and, if I'm lucky, drive my dogs in the sunshine. That is when all those nice mid-winter pictures with snow white sceneries are taken.