How to keep hikes with your dog safe and fun for all
It’s hard to beat having a canine companion by your side for your favorite outdoor recreational activity. However, if you’re out on trails with the pup, it’s important to follow a few rules to keep the experience safe and fun.
1. Pick up your dog’s poop
Wild animals might be leaving their poop trailside, but that doesn’t mean your dog’s feces should meet the same fate. Leaving your pet’s poop behind for nature to take care of can introduce all sorts of non-native bacteria and other things to the ecosystem.
2. Don’t leave your filled poop bags behind.
Now that you’ve picked up your dog’s poop, remember that you also need to bring the poop bag with you. Many hikers seem to forget this, likely operating under the assumption that they’ll remember to snag the bag on their return trip. However, judging by the number of filled poop bags often seen on the trail, many hikers are a bit forgetful.
3. Follow the posted leash laws
Leash laws exist for many reasons, and following them could save your dog’s life. If a leash law is required, it might be to protect nesting wildlife; it might be due to a hazard such as a poisonous plant or an unseen cliff drop; it might be to protect other dogs on a crowded trail.
Remember, just because your dog is well-trained and well-behaved, other dogs they might encounter may not be. Help prevent a nasty situation by following the rules.
4. Don’t harass the wildlife
Don’t let your dog bark at, chase or threaten wild animals you might encounter on the trail. Not only is this illegal, it’s also very bad for the wild animals. It’s stressful and can lead to death in some cases.
5. Keep off the grass and out of the water, when asked
If there’s a sign posted requesting that you keep your dog off of a certain terrain feature or out of a certain water source, there’s probably a good reason. Perhaps a dangerous pesticide was recently applied or a deadly algae is present; a number of concerns can prompt these warnings. For the safety of your pet, please follow the posted rules.
6. Yield the right-of-way
A lot of different people head to trails for outdoor recreation, including runners, bikers and hikers. If you’re got a dog on a leash, yield the right-ofway to passersby. Make sure your dog and the leash aren’t in the way of someone else, and when possible and responsible, step slightly off the trail to allow for safe passing.
7. Know your pup
If you pup isn’t good on the trail, it might be best to leave your dog at home. Some dogs have anxiety and aggression that might prevent them from being safe around other animals.