Practice good etiquette when hiking with your dog.
Hiking is one of the most natural activities we can do with our canine companion. Because dogs evolved from wolves, the chance to explore, sniff, and romp through the woods is a pursuit that brings them great satisfaction. Plus, it’s probably pretty good for the humans walking by their side too :-)
But while you are out there, please remember to share the space respectfully with others enjoying the trail.
Here are a few key things to keep in mind when you hike with a dog:
* Remove waste from the trail.
Being out of the city doesn’t exempt you from cleaning up after your dog. No one wants poo on their shoe, whether they are wearing a high heel or a hiking boot!
But, when you are in the woods, you have the choice between picking it up and packing it out OR knocking it off of the trail. It is ok to let it decompose along with the other animal waste in the woods - just don't leave pet waste where there is potential for someone to step in it. If you can see it, clear it from the area.
* Having your dog off leash is acceptable only IF:
a) You have a rock solid recall.
b) There are no other people in your vicinity.
If your dog is not good about coming back when called, keep the dog on a leash or long check cord. (And keep training to achieve that recall!)
As soon as you see someone else on the trail, get your dog back to you and secure them with the leash. Even if you have a world champion obedience competitor and there is zero possibility the dog will leave your side, put the leash on anyway. Some people are afraid of dogs. The physical connection of the leash is for the benefit of others.
Plus, we should never meet and greet others unless it is first approved by all parties.
* Don’t allow your dog to chase wildlife. This goes hand in hand with having a solid recall.
* Keep your dog with you when approaching blind turns in the trail. It is important to know what is out in front of you, particularly if your dog is off leash. If you can’t see around the bend, keep your dog with you until the view ahead is all clear.
* Spread some good karma out there. If you see trash, pick it up. A small broken tree limb across the trail, move it. Mother nature could use our help.
Enjoy the scenery and be respectful to those around you. Head out for a hike with your dog…it doesn’t get much better than that!