Dogs are increasingly becoming popular trail companions. With the vast amount of dog-friendly hiking trails across the U.S., it’s no surprise you’ll often come across quite a few on your weekend adventures. There are dogs that sniff you when you walk by, dogs that could care less about your presence, and then there are dogs that are a menace.
Hiking with your dog brings an inherent responsibility: maintaining its conduct. It is up to the owner to ensure you have control of your dog in any possible situation that might arise. This can range from keeping your dog in control around other animals or simply ensuring it stays near you while you hike. Animal behavior can be unpredictable and unexpected at times, but these 10 rules can aid you in ensuring a pleasant hiking experience for both you and others you might encounter on the trails.
Keep Your Dog on a Leash
Hiking with your dog may seem like the ideal opportunity to let Fido roam free. Letting your dog roam leash free is not only illegal on most trails, but also dangerous. Just a few reasons why it can be detrimental to both you and your pooch include:
- Increasing your dog’s vulnerability to wildlife (mountain lions, rattlesnakes, and other predators)
- Encountering another aggressive dog
- Wandering into dangerous plants (poison oak, poison ivy)
- Walking onto unstable ground
- Risk of getting lost