9 Ways To Practice Low Impact Hiking With Your Dog
By Doug Gelbert
Every time you hike with your dog on the trail you are an ambassador for all dog owners. Some people you meet won’t believe in your right to take a dog on the trail. Canine hikers have all had the experience of returning to a familiar trail and encountering a brand new NO DOGS ALLOWED sign at the trailhead.
When you hike with your dog, be friendly to all and make the best impression you can by practicing low impact hiking with your dog:
1 – Pack out everything you pack in. Your dog can help with this. Train your dog to wear a dog pack that can serve two purposes – helping you with the burden of food and drink and also to haul away trash you find or create on your hike.
2 – Do not leave dog scat on the trail; if you haven’t brought plastic bags for poop removal bury it away from the trail and topical water sources.
3 – Hike only where dogs are allowed.
4 – Stay on the trail. Do not allow your dog to trample plants by running through the woods.
5 – Do not allow your dog to chase wildlife. This is as much for your dog’s safety as for the wild animals. Small mammals may be sick with rabies and a frightened deer can kill your dog with one swift kick. You don’t want to think about dealing with a dog after an encounter with a skunk or porcupine.
6 – Step off the trail and wait with your dog while horses and other hikers pass. Non-dog owning trail users will appreciate this simple act of courtesy.
7 – Control your dog when approaching other dogs and people. You know your dog is friendly but others don’t.
8 – Do not allow your dog to bark – people are enjoying the trail for serenity.
9 – Have as much fun on your hike as your dog does.
I am the author of over 20 books, including 8 on hiking with your dog, including the widely praised The Canine Hiker’s Bible. As publisher of Cruden Bay Books, we produce the innovative A Bark In The Park series of canine hiking books found at http://www.hikewithyourdog.com During the warm months I lead canine hikes as tour leader for hikewithyourdog.com tours, leading packs of dogs and humans on day and overnight trips. My lead dog is Katie, a German Shepherd-Border Collie mix, who has hiked in all of the Lower 48 states and is on a quest to swim in all the great waters of North America – http://web.mac.com/crudbay/iWeb/Katies%20Blog/Katies%20Quest.html I am currently building a hikewithyourdog.com tours trailer to use on our expeditions and its progress can be viewed at http://web.mac.com/crudbay/iWeb/Teardrop%20Trailer/Building%20A%20Tour%20Trailer.html
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