Hiking etiquette with dogs

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What's your opinion of off-leash dogs while hiking?

Fine with me. I love dogs!
16
12%
Doesn't matter to me if the dog doesn't bother me or others.
38
29%
Only small dogs that aren't/don't appear threatening.
3
2%
Its OK on low-use trails.
26
20%
Its OK but I will brandish my firearm if I feel threatened.
7
5%
It depends on if the owner picks up the poop or not.
12
9%
Never. There's a law requiring leashes for a reason.
28
22%
 
Total votes: 130

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chumley
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Hiking etiquette with dogs

Post by chumley » Mar 24 2009 10:36 am

There was a recent thread about rabid foxes and the threat to unleashed pets which got me to thinking about hiking with my dog. I have a yellow lab, who is by nature, a people-loving dog. His greatest threat to anybody is the ability to possibly lick you to the point of illness due to his bad breath. He's getting old and has always been a little bit lazy, so chasing rabbits, squirrels, skunks, and porcupines only lasts for a few yards before he comes back to me. He is always fascinated (but scared) of larger animals such as elk or cattle.

As a result, I frequently hike with him off-leash. This allows him to stop and sniff things while I continue my pace uninterrupted. I am cognizant of other people however and realize that not everybody loves dogs. If I encounter others, I always try to either put him on his leash or at least give him a "sit" command while people pass. I will always restrain him when we encounter other dogs (especially off-leash) until I've had a chance to talk to the owner and determine the demeanor of the dog.

I love to go somewhere that there's nobody else around for miles and miles ... but its nice to share that solitude with my dog. Often it is impractical to have him restrained, especially on trails that involve climbing or scrambling over obstacles.

So, what do you all think of dogs on the trail? I think part of my responsibility as a dog-owner is to try to understand the feelings of others, and while I have some ideas, it can't hurt to get more input.
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gringoantonio
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Re: Hiking etiquette with dogs

Post by gringoantonio » Jul 20 2009 11:04 pm

joe bartels wrote:
gringoantonio wrote:only if you have 100% instant and 100% reliable recall on your dog
Unfortunately regardless of what some dog purist might think, I don't think it's ever 100%.
You haven't met the right dogs . . .

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dozersmom
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Re: Hiking etiquette with dogs

Post by dozersmom » Aug 07 2009 3:14 pm

I understand that some people are afraid of, or just plain dislike dogs, and I feel that we should all take pains to respect the communal nature of our hiking trails (pick up waste, don't allow your dogs to molest the flora or fauna, etc.) However, part of the joy of hiking with a four legged friend is allowing your dog off leash, to run and play and experience the wilderness as a dog, rather then experiencing the suburbs as a dog, which, let's face it, is probably pretty boring. I always keep mine leashed until we are well away from the trailhead, and somewhat isolated from other parties. Then, it's off leash for my two canines, who still stick pretty close, but are free to take an extra sniff at something on the trail or bound ahead a few yards before bounding back. I ALWAYS leash up when I see people coming, because I don't know how they'll react to my dogs, and I want to avoid making any one feel uncomfortable. My greatest problem lies in the reactions of many people. When they see me stop, call my dogs, and leash up, they often make comments as we're walking past: "You're not supposed to let your dog off leash," "keep your dogs under control," (um.. hello? I just leashed them. Clearly they're in control.) "Don't want to get caught, huh?" That last one is the worst! I didn't leash up because I felt like I was doing something wrong, I leashed them because I want to be respectful of whatever neurosis you might have.

If a dog bothers you, you're free to say something. If the mere sight of a dog off leash bothers you, and creates a storm of "what-if" scenarios in your head that leads you to stop and lecture me, you have larger problems then my dog's approximately 15 second presence in your life. You say off leash dogs ruin your hiking experience? Sanctomonious, self-riteouse jerks ruin mine. Like I say, if an offleash dog interacts with you in a manner you don't like, you're free to communicate that. If not? Mind your own business, continue enjoying your hike, and let us enjoy ours.

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azbackpackr
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Re: Hiking etiquette with dogs

Post by azbackpackr » Aug 07 2009 3:28 pm

Oh, my goodness, that was the best rant I've read in a long time! Dittos from up here on the mountain!

However, I rarely do encounter other people on the trail up here, and if I do they almost always have dogs, too. I usually have mine on a leash before they've even noticed I'm coming toward them. I put the leash on as a matter of courtesy. Some of these other folks don't even have their leash with them!

When I read all these posts about "urban interface" hiking trails I really do have to count my blessings.

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Re: Hiking etiquette with dogs

Post by PaleoRob » Aug 07 2009 5:40 pm

dozersmom wrote:"You're not supposed to let your dog off leash,"
Are they saying this because your dog was off-leash in an area where it is supposed to remain on-leash? Or are they under the misconception that there is a state-wide leash law? Because if its the first, as a dog person, I gotta agree with them. I think that the reason dog rights are so restricted across the southwest is that people have abused the privileges they had with their dogs. I always have my dog on a leash, and when I see people letting their dogs run loose on a trail where I am abiding the laws and they aren't, I think great, here's some "laws-don't-apply-to-me" person who's going to help get dogs banned on this trail. Sanctimonious? Maybe. But maybe I'm looking out for other dog owners as well.
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Jeffshadows
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Re: Hiking etiquette with dogs

Post by Jeffshadows » Aug 07 2009 8:37 pm

Do all the name calling you want. If I ever encountered your dogs off-leash and they bothered me, they might have a bad day...and that's a fact. Guess what? I'm by no means alone...
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Re: Hiking etiquette with dogs

Post by Ckzona » Aug 08 2009 10:50 am

Jeff MacE wrote:Do all the name calling you want. If I ever encountered your dogs off-leash and they bothered me, they might have a bad day...and that's a fact. Guess what? I'm by no means alone...
If that ever happened on a very popular trail I understand you. But I mean if you are on a trail that is rarely used its your choice to let the dog loose. If its in the white mountains or pinaleno mountains I generally will not let the dog loose because of all the wild animals. But if Im in Flagstaff on one of the trails no one uses I usually let my dog get some freedom and run around freely. IF a person approaches my dog she will run back to me to get her leash on. So if you have a decently trained dog and can control it you can let it loose.

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Re: Hiking etiquette with dogs

Post by PaleoRob » Aug 08 2009 4:38 pm

charkellyaz18 wrote: But if Im in Flagstaff on one of the trails no one uses I usually let my dog get some freedom and run around freely. IF a person approaches my dog she will run back to me to get her leash on.
That's what the fella that ran into Harold Fish had running through his mind, too, I'm sure.
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Re: Hiking etiquette with dogs

Post by SuperstitionGuy » Aug 08 2009 6:39 pm

PageRob wrote:
charkellyaz18 wrote: But if Im in Flagstaff on one of the trails no one uses I usually let my dog get some freedom and run around freely. IF a person approaches my dog she will run back to me to get her leash on.
That's what the fella that ran into Harold Fish had running through his mind, too, I'm sure.
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azbackpackr
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Re: Hiking etiquette with dogs

Post by azbackpackr » Aug 08 2009 6:43 pm

In this part of the state it's pretty much a non-issue, out in the woods. In town, now, that's another story. Loose dogs have caused a lot of problems, and the dog catcher is a pretty busy guy. Being a cyclist, I appreciate the ol' dog catcher, and call him several times a year.
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Re: Hiking etiquette with dogs

Post by Jeffshadows » Aug 08 2009 8:31 pm

azbackpackr wrote:In this part of the state it's pretty much a non-issue, out in the woods. In town, now, that's another story. Loose dogs have caused a lot of problems, and the dog catcher is a pretty busy guy. Being a cyclist, I appreciate the ol' dog catcher, and call him several times a year.
Point well taken; there's probably a big difference between the White Mountains and canyons near Tucson.
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Re: Hiking etiquette with dogs

Post by imike » Aug 09 2009 1:11 am

over in Tucson, one of the reasons given for keeping Dogs out of certain areas (finger rock trail for one..) was even the scent left by their passing created problems for the Big Horn Sheep population, I do not know if that was a valid reason, but we do have a system of give and take, structured as law, to try to balance a variety of issues. We can always go and work to change any ordinance we think is wrong... to simply arbitrarily defy the law for one's own self benefit makes for a very poor communal and societal dynamic. It is simply selfish... no matter what rationalization is used to justify it.
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Re: Hiking etiquette with dogs

Post by azbackpackr » Aug 09 2009 3:56 am

I don't disagree that dogs should be kept out of certain areas. Also, I have hiked Tucson's Pima Canyon Trail (and this was many years ago) and have seen even leashed dogs getting into fights as hikers passed one another. Now, that was totally ridiculous, and I never hiked that trail again unless I started walking before first light, so as to avoid all the dog walkers who generally wouldn't show up until later. I assume that is one of the trails where dogs are now banned.

Another topic is working dogs: Hunting dogs cannot be leashed to be effective--at least, not bird dogs. Nor can cattle and sheep herding dogs be leashed while working the herd. If rules have to be made to protect the Pusch Ridge bighorns (if there are any left!) and to protect the public peace and safety on certain busy trails, or for any other reason, let these not be blanket regulations, but be specific to the area or trail. Generally, people who own working dogs and are using them for the purpose for which they were bred (what a concept) don't hike on tourist trails. They generally range off-trail. Also, they generally train their dogs pretty well.

On the South Fork Trail, I sometimes meet a guy on horseback who actually lives in South Fork (near Eagar) who raises hunting hounds. Yes, they are for hunting bears, which I wouldn't want to do myself, but he is not breaking any laws we have up here, and is a nice man, and his dogs are voice trained and don't bother me. He takes them out to work them, to train them. It is quite a spectacle to see, a cowboy and half a dozen flop-eared red hounds. I always forget my camera, though.
Last edited by azbackpackr on Aug 09 2009 8:45 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Hiking etiquette with dogs

Post by Jeffshadows » Aug 09 2009 7:38 am

azbackpackr wrote: Also, I have hiked Tucson's Pima Canyon Trail ... I assume that is one of the trails where dogs are now banned.
No dogs beyond the Forest Service boundaries anywhere in the Front Range of the Catalinas. I think you can technically have your dog along the county easements into Pima and Ventana, but why bother?
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Re: Hiking etiquette with dogs

Post by joebartels » Aug 18 2009 11:58 am

Not hiking related but...
Aug 18, 1:25 PM (ET)

By KATE BRUMBACK

LEXINGTON, Ga. (AP) - An elderly woman killed by a pack of wild dogs had been out for a walk when she was attacked, and her husband died trying to fight off the mauling animals when he discovered the bloody scene near their rural Georgia home, authorities said Tuesday.

Preliminary autopsy results showed Lothar Karl Schweder, 77, and his 65-year-old wife, Sherry, died from multiple animal bites.

Authorities rounded up about 11 dogs Monday and returned to the area Tuesday to find four more spotted by a deputy. The dogs were being held by animal control officials while authorities decide what to do with them, said Jim Fullington, special agent for the Georgia Bureau of Investigation.

"It just appears that a large number of dogs had started living, running together, multiplying and had grown into what I would describe as a pack of wild or feral-type dogs," Fullington said.

Sherry Schweder had told one of her sons that there were several dogs wandering the neighborhood that no one seemed to be caring for, Fullington said.

Authorities said it appeared Sherry Schweder was attacked by the pack of dogs during a Friday evening walk near her home. Authorities believe her husband later went looking for her in the family car.

Investigators found Sherry Schweder's bloody shirt underneath the car, which was about six to eight feet from her body, said Madison County Coroner James Mathews.

Lothar Schweder was then attacked and apparently struggled with the dogs, Mathews said. His body was found on the other side of the dirt road, about 16 to 18 feet from his wife's body.

Evidence indicates Lothar Schweder put up a fight and may have tried to pull out a cell phone before he was overtaken, Mathews said.

Authorities said they interviewed a man at a house down the street where several dogs were staying. Fullington said the man was not staying at the house full time.

Fullington could not say whether anyone would face charges, citing the ongoing investigation.

A family friend told the Athens Banner-Herald that Lothar Karl Schweder was a retired professor who had taught German at the University of Georgia, which is about 20 miles away in Athens. German Department head Martin Kagel did not know of Schweder but said it might be possible he worked there part time or more than 20 years ago.

Sherry Schweder was a bibliographer at the university's library, where she had worked since 1974, selecting books and journals for the school's humanities collection, said librarian William Potter.
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Re: Hiking etiquette with dogs

Post by Al_HikesAZ » Jan 19 2011 10:18 pm

jeffmacewen wrote:...If you have a rotty, shepherd, or other aggressive dog that runs up on me or my party, it might just get shot. Yes - I'll actually do it, too; then I'll go make camp and sleep like a baby and never think about it again. . . .
Shame on you. Wasting good dog meat. :STP: You barbeque it right and it's very tasty and pulls right off the bone. Tastier than goat IMHO. :A1:
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Re: Hiking etiquette with dogs

Post by kingsnake » Jan 20 2011 8:34 am

Does it taste like chicken? :sl:
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Re: Hiking etiquette with dogs

Post by paulhubbard » Jan 20 2011 8:49 am

kingsnake wrote:Does it taste like chicken?
Probably more like rattlesnake! ;)
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Re: Hiking etiquette with dogs

Post by imike » Mar 22 2011 11:10 am

...interesting trailhead experience... just finished my hike, 100 yds from the trailhead and a group just starting out had three dogs, off lease, prancing around... the largest (80lb?) ran up to me, I stopped, put my hand out for him to sniff... then, ... a brief growl and a leap for my neck! I tucked my chin into my chest and caught the bight in my face... better than getting my throat ripped out. Walking up to the owners, dripping blood:

The owners response..."..Ow! We should of told you to ignore him... if you ignore him he's fine."
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Re: Hiking etiquette with dogs

Post by paulhubbard » Mar 22 2011 11:29 am

Wow... I would have been tempted to pick up the biggest rock within reach, smack him in the face, and say,"Oh, I'm sorry... you should have ignored me."
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Re: Hiking etiquette with dogs

Post by kingsnake » Mar 22 2011 11:33 am

You should file a police report. Seriously. :o
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