Dogs on the trail... sans leash...

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Thoreau
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Dogs on the trail... sans leash...

Post by Thoreau » Dec 19 2009 8:11 pm

I had an 'interesting' experience today while hiking Thompson Peak that I think illustrates at least one reason why leash laws/rules exist.

Let me start out by saying that if something as simple as this got my heart racing the way it did, I can't even imagine what it would be like to be dealing with a human instead of a dog (and Harold Fish had to deal with BOTH)...

Anywho, I was out on the trail to Thompson Peak today. Great hike (holy s&&& it was steep towards the end!) and all went well. Until about a mile or two from the end on my way back out.

I was coming up a hill and looked up to see a pretty good sized dog at the top. I had enough time to notice that it had tags hanging from a collar, so was able to immediately rule out stray and wild animal, which almost set me at ease. Unfortunately, the dog (looked to be a doberman mix of some type) noticed me and began growling/barking. No owner in sight. A few seconds later the dog made some false charges in my direction at which point my hand went to my H&K. JUST as it was about to come out of the holster, the owner appeared at the top of the hill on a mountain bike and managed to get the dog back under voice control and to back off (took 2-3 tries to get the dogs obedience.)

Owner apologized immediately and all was well, but that's probably because he never noticed I was carrying.

In that short time, I was amazed at how something so minor could pump that much adrenaline into the bloodstream. I've never even been charged at by a dog before in my life, but even while armed it was an experience to remember.

Why the hell do some dog owners think it's okay for them to let their dogs off leash in public places? I mean, it's not like every hiking trail, preserve, forest, etc. doesn't have signs up reminding people that dogs must always be on a leash. That's as much for the protection of other people as the dog/owner. That poor dog, through NO fault of its own, was only about 1-2 seconds away from being introduced to a .40 (or 14). All because some owner can't follow simple, basic rules.

For added fun, all that dog's barking got the attention of a nearby pack of coyotes who were then singing away for the remainder of my hike out. As if native wildlife isn't reason enough for a caring dog owner to keep the dog under control at all times...

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Re: Dogs on the trail... sans leash...

Post by PaleoRob » Dec 21 2009 6:29 pm

Jeff MacE wrote:Only a person who has no human children of his or her own could ever feel that way about a pooch!!
Exactly. And some of us can't have human children...
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Re: Dogs on the trail... sans leash...

Post by hippiepunkpirate » Dec 21 2009 6:38 pm

rdavisiii wrote:I hope he and that dog got eaten by a Yeti.
:sl: My cat's name is Yeti
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tahosa
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Re: Dogs on the trail... sans leash...

Post by tahosa » Dec 21 2009 8:18 pm

While doing parols for the USFS in CO, dogs off leash was one of our worst problems on the trails. Not only did the canines endanger other hikers who may of had dogs with them or hikers without dogs. But to their own selfs, its not a pretty sight when a dog meets a big cat. And the dog is on the losing end real quick. Leash laws intentions are mostly for urban scenarios, not for areas where Mother Nature is in charge. Actually its not the dogs fault but the dogs owner who needs to know how to train their dog.

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Re: Dogs on the trail... sans leash...

Post by writelots » Dec 22 2009 10:29 am

Jeff MacE wrote:Only a person who has no human children of his or her own could ever feel that way about a pooch!!
I don't know... my mother has two children (one of whom is quite engaging and fun and spends much time with her, the other of which is me), but I know that she would agree 100% with the stance that animals have rights and values as family members. Without even being joking, I would never want to put her in the position of choosing between her human children and her canine children. Although I know blood ties would win out, I think that the sacrifice would go beyond devastation for her. And it has always been so - it's not just empty nest syndrome. We were raised with brothers and sisters who happened to be four legged and furry - and I have continued in my adult life to value my pets as family. Some people think that this is an inappropriate way to view/treat companion animals - okay. But I won't tell you what's right for your family's happiness, if you won't tell me what's right for mine. I think this country would be a heck of a lot better off if we used a similar approach on other (more controversial) subjects as well.

It's a tender topic for me right now... Old Paula, our 15 year old lab mix, is fading quickly and will likely not see the New Year. We got her from the Humane Society when we were still engaged, and she was my only regular hiking companion for the first eight years of our lives together. Although bad hips and sensory problems stopped her from being a good hiker several years ago, she's still been a loyal, loving and entertaining kid to have around. The biggest drawback of having your pets as your children is that their lives seem tragically short in comparison to our own. I'm sure, when she's gone, she'll be running the trails of "doggie heaven" (whatever that is), off-leash, carefree and ridding the celestial sphere of the cheeky squirrel menace!
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Re: Dogs on the trail... sans leash...

Post by Jeffshadows » Dec 22 2009 10:49 am

People are free to feel whatever way they choose about their pets, I agree. What I absolutely DO NOT agree with is giving animals rights reserved for human beings under the law. We have enough problems putting rapists and murders away as it is, we needn't burden the system further by allowing tort claims and criminal actions over pets.

Before this gets out of hand, I want to make it clear that I am not advocating abusing animals of any character in any way. We eat many of them and I'm not suggesting mistreating those animals, either. My position is this: If a person murders another person with premeditated intent and soundness of mind, he or she should probably be immediately executed. If that same person were to kill a dog under the same circumstances, he or she should probably be forced to undergo immediate psychotherapy before he or she kills a person.

Please feel free to disagree, but that's where I come out.
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Re: Dogs on the trail... sans leash...

Post by hippiepunkpirate » Dec 23 2009 11:14 am

Well, here's something you probably won't ever see: Dog the Bounty Hunter walking out on the trail, on a leash or not.
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Re: Dogs on the trail... sans leash...

Post by Jeffshadows » Dec 23 2009 12:30 pm

hippiepunkpirate wrote:Well, here's something you probably won't ever see: Dog the Bounty Hunter walking out on the trail, on a leash or not.
He and his wife need some serious life coaching...
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Re: Dogs on the trail... sans leash...

Post by writelots » Jan 11 2010 11:27 am

My old dog passed on this weekend. She was the best hiking buddy ever, energetic, polite and always up for a hike - well, at least the first 8 years. In her memory I'm going to make a statement:

Leash rules are about people, not animals. Problem encounters are about pet owners and outdoor users. A well trained dog in the hands of a responsible owner should be able to enjoy the trail in whatever manner they choose. I think it's tremendously sad that bad owners and frightened non-pet-owners have forced the rest into a choice between and enjoyable experience and following the law.

Run those trails in doggy-heaven, Paula! No one will stop you there, and the squirrels are easier to catch!
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Re: Dogs on the trail... sans leash...

Post by BobP » Jan 11 2010 11:49 am

writelots wrote:A well trained dog in the hands of a responsible owner should be able to enjoy the trail in whatever manner they choose.
Here is a scenario that happened once while I was hiking by myself(without dog). Group one...two unleashed dogs, nice polite no problems..Group two... one unleashed dog no problem. Problem happened when group two met up with group one...all three dogs took off. Group one dogs were recovered, I was able to get one(they ran towards me about 1/2 hr- 1 hr later) and then the other came back...never found out what happened to group twos dog. Group two owner was devastated and lashed out at the recoverd dogs. Not sure who was right or wrong or if they were responsible owners... and not sure if the dogs were well trained or not. I guess by themselves they were... but unforunately, not in a group setting.

I never used to see people out in that area and I'd run my dog there unleashed and luckily never had a problem, and now he doesn't run much anymore.
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Re: Dogs on the trail... sans leash...

Post by Jeffshadows » Jan 11 2010 1:12 pm

I'm sorry for your loss, Wendy.

In response to your points - I would like to propose the following: Let the system work itself out. I hate laws and policy; I have been involved in writing and enforcing them for years and they never work when you really need them to. Folks have a right to have their dog with them. I have a right to be free of dogs whenever and wherever I so choose. We encounter one-another. Their dog is well-behaved, ignores me, and on they go. I'm totally cool with that.

Option two: The dog is a bastard and charges me, charges a kid on the trail and I see it, or goes after wildlife unrestrained. I deal with the dog in whatever manner seems most expedient. We go on our separate ways. Option two would never happen because the owner would throw a tantrum and\or call the fuzz. They made the choice to bring the little monster out, they should have to live with the repercussions.

One other thing I can't stand is people who let their dog loose in a backcountry camping area where other backpackers are enjoying their star-filled evening by the fire. I expect this kind of garbage car camping, that's part of the appeal of backpacking. I go there to get away from inconsiderate jerks, not to babysit their mongrel and have it sniff my crotch while I relax in the pine needles. I'm going to start carrying cheese to feed these dogs so they'll fart all night long in their owners tents!!!

One further point - it seems like there is an expectation that, since your an outdoor person, that automatically means you love dogs. Most outdoorsy people seem to have dogs, sportsmen included, and I think that breeds a mentality that assumes all others you will encounter will love your pet as much as you do.

...Just a theory I have been developing... :D
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Re: Dogs on the trail... sans leash...

Post by PaleoRob » Jan 11 2010 2:02 pm

Sorry to hear of your loss Wendy. :(
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Re: Dogs on the trail... sans leash...

Post by writelots » Jan 11 2010 3:27 pm

Jeff MacE wrote:In response to your points - I would like to propose the following: Let the system work itself out.
Hear hear (or here here, I've never been sure which). I think many more things in our lives should be allowed to "work themselves out".

I totally understand what you say about irresponsible dog owners... I sometimes have the same problem with irresponsible kid owners, too. Kid on the trail behaves badly (i.e.. throwing stones down trail, harassing wildlife, harassing my leashed dog, harassing me), and parents are not immediately at hand to deal with the situation...I think I should be able to deal with it however I see fit. But, said kid owner tends to get exceedingly testy even if I am only mildly remonstrative of their offspring's behavior. If you can't control your pets/children/self, stay home. The concept of "home" implies that there's minimal intrusion from unwanted sources. "Outside" usually implies the inverse. Deal.
Jeff MacE wrote:One further point - it seems like there is an expectation that, since your an outdoor person, that automatically means you love dogs. Most outdoorsy people seem to have dogs, sportsmen included, and I think that breeds a mentality that assumes all others you will encounter will love your pet as much as you do.
Interesting theory - I think you're really on to something there. I can't say I EVER assume that ANYONE I encounter is going to love my dog. Even if they don't act like it's a bother, I am effusively apologetic if by chance my dog is in their space or invading their quiet. I've even packed up camp and moved because my dog seemed to be disturbing the peace of a place.

I will add that there are many assumptions making an ass out of you and me out there... For example, people assume that because I'm a female, I find anything children do to be adorable and wonderful and that I'm happy to entertain said toddler while they go and do goodness knows what (I was about to say farting in other people's tents, but as funny as it sounded at the moment, I don't mean the comment personally - just comically - and thought it probably could be taken so, so I'll hide it in parenthesis!) . :sl:
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Re: Dogs on the trail... sans leash...

Post by Jeffshadows » Jan 11 2010 4:11 pm

Kids can be a million times more destructive than a dog, too.
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Re: Dogs on the trail... sans leash...

Post by Davis2001r6 » Jan 11 2010 9:50 pm

Sorry to hear about your dog passing.

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Re: Dogs on the trail... sans leash...

Post by azbackpackr » Jan 11 2010 10:02 pm

Sorry to hear about your old dog, Wendy! I lost one a year or so ago, and still miss him. I borrowed this poem from an old friend who has also now gone over "Rainbow Bridge:"

When you were a puppy
We ran through green fields of Spring, you and I.....
Together.

Time turns as children and puppies grow.
Summer came in glorious, golden warmth.
We ran through summer streams, you and I......
Together.

Time turns and seasons changed as we moved into our grown up lives....
Together.

A distant, winter chill blew over the fields, turning them from green to brown. Now we walked, you and I,
Through the golden Autumn leaves.......
Together.

Time turns and winter winds howl and snarl outside the windows of our house

We no longer walk through fields of green but we sit by the fire,
You and I, as we dream of days when we ran,
Through the green and golden warm......
together.

Time turns and the day has come when you hear A Voice,
More compelling than mine,
Calling you to Rainbow Bridge And you must go from my side.

Once again you run through endless fields of green but now you run
Alone.

Wait for me, my Springtime friend,

For one day I will come to you and

Again we will run through the green and golden warm.....Together.

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Re: Dogs on the trail... sans leash...

Post by JimmyLyding » Jan 11 2010 10:35 pm

Thank you Elizabeth. That's great.
My family lost our beloved Labrador Thor this last year, and he was my favorite hiking friend.
I love how Paula is hanging out by the chow in the December '09 picture. Definitely got some Lab in her. Hopefully she's hanging with Thor, Sherlock, Malia, Watson, and Sherlock #1. :D

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Re: Dogs on the trail... sans leash...

Post by sirena » Jan 12 2010 7:40 am

So sorry for your loss, Wendy.
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Re: Dogs on the trail... sans leash...

Post by writelots » Jan 12 2010 11:37 am

Thanks guys - that was a touching poem, Elizabeth. Paula was a champ chowhound and hiker...just like her mom ;)

I'm thinking of doing a fund-raising hike in Paula's honor with the proceeds going to the SA Humane Society. Watch for it - it'll be something awesome, probably involving some amazing grub and cool trails. Might wait until spring, since Paula thought snow was silly.
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Re: Dogs on the trail... sans leash...

Post by desertgirl » Jan 12 2010 12:31 pm

Perhaps they should also apply 'Little Boy' logic when folks purchase pups from breeders and shops -- treating the beloved pooch as commodity then seems to suit everyone fine! Then that should take of them puppy mills and bad breeders -- raise the bar for owning a pet!

I have 2 adorables dogs and they are wonderful companions & I invest heavily in them but at no point will they become my "babies" or "my boy or girl". I cringe every time I am refered to as Silver's Mom or pet parent at the vet. ;)

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Re: Dogs on the trail... sans leash...

Post by desertgirl » Jan 12 2010 2:19 pm

Wendy - Sorry to hear of your dear Paula passing.

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