You may be aware of general hiking etiquette such as “pack it in, pack it out” or “hikers before bikers.” But when it comes to dog hiking etiquette, there are some additional rules to make sure everyone is having the best and safest experience.
Have your own water handy
Don’t rely on other people to provide water for your dog. Dogs need a lot of water to stay hydrated and to prevent overheating. A few gulps here or there from a few nice people on the trail is not enough to maintain proper hydration for your dog. Plus you may inadvertently drain their water supply.
Don’t let off-leash dogs approach on-leash dogs (without permission)
Dogs on-leash are on-leash for a reason. Just because your dog is friendly, does not mean everyone’s dog is friendly.
Your dog should always be under your direct control
Dogs should be on-leash or under your direct control using voice commands. There are many types of encounters on trails whether it’s lizards, critters, poisonous snakes, horses, bikers, runners, other hikers, etc. Having your dog under control means you are being courteous to all people and animals on the trail.
Move out of the way for bikers
Generally, the hiking rule is that bikers yield to hikers and hikers yield to horses. In the case of dogs, it’s important that your dog does not zig-zag or run up to bikes when bikers approach. Your dog should be securely at your side when bikers are passing.
Leave your retractable leash at home
Retractable leashes are dangerous. Dogs can run way ahead, which means they are out of your control, bikers can be clothed lined by the leash, the leash can get caught up in brush or around trees, and if your dog sees an animal and jolts towards it, you could be dragged or the leash handle could easily be yanked out of your hand.
We encourage all Fitdog Sports Leaders to adhere to these dog hiking etiquette guidelines out on the trail. Following these tips will ensure everyone is able to enjoy the trail.
Last updated May 30, 2019