8 simple rules that all dog owners should know before hitting the trails with their pup.
Having you furry best friend as your hiking companion is truly hard to beat. As any dog owners who likes to hit the trails with their pup knows, their sheer excitement to be in the great outdoors is completely contagious.
However, if you are hiking around Vancouver with your dog, there are some important etiquette rules that you should follow to ensure it stays safe and fun for your pup and everyone else on the trail. Here are 8 simple rules that will show every hiker you pass on the trail that you're an awesome, and responsible, dog owner!
DO Make sure the hike is dog-friendly
This may seem pretty obvious, but first things first, don't take your dog on a hike without making sure before hand that it's dog-friendly! There's lots of resources online (including previous OhMyDog! articles on the topic!) to let you know whether a local hike welcomes our four-legged friends, so check in advance to avoid disappointment and don't show up with your pup unless you're sure.
DO Follow the Leash Rules
There are rules in place for a reason, so be sure to follow the leash rules set out for the particular hike you're on. No matter how well behaved your pup is, if a hike is marked as on-leash, your dog should be. If you're not sure of the leash policy of your favourite dog-friendly local hike, a great resource to try out is PawSwap Premium. The Premium version of the popular Vancouver-based pet app shows you every dog-friendly hike in your area, as well as details like if it's fully on-leash, partially off-leash or completely off-leash. PawSwap app is free to download, and all members can access a free 7-day trial of PawSwap Premium - so make sure to activate it before heading on your next hike with your pup!
DO Pick pup your dog's poop
It's important to leave no trace when you're hiking, so be sure to pack plenty of poop bags so you can clean up after your pup. Not only leaving dog poop behind unpleasant for other hikers on the trail, dog waste contains pathogens that end up in rivers and lakes, and can contaminate drinking water.
DO Yield trail right-of-way to all others
When dog owners meet any other trail users, dog and owner must yield the right-of-way, stepping well clear of the trail to allow the other users to pass. An informative post on this topic on Orvis.com simplifies the concept, stating that ,"Simply put, this means get your dog out of the way—beyond the “sniffing” range—of other hikers, horses, and cyclists. If your dog is off-leash, immediately leash him when you see them coming, step aside, and place him in a sit-stay on the other side of you until the other hikers or riders have passed."
Make sure your dog and the leash aren’t in the way of someone else, and practice your pup’s commands on a regular basis to ensure you can keep them under control at all times, even when off-leash.
DON'T Disturb the wildlife
Never let your dog bark at, chase, or threaten any wild animals you may encounter on the trail as this behaviour can provoke an attack, putting your dog, yourself and possibly other hikers on the trail in danger.
DON'T Leave your filled poop bags on the trail
You've remembered to pick up your dog's poop, but make sure you don't leave the filled bags behind on the trail. Pack them up immediately to ensure you don't forget them. We know the smell is far from pleasant, but it's essential to keep hikes and trails the same way you found them, and you can find some creative tips for dealing with the issue here.
DON'T Let your dog veer off the trail Follow the signs provided and stick to the trail with your hiking pup to minimize their environmental impact, making sure to leave plants undisturbed. If there’s a sign requesting that you keep your pup off of a certain area, there’s probably a good reason for that so for the safety of your pet, follow the posted rules and keep your pup on the recommended trail.
DON'T Take anything, except for photos
Leave the things you find in nature so that other hikers and campers can discover them too. The photo opportunities for hiking with pups are endless, so capture memories that way and leave nothing but your foot - and paw - prints behind!
**Lead image is courtesy of West Coast Tails Photography, a pet photography duo based out of Vancouver, BC. Pet lovers first, but also passionate photographers, aim to capture those unguarded and special moments on camera.
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