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Hiking with Your Dog

A hiker's best friend. If you have a dog, chances are you’d love to take ‘em out to the trails with you. And that’s a great idea, if you follow some basic rules. First, make sure the trail you’re on allows dogs. There’s no better way to make other users upset with dogs on trails than for owners to disregard the regulations. If you think a trail that’s closed to dogs should allow them, take it up with the agency that manages the area.

Make sure your dog can handle the hike. Taking a dog with a full coat of dark fur out for a hike on sunny, hot days is most likely a bad idea. Even though dogs have wild ancestors that coped with varying weather conditions, domestic dogs have been bred for specific situations and might not be able to handle the climate you’re in (or visiting). Also, make sure to bring plenty of water for your four-legged friend. Don’t rely on natural sources for your pup any more than you will for yourself, as streams in some parts of the country are dry during parts of the year.

Make sure that your dog is voice trained and well behaved. From our trail experience, it seems like most hikers enjoy dogs and might even want to pet your dog and say “hi.” But no one likes loud, barking dogs when they are trying to connect with nature (and neither does wildlife).