Going hiking with friends is always a good idea; sometimes that friend could be your dog. Having your four-legged friend along on a hike is a good safety measure when you cannot have a human friend with you. My earlier article about rattlesnakes discussed how rattlesnake avoidance training for your dog would help you avoid a rattlesnake. Another consideration having your dog along is if you have a medical emergency, a dog might instinctively look for help for you. Think of all the videos that you have seen where Fido runs to another human and brings them back to save their human. Years ago; my grandmother fell on the icy ground and her dog laid next to her and kept her warm which also alerted the mailman that the dog did not greet him, that most definitely saved my grandmother’s life. A dog might also keep wild animals other than snakes away from you on the trail. All of these examples are good safety reasons to take your dog with you on a hike.
Healthy exercise for your dog is another reason to bring them with you on the hike. A dog has much less impact on their body when they are able to control the pace that they are moving. I have heard from veterinarians that running with dogs is not necessarily good for dogs because the repetitive same pace motion is bad for their bodies. The other exercise I see people doing with dogs is riding a bike alongside their dog while the dog is on a leash. I can only imagine all the bad things that could go wrong with this situation. Dogs get their best exercise when they can control what they are doing such as hiking, swimming or playing fetch.
One important thing to consider when hiking with your dog is keeping Earth clean. As I discussed in a previous article hauling out what you bring in is important to leaving no trace behind, this applies to your dog too. When your dog has a bowel movement either pick it up and take it out or bury it following the same rules discussed in the previous article. If you bring food for your dog do not leave any of those remnants behind either. Follow the same rules of keeping Earth clean with your dog as you do with yourself.
Be considerate of other hikers when you are out on the trail, this includes when you have your dog with you. Some trails will have rules that you have to keep your dog on a leash, if so follow the rules. If dogs are allowed off leash, then use common sense around other people; if your dog is not well-behaved keep them close and make them behave. Pay attention to other people with dogs just in case they do not follow the common sense above. Some people do not like dogs and may not appreciate you having your dog on your hike the best way to keep the peace is to be considerate to others and then they will not have any valid complaints.
Take your dog on a hike it is good for both of you and remember to be considerate to Earth and others.