We all love our fur babies. Luna, our Great Dane, is one of my best friends and a great running partner. She comes with me for most of my easy mileage, and occasionally, out into the mountains. Now, I know people have a lot of opinions on this subject, but at Upper Left Distance Training we believe the trails should be shared by everyone, and everyone should feel safe on them. Theses guidelines are common sense and basic courtesy to other trail users.
- Keep your pet on a leash. I DO NOT CARE how nice you say your dog is; it is an animal, and animals behave erratically. Last year we were hiking up Mt Ellinor when a Dalmation came down the trail wagging it’s tail, looking cute as ever. Intimidated by the size of our dog, as other dogs often are, it attacked her. As you can imagine I was furious. Be respectful and thoughtful of other users and their safety. Keep your dog on a leash that is no longer than 6 feet in length. This is not only as a courtesy to other trail users, but to protect your pupper from other dogs and wild life, such as bears.
- Yield to other trail users. Keep your dog close to you when passing and yield when possible. Dogs can be intimidating to some people. We had a lady become absolutely terrified when we passed her with Luna on our way up to Lena Lake, even though Luna was leashed. The lady was screaming “No. No. NO!” It seemed absurd, but you never know what people have experienced in their lives. Be courteous and keep your pets near you by holding them by the collar as you pass other runners and hikers.
- Pack it in, pack it out. Seriously. If your dog shits in the woods, pick that shit up or bury it. Don’t bag it and leave it on the trail and think “oh, I’ll pick that up later” and then forget and drive off in your Subaru like nothing happened. The same rules apply to your dog’s shit as they do to yours.
- Do not leave your pet tied up and unattended. This should be a no brainer if you’re trail running, hiking or camping, but don’t leave your pet alone. The wilderness is home to a ton of wild life including bears and cougars, which would be happy to have your dog as a snack. Not only that, but keep in mind that all wild animals have the potential of carrying rabies.
- Doggy First Aid. Carry a first aid kit for your dog. There are many hazards on the trail and those don’t only apply to you. If your fur baby gets a cut on her pad, you’ll want to be able to dress it up and get her back to the car safely.
- Water. Care for your dog in the wilderness as you would at home and plan for extra water consumption due to heavy exertion. Carry extra water for yourself and your pup along with collapsible bowl.
That’s all I’ve got! Do you have any other tips or suggestions ?