As Coloradans, hiking and just enjoying nature in general is part of our DNA. What better way to enjoy nature than with our best, furry friend by our sides? We love taking our dogs hiking with us too! Unfortunately, we’ve all heard of or experienced an encounter with an off-leash dog that didn’t go so well. See our best tips for hiking with your dog, both on and off leash.
If you’re hiking with your dog who is on leash and isn’t very comfortable around other dogs, there are a few things you can do to help protect yourself and your dog from dogs at large. Remember, your dog will feed off your energy: If you are anxious, your dog will be too. Try to stay calm and maintain what you are doing, your dog is watching you! Before a situation potentially escalates, try to communicate with the other owner kindly that your dog needs space. If other methods of intervention do not work (including physical barriers between the dogs) you can look into carrying a small can of compressed air; this is often enough to stop a dog without causing harm.
If your dog is well-trained to the extent you feel they do not need a leash when on a hike, congratulations! That is a testament to the time and effort you have dedicated to helping your pup learn and understand. However, some folks aren’t at that same point with their dog and they still require a leash-- some dogs may also be on leash for the safety of those around them. If your dog loves other dogs, that’s fantastic! But if your dog bounds up to a pup that is on leash because it does not love other dogs, a dangerous situation can be created before you or the other owner will have time to react. Our suggestion: If you are adventuring in an area where off leash dogs are allowed, we recommend keeping your dog nearby and making sure they have a very strong recall if allowed to roam free. If you see another dog approaching, instead of shouting, “My dog is friendly!” we recommend asking, “Is your dog friendly?”. At the end of the day, your dog being friendly won’t mean much if the other dog doesn’t share the same demeanor.
As always, we must recommend you follow all trail regulations first and foremost. If dogs are required to be on leash, we ask you to be respectful of those rules and of the other dog owners around you.
Want suggestions on how to train your dog to be your off-leash sidekick? Ask our knowledgeable client care team about our local trainer recommendations!