Published on September 16th, 2015 | by tanya0
Hit the Trails this Fall with your Dog
With summer almost in our review mirrors, it’s time to start planning some new adventures with your family. Fall is a great time of year to hit the trails with your furry friends—the weather is cooler, the trails are a bit less crowded, and the scenery cannot be beat.
With the help of Ellen Eastwood’s book, The Trail Hound’s Handbook: Your Family Guide to Hiking with Dogs, here are some safety and etiquette guidelines for having a fun and happy day on the trails:
Plan an awesome adventure
Not every expedition will lead your pack far from home. But every hike and hiker can benefit from the confidence that comes with being prepared for just about anything. A bit of planning now will put you in good shape for countless good times ahead.
Keep it civil
Remember the last time that you jumped on a stranger or pushed past the couple ahead of you in line? Rude behavior is no more acceptable from your dog. In fact, a reckless pooch on the trail can pose a real threat to hikers’ safety—on narrow trails, on rocky terrain, or in unexpected confrontations.
Yes, dogs will be dogs. But you can insist that yours be on his best behavior at all times and respond to basic training commands.
Stick to the trail
Don’t let enthusiasm incite you to take shortcuts or break out of line on the trail. Wayward hikers can flatten fragile plant life, widen the trail, and contribute to trail erosion.
A trail is only as wide as it needs to be. Encourage your group to travel single file to minimize your impact on the natural landscape. If some self-appointed trailblazer has left you with an alternate route, choose the path most taken. Encourage others to do the same, and you’ll give nature a chance to re-carpet when less considerate visitors have trekked in the mud.
Check for ticks
The wilderness experience doesn’t always conclude at the end of the trail. Check under your dog’s collar, in the folds of your clothing, in your hair. Ticks are freeloaders that would like nothing more than to nose in on your trip.
Don’t give ticks an invitation in the first place. Apply a flea and tick preventative to your dog well before you go hiking so that it will be active once you hit the trail.
Resting your dog
All good treks end in the shade of a tree or a car’s bumper (but not on paw-burning pavement). This is where you break out the stash in your trunk—water, snacks, and a towel for muddy paws—and bask in the glory of your accomplishments.
That’s right, bask. Luxuriate. Slowly, wistfully, wallow. Wait.
You see, while your body has already begun to slide into deep relaxation, your dog’s muscles are still hard at work with the business of bringing his body temperature back down to normal. Offer your dog another drink and marvel at his stamina.
For more information on The Trail Hound’s Handbook or to purchase it for 25% off, check out Wilderness Press!