The Polite Dog Owner’s Guide to Trail Hiking & Outdoor Life
Obey the rules
Your dog may be smart, but she can’t read. It’s your responsibility to read and obey all posted rules. Especially obey the “clean up after your dog” rule. And if a sign says to keep pets on leash, please do so. Even if your dog is under voice command, this rule is often for the safety of wildlife.
Dispose of poop bags properly
Nothing says “I don’t care” more than leaving your bag of poop on the side of a trail. While you may have the best intentions of picking this treasure up on your way back down, it often gets forgotten, leaving an eyesore for other outdoor enthusiasts. Moreover, poop bags are not biodegradable on their own; even if they are labeled as such, they require a commercial composter to decompose. Carry it out.
Be aware of your dog’s physical condition
Don’t bring your dog on any adventure if he is sick. This isn’t good for your dog or playmates he may encounter. No one wants to share sniffles, coughs, or diarrhea. Also, it’s best to leave female dogs at home when they are in heat.
Control your dog
Bring a leash along to restrain your dog as needed, even if they are allowed off-leash. Make sure your dog heeds basic verbal commands. He may get so excited to be around others that he temporarily forgets his manners. If you have multiple dogs, consider bringing only two at a time so that you can adequately control them both.
If your dog is not friendly with others, please keep them on leash
Period. No one likes a dog fight or a dog bite. Keeping them on leash gives them boundaries and keeps everyone safe from an ugly incident.
Don’t correct someone else’s dog, but notify the owner if you observe misbehavior. If someone complains about your dog’s behavior, keep an open mind and try to remedy the situation. The park or trail is no fun if you make enemies.
Going on outdoor adventures can be an exciting outing for your dog and time for the two of you to bond. By following some simple, common sense rules, you can ensure you, your dog, and everyone else has fun in a safe and courteous way.