How can your Dog Master Off-leash Hiking? Here’s how!
Hiking is an amazing activity which almost anyone can engage in with the correct timing, place and gear. However, hiking can transform into an even better experience when you have a companion. Depending on your idea of a companion, you can either hike with a human, or man’s best friend – a dog! That’s right!
Why Dogs as Companions?
Dogs make great hiking companions, as they are trustworthy and can sniff out danger extremely fast. Thus, hiking with dogs makes not only for a great way to pass the time, but the dog’s energetic demeanor can be very good for your health, due to the amount of exercise you will need in order to keep up with them.
However, dogs cannot enjoy their freedom in the outdoors due to the leashes that you may have to use in order to restrain them from running off too far. Hiking off-leash with a dog is difficult unless you have trained your dog to do so. Here are a few tips to keep in mind when hiking with dogs.
1. Know the Rules
Rules have a very important place in your hiking experience. You must follow the rules in order to be safe and sound, especially when your dog is concerned. Before you go off hiking with your dog in tow, you must do your research and find out if the path that you are taking allows dogs. More importantly, do they allow the dogs to be off-leash? Sometimes, it may so happen that you do not know about the rules of the trail when it comes to dogs. In such cases, if you are found hiking with a dog, you could be fined and ticketed. There are some people who hike along these trails and wait for uninformed people with dogs to hike on the same trails. Moreover, there may be other dogs in the area which are unfriendly towards unknown dogs. Both parties of dogs may get agitated and cause a nuisance.
2. Training is a Must
When it comes to this tip, it can be said that there overtraining is not a term to be used. Your dog needs to know how to behave in an off-leash trail or park when left to their own devices.
Hiking off-leash with dogs can be difficult especially if your dog has not been trained to behave a certain way when faced with such a situation. Practice anywhere convenient with your dog, whether it is an open field or your backyard if there is enough room.
Keeping treats on hand to reward your dog after she obeys a command is a good way to make sure that the dog remembers the command when you say it later. Commands such as “Come”, “Sit” as well as “Stop” is important for your dog to understand and obey in times of crises.
3. Alertness is Key
The major issue when hiking with dogs is that they usually run ahead of you on the trail. Due to this, they might encounter situations which can be somewhat dangerous, much earlier than you do. If there is another hiker with a dog coming from the opposite direction, does the dog wag its tail upon looking at your dog? If yes, then it is safe to proceed.
However, if the dog is on high alert, then it might be cause for concern. Knowing the trail a bit beforehand does not hurt at all, as there may be a large number of trees or boulders which are ahead, and your dog could run off and get lost around them. At the time, training your dog, keeping treats and scanning the trail ahead would be the best course of action.