It is full of fun to enjoy hiking with your dog, even more, compared to hiking with other people. In fact, you can even hike with your dog without curbing his enthusiast with a leash. What things to do to hike successfully with your dog with no leash? Can you make other hikers feel comfortable when you do this?
Here is the guideline if you want to try for hiking with your dog without a leash:
1. The Rules
Don’t make you disappointed in the end just because you ignore about the rule to do hiking on the trail you have planned for a few weeks ago. Some trails do not even allow the dog to hike. Even if the trails allow a dog, you should know the next rule that is whether you must bring your dog with a leash or not. If the trail has the rule not to unleash your dog, it means you should plan more in the next trip. If you still unleash your dog in the area where you shouldn’t, you may get the ticket.
In addition, you have to deal with grumpy hikers on the trail, especially those who expect that dogs should hike with their leash. Some dog owners want to hike with their dogs and the dogs are with their leash because they have a reason. For example, the reactive dogs cannot play well with other dogs since they are the types of dogs that go well with other dogs. Therefore, you should respect the limitations of the other dogs. It is good to only let your dog with no leash in the permitted area only.
2. High-Value Snacks For Your Dog
So, you are hiking with your dog and you are off-leash this lovely friend, but what if your dog sees a deer? What are you going to do when he is ready to chase the deer? How to hold him back?
It is good to provide a dry dog bone, smelly hot dog or cheese or whatever he cannot ignore. Providing a high-value dog treat is much more compelling for your dog so he can stick close to you compared to other treats. Bring high value snacks and give it to your dog especially if your dog is about losing his focus because the distraction of other things.
3. No Necessary Overtraining
Off-leash trail is not the right place to practice and train your dog off-leash. When you are ready for bringing your dog to hike on the off-leash trail, it means that you have trained the off-leash behavior for your dog whether it was in your backyard or in the deserted fenced-in area. The small and controlled areas are good to practice and to train your dog off-leash so you can call him back to you. Keep in mind that is worth for your dog to get the high value treats during the practice. You are about training a good recall and that is why you should provide good stuff for your dog. Training “come” is not the only thing to do. You should train your dog with several other commands like “stay” and “sit” before bringing your dog to an off-leash trail.
4. Be Aware Of Things Ahead Of You On The Trail
It can be a big boulder or a giant bear. Perhaps, your dog is approaching and going in the opposite direction by wagging his tail. Well, whatever the situation is, you are a handler. You must be ready for every single thing happens ahead of you on the trail. Your dog may encounter dangers before you. Therefore, you must be ready to stay one step ahead of your dog. Your rule is to scan the trail and proactively calling your dog so he will back to you if there are any alerts.
It is good to always call your dog back to you whenever you see that you two are approaching other dogs or other people on the trail. We also recommend you to be close enough to others when you meet other dogs just to make sure that you can break up the dogfight if it is necessary.
5. Regular Check-Ins
When your dog is off-leash, what do you expect? Well, make sure that your dog checks in with you regularly. It is better to keep delicious dog snacks in your pocket and call your dog back to you so he will keep attention on you and pay attention on what you are asking the dog to do. You should always do this many times every time you go hiking with your dog to create the second-nature to your dog and you know he will come to you when you need him to.
6. Pooping When Off-leash
It is true that when you are hiking with your off-leash dog, it means that you cannot expect him to stop pooping. That is something magical if it happens. Your job is to watch him and to hunt down if that happens. If you don’t mind to have some bushwhacking, your hiking experience with your dog will be a lot more.
7. Stay With The Leash
It is crucial to keep the leash on your hand just in case you need it even though you are on the off-leash trail. You should have one because in some urban trails, you need your dog on a leash such as walking to the park of the off-leash trail. It is also possible if you meet other hikers with kids who cannot hide their fear to dogs.
As a dog owner, it is your responsibility to minimize the human-dog altercations that can cause you two to lose the privilege to enjoy the off-leash areas.
8. Stop and Sit Off To The Side Of The Trail
Do this anytime you two meet people on the trail. It is good to stop and ask your dog to sit at the side of the trail. If you don’t want to do this, it is good to choose the less-populated trails to hike together with your dog. This is a nice way so that other people on the trail can pass easily.
There are many dog owners let their dogs run and enjoy the nature off-leash wherever they want. It is also a nice way to helps create the goodwill between non-dog people and dog people. Enjoy!