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balzaccom

Dogs on the trail

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balzaccom

Just about everywhere that dogs are allowed in the wilderness they are required to be on a leash.  In California's national parks, they are not allowed on trails at all--in fact, the rule in most national parks is that dogs are allowed only on paved areas--anywhere you can take your car, you can take your dog. 

That doesn't include any trails that aren't paved. 

But we'd estimate that of the fifty dogs we've seen in the backcountry this year, about three of them have been on leashes.  It's the single most frequently broken regulation that we see in the wilderness.

On our last trip to Caribou Wilderness, we ran into quite a few dogs, and only one of them was on a leash.  But that dog was within a mile of the trailhead, just starting out, and we wonder how long he stayed on that leash.   We don't say that because the owners looked untrustworthy--but the trails the Caribou Wilderness are rife with deadfall trees.  We had to climb up and over, or around more than 75 trees on our hike there.  And we can't image what you would do with a  dog on a leash in that scenario.  Our guess is that you would get pretty darn tired of the tangles. 

Of course, some dogs we've met are extremely well trained and behaved.  But not all are.  And we worry not only about dogs interacting with other hikers.  More of a concern is how they might interact with the local wildlife--chasing squirrels or deer, or even worse, fighting with something that might fight back.

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Mohican

Would be great if everyone would just follow the regulations re dogs on trails.

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kwhowell

I admit I used to be guilty of never leashing my dog. I have been backpacking for right around 7 years, which is the same age as my dog. That being said, as a beginner when Ted (my dog) was a puppy I never put him on leash. As he got older and started to develop protective/predatory traits I quickly realized I needed to change that. Even though I know he won't bite a person he sure acts like he will when he isn't on a leash and no one needs that scare while hiking. 

I also learned with Ted that all dogs need to be on a leash, not just mean or mean-acting dogs. I can't tell you how many times I've been hiking through the woods and see a dog running right at us without their owner having any chance of stopping them. Every time, with few exceptions, Ted feels the need to defend me and a dog fight occurs. So as friendly with people or other dogs your dog is, other people and other dogs may not be quit so approachable. 

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HikerJ
On 6/23/2017 at 9:49 AM, kwhowell said:

I can't tell you how many times I've been hiking through the woods and see a dog running right at us without their owner having any chance of stopping them.

Not long ago I had this happen to me while I was hiking with beagle which was on a leash. A very large pit mix came running around the bend in the trail and seemed to be coming straight for us. I wasn't sure if it was after me or my dog so I stepped in front my dog knowing that if a fight occurred she didn't stand a chance and prepared myself. However, neither of us even entered on the radar of this "charging" dog. It flew past us like we weren't even there. Had it been a person who was a little more jumpy than me it might not have ended well for the dog. When the owner finally showed up I explained why she needs to keep her dog on a leash.   I think she simply thought she had the whole forest to herself was gonna let her dog run "free".

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rickrick

This just happened to me on Sunday. I was hiking in NC's Clemmons State Forest where dogs are supposed to be leashed. It had been raining and I was on the last uphill climb of my 6 mile hike. there was a lady in front of me who I quickly overtook on the long uphill. As I approached behind her  I got about 15 yards behind her and announced my presence as to not startle her. She let out a scream and out of nowhere a large dog ran up and began barking with teeth bared. Luckily she was able to control him as I knew I was bit. Great dog for protecting it's master but darn it keep the thing leashed!

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grizzled
On 9/6/2016 at 11:27 AM, balzaccom said:

Just about everywhere that dogs are allowed in the wilderness they are required to be on a leash.

Perhaps in Cali, but certainly not in Montana.  In fact, I don't believe there are any regulations with regards to dogs in most, if not all Wilderness areas in this state.

 And I am absolutely ok with that as we always backpack/hike with the dogs.  We do keep an eye on them but that is primarily due to their function as an early warning devices for bears.  I don't know about all canine breeds, but both border collies and ausies function in that capacity very well.  We have tested ours on at least half a dozen occasions now, two of which were grizzlies.

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Aaron

I almost always hike with dogs so am always targeting areas where they’re allowed. And unfortunately I often have to skip many areas like most National Parks where they're not. I’m a big fan of leashes as well and only unleash a dog when it’s under strict voice command and within reach - and where it’s allowed of course - immediately leashing if anyone else comes along even when the dog is under voice command by my side.

I’ve passed people on the trail who are terrified of all dogs, even when on a leash, and on the trail we will pass the full gamut of other hikers from those who can't wait to meet your dog, to those who want nothing to do with any dog. And frankly a big “pet peeve" of mine are unleashed dogs on the trail whether I have my dog along or not - and my leashed dog only serves to attract the unleashed ones. I like dogs, but not necessarily strange dogs, whose intentions I know not. :) Have had to break up a few disagreements between unleashed dogs and my leashed companion in the past as well. No matter how well behaved and in my mind, a dog on a leash goes a long way in the courtesy department and keeps everyone happy.

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balzaccom
17 hours ago, grizzled said:

Perhaps in Cali, but certainly not in Montana.  In fact, I don't believe there are any regulations with regards to dogs in most, if not all Wilderness areas in this state.

 And I am absolutely ok with that as we always backpack/hike with the dogs.  We do keep an eye on them but that is primarily due to their function as an early warning devices for bears.  I don't know about all canine breeds, but both border collies and ausies function in that capacity very well.  We have tested ours on at least half a dozen occasions now, two of which were grizzlies.

No dogs are allowed on any trails in Glacier National Park...wilderness areas or not.

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ppine

The National Park Service and the CA State Parks system are two places that require dogs to be on a leash.  That is why I avoid them most of the time.  I have packed my dogs since 1970.  They are the first line of defense and really good company.   I don't need to find a hiking partner on short notice, I live with a furry one.

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hungodd94

I think that they put the rule for leashing the dogs in the wilderness is good for both sides since the owner can control their dogs from the dangers of the environment and the dangers they can cause, i don't want my friend get lost in the wilderness and facing some hungry bears. 

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