OK, you've got the dog. You're at a park and there's the trailhead. The sign says "KEEP YOUR DOG ON LEASH" and "CLEAN UP AFTER YOUR DOG." What else do you need to know, right?
Well, like nearly every other activity hiking has its own codes of behavior that everybody seems to be following that you, the newbie, might not be clued in on. Here, adapting from the American Hiking Society's Hiking 101: Hiking Etiquette, are a few of those unwritten rules:
- Hike quietly. People are on the trail to enjoy the sounds of nature. Do not let your dog bark. Speak in low voices and turn your cell phone off.
- Hikers going downhill yield to those hiking uphill.
- Don't toss your trash - even biodegradable items such as banana peels and orange peels. It is not good for animals to eat non-native plants and fruits. Pack out what you pack in.
- When taking care of business in the outdoors try to do so a good 200 feet off the trail and do not go near any water sources. Also try and not let you dog go near streams.
- When hiking in a group with your dogs be aware of hikers behind you and allow others to pass.
- When approaching other hikers, if possible, stand off the trail with your dog and let them pass. Do not allow your dog to approach other hikers; not everyone loves dogs like we do and if they do, they will let you know.
- Follow your dog THROUGH the mud or puddle and not around it if you have to leave the trail. Widening a trail is bad for trail sustainability.
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