Sunday, October 14, 2012

Should you bring family dog on a day hike?

Larger dogs sometimes can act as
Sherpas on a day hike.
Dogs are part of the family, and kids will want to share the hiking experience with them. In turn, dogs will have a blast on the trail, some larger dogs can be used as Sherpas, and others will defend against threatening animals.

But there is a downside to dogs. Many will chase animals and so run the risk of getting lost or injured. In addition, a doggy bag will have to be carried for dog pooh – yeah, it’s natural, but inconsiderate to leave for other hikers to smell and for their kids to step in. In addition, most dogs almost always will lose a battle against a threatening animal, so there’s a price to be paid for your safety.

Many places where you’ll hike solve the dilemma for you as dogs aren’t allowed on their trails. Dogs are verboten on national parks trails but usually permitted on those in national forests. Always check with the park ranger before heading to the trail.

If you can bring a dog, make sure it is well behaved and friendly to others. You don’t need your dog biting another hiker while unnecessarily defending its family.

Read more about day hiking with children in my Hikes with Tykes guidebooks.