Friday, 15 October 2010

Are We There Yet? Ensure the best experience at your recreational destination.

How can you research whether your destination is dog friendly for hiking, mountain biking, climbing and other activities? 
By knowing your dogs' athletic abilities, how they adapt to varying climates and the terrain you will be visiting, you are half way there. Just as you might research a destination and travel route for your personal needs, check the anticipated weather ( as well as accommodations with your pet in mind. There are many guidebooks and Internet sites that specifically address traveling and lodging with a pet. National Parks and National Forests have specific rules and regulations regarding dogs. Becoming familiar with these rules before you arrive will reduce potential surprises or a spoiled trip.

If you can't take your dog on your recreational activity, what is a reasonable time to leave him behind? 
Ask yourself why you would bring your dog if they were not going to join you in your activities? There are times when it is in everyone's best interest to leave your dog behind. Distance, terrain and exposure to the elements are all considerations. If you do need to leave your dog behind, make sure he is safe and secure so that others don't think that the animal has been abandoned. When using a leash to secure your dog, consider and plan around the possibility that they might become tangled which can strand them in direct sun or keep him from water, cause choking or asphyxiation. Also consider the possibility of people approaching the area your dog is confined to and the potential for the dog to attack. Folks may need to walk by your dog to gain access to a trail or right of way and your pup may think he is on duty, doing his best to protect what he thinks is your area. This can result in some pretty ugly legal situations as well as spoiling someone else's outing. Always provide a source of water and food that can not be spilled and consider the dangers of leaving food. Others animals or dogs might want to eat this food and could fight for it. Remember your dog will be vulnerable if left tied up. As for what is a reasonable time for a dog to be left behind, that would depend on the dogs and humans comfort level and the weather and exposure to the elements. As for leaving your dog in a car, we have all heard the horror stories of dogs and children left in a car in the sun, so exercise caution.
How can I help my dog maintain a low profile and not annoy other travelers, campers or hikers? 
The impact your dog has on others, the surrounding area and other animals will have a direct impact on your enjoyment. Keep in mind that your dog can hear, smell and sense things that you can't. A dog barking may be warning you of an approaching bear, a snake in the bush or perhaps a chipmunk dropping by. In any case the barking has an effect on other's experiences. Find the source of why the dog may be barking and address the cause not the response. Keep your dog under control and out of others spaces. While on the trail maintain control of your dog to reduce the potential of an unwanted greeting. Pick up dog waste. Do not allow your dog to chase other critters and remember other folks may not share the same appreciation you have for dogs. By following a few common courtesies we will all be able to continue to have positive experiences in our shared environment.

                      Performance Outdoor Gear for Dogs

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