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What to do when encountering dogs on the trail?
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Michael Gillenwater
(mwgillenwater) - M

Locale: Seattle area
Re: Ah...the dog thread on 06/19/2013 10:23:38 MDT Print View

Without any intention of being defensive, note that I did not call for dogs to be banned from anything. If we want to talk banning, then it should be to ban public lands ranching on designated wilderness, which the cattle lobby got into the the original wilderness bill. But that is another topic.

I simply said I don't like dogs in designated wilderness and would prefer not to experience them there. I also don't like horses or dirt bikes, air planes flying overhead, or trash at campsites, etc. Did I call for new legislative bans. No. I'm realistic (I lived in DC for almost 20 years and work in public policy). But, do I want my wilderness experience to be as pristine as practical. Yes. I would hope most here would too. There is a real debate to have about what we mean by wilderness (there is extensive literature on this topic already).

I would say that there are a lot of people on the trail that probably do not appreciate dogs there. I explicitly said I do like dogs (sadly, our family's just passed away 2 weeks ago). Just not in wilderness. And, it would be great if more people would think twice about bringing their dog or how they handle their dog when in wilderness the same way that we expect smokers be respectful of others by not smoking around them.

Dena Kelley

Locale: Eagle River, Alaska
"Ah, the Dog Thread" on 06/19/2013 11:42:00 MDT Print View

"""And, it would be great if more people would think twice about bringing their dog or how they handle their dog when in wilderness the same way that we expect smokers be respectful of others by not smoking around them."""
I think you have every right to expect people to properly control their dog (regardless of where they are, city, wilderness, whatever) and I understand you're not calling for a ban but I also think your wish for people to not even bring a dog is unreasonable. For many of us, our dogs are our hiking buddies. I hike alone with my dog probably 90% of the time. I am getting ready to start doing overnighters with just my dog because I'm tired of having to work around other people's schedules. My dog is better company than 99% of people. I have to agree with Jennifer on this one- the 90 seconds you might have your wilderness experience spoiled by having to see my dog does not trump my right to have my dog's company and have my own wilderness experience enhanced by it. To be clear, my dog is leashed anywhere there are other people and anywhere it's required whether there are people or not, and I pick up after her and pack out her waste. We step off the trail when people are coming towards us, and I always place myself bodily between my dog and any people. So I think as it goes, I'm pretty respectful of other people on the trail.

Not trying to start an argument, just felt like chiming in on that topic.

K Magz
(lapedestrienne) - F

Locale: somewhere without screens
Re: "Ah, the Dog Thread" on 06/19/2013 13:36:54 MDT Print View

I generally prefer encountering dogs on the trail to encountering humans. Dogs are by and large much quieter and leave behind way less trash.

David A
(DavidAdair) - M

Locale: West Dakota
Spotdog 425 e- collar on 06/19/2013 14:41:41 MDT Print View

Recently I wound up with a young blue heeler pup living at my house. Smart dog and very nice but an unruly little monster. Anyway, I picked up a shock collar hoping to expedite the training of the little hard head. Having never used one before, I was impressed at how effective the e-collar works for training. It is actually much, much less stressful for both the dog and myself. In about two weeks he obeys commands consistently and I rarely need to even use the collar. He is a happy dog and we get along great.

You can set the stimulus level from the transmitter and, at least for this dog, it only had to be set high enough to get his attention. It also distances the trainer from the punishment phase. He tends to see the adverse reinforcement as being the result of his own bad decisions. I get to be the good guy with treats.

Anyway, I now think that the e-collar is the way to go and well worth the money. You can find the Sportdog 425 collar for about $150 new or cheaper on ebay. If you buy used figure you may have to replace the batteries at $20 per. Other brands or models may work as well but I have no experience with them.

I return you now to the regularly scheduled rant.

oh, here's Kep the Corgi my number one hiking partner:
Kep and Dave Upper Basin Lake

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: Spotdog 425 e- collar on 06/19/2013 15:05:35 MDT Print View

Do you put the collar on the dog or the owner.

David A
(DavidAdair) - M

Locale: West Dakota
Re: Re: Spotdog 425 e- collar on 06/19/2013 15:17:11 MDT Print View

My dog Kep is a nice guy and much more sociable than I am. So you may have a point.

USA Duane Hall
(hikerduane) - F

Locale: Extreme northern Sierra Nevada
"Ah, the Dog Thread" on 06/19/2013 18:47:26 MDT Print View

Dena, I've been dogless about 10 years now. :( Due to my work situation, I cannot get a dog. I mostly go bping solo, so I do miss a dogs quiet companionship. My late Pooch alerted me once to a bears presence, surprisingly by growling, him being a Yellow Lab X and a very quiet dog, no aggression, lots of tail wagging around people. I do see the next doggie I get, that I need to be a little more pc when in areas where others frequent or in wilderness that has lots of critters. In the past I had no issues, just one comment about a dog in the wilderness to which I had no reply. I bp mostly in the Sierra Nevada where there are few people. My vacation trips tend to be in more popular areas, so I carry a leash there, especially in Desolation by Lake Tahoe. When I retire, I'll more than likely get another lab or good companion dog.

Tipi Walter
(TipiWalter) - F
Beloved Departed on 06/19/2013 19:39:51 MDT Print View

My Mighty Dog left this world for the spirit trail after 15 years of backpacking---the holy Thor of dogs. He routinely carried 17 days worth of dog food in his blue dog pack and loved nothing more than a blizzard. People tell me I need to re-outfit with a new model but it's just not going to happen . . . .

He had a strange ability to line up properly for a group photo.

Snow Dog
He often broke trail in the worst conditions.

Looking In
And he always made sure the tent was squared away.

Diane Pinkers
(dipink) - MLife

Locale: Western Washington
electric collars on 06/19/2013 19:42:00 MDT Print View

Electric shock training collars are only as good as the critter with the button in its hand. Your timing has to be consistent and immediate. Most people have NO business employing such training collars, because they themselves do NOT have the training to use them properly. The negative consequences increases with the electronic shock, both in terms of physical problems and the dog's complete lack of understanding exactly what they are being punished for. I have treated dogs with burns on their necks because the idiot with the button in his hand had kept yelling at the dog and pushing the button when the dog had NO clue what was expected.

Most training can be accomplished properly without such "aids". I'm not in the touchy-feely camp of dog training that never uses negative reinforcement, because I do think there are times that the dog needs to learn that NO means NO, and not just "when I feel like it". I do think that the average dog owner needs training on how to train the dog--they have no clue now to deal with an animal that doesn't communicate through speech. Most people employ shock collars because they are lazy and don't want to put in the time to train properly.

There are the occasional knot-head dogs that know what is being asked, and choose not to comply--they have no motivation to perform the command. Those are the dogs that electronic collars can be useful for, especially in the matter of the recall command. But they can also learn to associate the weight of the electronic collar with whether or not they need to comply, and ignore the command when the collar is not there. So reinforcement often is necessary. Those are few and far between.

Chris Arnold
(ChristopherActual) - F

Locale: Oregon, USA
Dogs on their leash please. on 07/09/2013 15:45:44 MDT Print View

I love dogs and have no problems with seeing them on the trail. As long as they're on their leash. If a dog is off their leash that forces me to interact with the dog because the dog runs right up to me to say hi. You love your dog dearly, I do not and I don't want to be forced into that interaction. I find that to be very rude and selfish to be honest. You're basically saying that you don't care about other peoples experience on their hikes just so your buddy can run around. There's also the fact that most dogs will stick their nose right on you and will more than likely put their paw on you if they're excited. So now my hike has to be hiked with dog snot and mud on my clothes. Have fun with your dog but DO be respectful of others.

What others have said about displaying self confidence is right on. My neighbor had a pitbul that liked to jump the fence. So every now and again I'd go into the backyard and there'd be a growling 100 pound dog there. I would stand straight and calmly walk away ignoring the dog and it's barking. It sorta puts you square in the alpha position because the dog sees that you don't even see them as enough of a threat to even look at them. The only time we had a problem with that dog was when my bud's girlfriend freaked out and ran into the house. The dog followed right after her. Don't run. You'll only get bit tired. ;)

Edited by ChristopherActual on 07/09/2013 15:50:20 MDT.

David Olsen

Locale: Steptoe Butte
Re: electric collars on 07/09/2013 16:08:08 MDT Print View

"I have treated dogs with burns on their necks because the idiot with the button in his hand had kept yelling at the dog and pushing the button when the dog had NO clue what was expected. "

Sounds like baloney to me. Show me some evidence that training collars cause burns. The ones I have seen have as much effect as biting on tin foil with a filling.

USA Duane Hall
(hikerduane) - F

Locale: Extreme northern Sierra Nevada
Friends and their dog on 07/10/2013 08:59:48 MDT Print View

Unfortunately this last weekend, a couple guys I bp with a few times a year if that much, had their leaderless dogs running here and there, barking at the next camp or hikers coming by. They did apologize for their dogs behavior to folks and went on leaving their dogs off leash. Sorry.

Matthew Perry
(bigfoot2) - F

Locale: Oregon
Re: Beloved Departed on 07/10/2013 11:27:22 MDT Print View

I am so sorry to hear you lost your hiking partner. My own is now almost 13 years old and is slowing wayyyyyyy down. Even when at camp, he spends most of his time sleeping these days. He still gets out with me on shorter hikes, but it's only a matter of time now. Again, Bennie and I are so sorry to hear of your loss.

Matt and Bennie




Edited by bigfoot2 on 07/10/2013 11:30:38 MDT.