Today, while riding the SLC shoreline on my lunch break, I came across multiple people, out hiking and biking, with their pups. I’m always pleased when I see mans best friend out enjoying the trails with us. Every time I take Kashi out for a ride or a run, the big doggy smile on his face is proof enough that he loves being out just as much, if not more, than me.
Typically when I take him out, he’s a good enough dog and follows my commands, that i’m comfortable with him being off leash. Obviously, when I’m riding, using a leash would probably disastrously for both of us. He’s a good dog. Like most dogs, he’s smart enough to get out peoples way which brings me to this point. Some dogs should be required to be on a leash. Weather they’re in training or maybe they’re just not that friendly… I genrally hope the owner is smart enough to make the correct decision there. The main problem though, for dogs on a leash is when the owner decides to try and force the dog off the trail to get out of your way. It typically happens like this: The owner steps off the trail and gives a tug on the leash assuming the dog will follow. The dog, feeling the tug, notices that their owner is trying to pull them off the trail and into the bushes or trees. The dogs natural reaction is to resist. I don’t blame him. None of us want to get yanked into the bushes, off the trail. So, the dog is now perpendicular on the trail, taking up even more room than before. The owner, usually gets mad, yells at the dog and yanks even harder. By now, we’ve all come to a complete stop and the peaceful day has turned into a struggling moment.
98% of the time, dogs will just get out of the way without any fuss. Leashed or not. They’re smarter than people give them credit for and if they get hit once, they’ll learn a quick lesson and it probably wont happen again.
On my ride today, I caught up to a lady and her two dogs on the trail. She was pedaling along and her two dogs were following close behind. As I approached the first dog from behind, it quickly noticed me, stepped off the trail and stopped to let me pass. When I went by, it quickly got back on the trail and followed my wheel as if I was the new pack leader. I approached the second dog and it did the exact same thing. I was so impressed. I wish every dog including my own could be trained this well.
I realize not every pooch out there is tuned to this degree and they don’t have to be. It’s more a matter of how the leaders of the pack, you and I, handle their trail time too.
If your dog joins you on the trails, that’s great. Just make sure to respect others out there by controlling your dog however your dog requires. If you’re out on the trail with others who have their pups, give them some space, and treat them as you would any fellow trail user.
Enjoy the ride. Love how you live and enjoy this super dog footage.