Trail Hiking With Dogs

Deb D’Andrea, Nederland.  The other morning I was enjoying a lovely walk around Barker Reservoir when two dogs came running around the corner, playing and having fun, their person not in sight. I stopped my Girls as they were on leash and after a moment or two, a woman with a baby slung around her neck entered the picture. She said her dogs were friendly and not to worry.

But I wasn’t worried about her dogs. Sally is a rescue and I’m still learning her personality. She’s great around other dogs, kids and people, and has not shown signs of aggression; but I never take for granted there may be an underlying trigger I don’t know about—like, for instance, two dogs running around the corner off leash towards her, Tiki, Bear, and me—towards her family. Would that trigger a protection mode?

I calmly said to the woman that there is a leash law, and my girls and I continued on our hike. A moment later, the woman yelled up at me “See that wasn’t bad….” But the matter wasn’t about her dogs being good dogs; it was the matter that her dogs were off-leash and out of sight.

 What if Sally had reacted? What if there had been another person with their dog who wasn’t dog friendly? What if there had been a child there who was terrified of dogs?  Or what if her off-leash dogs decided they didn’t like who was on the other side of the blind corner?

It’s a lot of “what ifs,” but there was the possibility of an altercation, something this woman with a baby slung around her neck would not have been prepared to deal with.

My Girls are friendly and have great personalities, but I never take for granted that another walking their dogs or walking with their family want to have dogs running off leash up to them, be it on a trail, at the park or even at a party. One never knows if the people you’re approaching have reservations about being around dogs. I always aim to have every dog greeting be the best possible and most positive.

So while we love to let our dogs run free, it’s best to have your dog on leash in case your friendly dog runs across an adult, child, or other animal who may be dog-shy.

Till next time. Deb D’Andrea, founder of 4TheLuvOfDogz, provides mobile Canine Massage, Canine Agility and Petz Nanny Services for dogs, cats, birds, fish, horses, and other critters. 4TheLuvOfDogz home-made dog treats are sold at local stores, and K9Birthday Cakes are available direct. Contact Deb at 720-675-7078 or for more information.

Deb D'Andrea

Deb D’Andrea, columnist for The Mountain Ear, and founder of 4TheLuvOfDogz & the Caribou Dog Ranch is recognized by the State of Colorado as a Certified Canine Massage Therapist and visits your home or Vet to work with your dog. Canine Agility may be offered at the Caribou Dog Ranch in 2018 if there is interest. Deb currently has limited availability for new Petz Nanny Clients; and she bakes up fresh dog treats & doggy birthday cakes per order. For information contact Deb at 720-675-7078 or email: