The only reason I give you this information now, instead of months ago, is because it’s ideal weather for hiking with an energetic dog.
Exercise with a buddy. Photo: iStock
But there are many caveats to keep in mind if you are letting your dog run off leash, especially along wilderness trails and meadows. The first, and most important, is that your voice should be an absolute magnet to your pet. Train your dog so that if you call, he or she will come immediately. This must be very strict training. But that’s only part one.
Part two is that you’re also there to get a workout. You are running with your dog. That means your heart is pounding as well. Your pooch should never be more than three feet away. If you can’t run fast enough to keep up, leash up the dog and run together. You’ll be pulled along by the leash, so you’ll easily run faster with less effort.
Part three: are you running up a meadow, like a wide run at a snow resort that has not yet opened for the season? There’s usually so much room that you can see if other dogs or people are nearby, and take necessary precautions. Or are you running up a narrow trail with a hill on one side and a cliff, or steep drop-off, on the other? That’s a dangerous kind of trail to take with your furry best friend. Another dog may come along and start barking or acting aggressively. Your pooch may be frightened enough to run off the trail and fall over the cliff, leading to injuries or even death. The sad part is that you’ll have to find a way down to it, and perhaps also find a way to carry your pet back to your vehicle if it’s injured.
If your dog tends to aggressively vocalise with stranger dogs, a muzzle may be a good idea. That way, your dog can’t bark or bite.
At the same time, another important thing to remember is that even though temperatures may be cool, both your dog and you will eventually need water after getting heated up by a hard run. Carry a water bottle for you in your backpack, carry a foldable water bowl for your dog, and enough water to fill it several times for your canine.
Running in the wilderness is a wonderful way to spend a day bonding with your dog. Afterwards, you’ll both love each other even more than you do now.
Adventure Sports Weekly