Brian A. Barbour
Ellen Bilbrey, spokeswoman for
This club plans three to five events a month, many in the Valley, and others all over
Hubbell urges hikers to take the same precautions with their dogs as they would for themselves --- take plenty of water (keeping in mind that dogs are sloppy drinkers) and be aware of the heat. REI, Petsmart and other retailer’s stock lots of gear for hiking with dogs, everything from booties to protect paws to saddlebags, flotation devices and power bars. ("Dogs eat 'em up," Reinshagen says.) And there are plenty of doggie toys, from collapsible Frisbees to rubber chews. "One thing to remember about taking dogs to the back country," Reinshagen says, "is that if you don't want them just to run loose, you've got to entertain them." The Canine Hiking Club usually does easy to moderate hikes, says DeBenedetto, who tries to select scenic, not-too-crowded trails, mostly for the benefit of the two-legged hikers. "Dogs don't really care where we go," she says. "They find fun with everything we do."
Thinking about taking your dog on a hike? Experts make these recommendations:
Bring plenty of water. Dogs need it as much as you do, and not just in summer.
Don't overdo it. Your dog needs time to get in condition.
Stay on the trail and keep your dog on a lead. Not just so they don't bother other people, but for their own protection. There are snakes, cactuses, coyotes and other nasties out there that can catch a dog unawares.
Protect Paws. Rocks and pavement can get blisteringly hot, especially in summer.
Scoop their poop. Nuff' said.
Yield to horseback riders and other hikers. Dogs can easily spook livestock and some hikers, too.
Use caution around cyclists. Bicycle riders are supposed to yield to all other users. Most do, some don't.