Treadiquette Monthly column that helps hikers calibrate the moral compasses. You have a burning issue about ethics or trail etiquette? Send us your dilemmas. [email protected].
Please contact me for more information. Backpacker,
I like to go hiking with my well-behaved dog. On busy trails I keep him on a leash, but I let him go off-leash on a recent walk despite signs that said leashes were mandatory. We didn’t see any other hikers or animals for the whole day, and not holding the leash made it easier for me to navigate uneven terrain. Was this a mistake?
Dear Dog Dad,
I’m an obsessive pet owner myself, and because of that—not in spite of it—I can answer emphatically: Yes, you were wrong. It’s great that you leash your pup on busy trails to respect other hikers. As you probably know, some people, dogs, and kids don’t like being greeted by an unfamiliar pooch when out enjoying nature. But leash requirements exist for a whole host of reasons, and they’re still important even when there aren’t other hikers around. Let’s start with the one that might speak most to a pet parent like you: keeping your dog safe.
An unleashed dog was found in North Carolina earlier this summer Provoked a black to attack.