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Dogs in Wilderness

Grab your bear can or camp chair, kick your feet up and chew the fat about anything Sierra Nevada related that doesn't quite fit in any of the other forums. Within reason, (and the HST rules and guidelines) this is also an anything goes forum. Tell stories, discuss wilderness issues, music, or whatever else the High Sierra stirs up in your mind.
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Re: Dogs in Wilderness

Postby Wandering Daisy » Mon Aug 17, 2015 6:31 pm

Richard, I certainly can see how you feel about dogs off leash. I have had a dog actually bite me! I also felt the same before I was involved in training a puppy. And I still do not like other dogs to jump on me - inevitably the dog that jumps on you is full of mud. A well trained dog will not run out of sight of his master- he will look back for a command of "yes you can" or "no". Our dog is also trained not to chase animals unless we give the OK. She gets daily training on this since she goes on walks where there are wild turkeys and deer. We let her chase squirrels up trees, and that is it. Now that she is no longer a puppy she has less interest in chasing squirrels. Now she mostly ignores all wildlife. This last trip we ran into a hawk that had a squirrel in its mouth. Our dog stopped, stood absolutely still and looked to us for directions of what to do. She also will immediately "lie down" with a hand signal even at long distances. She does not get far from us because she is a working dog and her "job" is to herd us down the trail! We have also taken our neighbor's very well trained hunting dog on a backpack. He was also trained to perfectly obey off leash. This does not come easy. It took nearly two years and about $1000 of professional one-on-one training classes and daily off-leash training/practice to get where we are now. To our dismay, a lot of hikers actually encourage our dog to jump up on them. There are a lot of dog-lover backpackers out there too.

We carry a leash at all times and if a situation looks like it will be a problem we put on the leash. About 90% of the time we are alone and may only run into a few hikers a day.



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Re: Dogs in Wilderness

Postby RichardCullip » Mon Aug 17, 2015 8:25 pm

Wandering Daisy - I wish all dog owners were as diligent in training their dogs as you are. I'd have no problem meeting a dog as well trained as yours. In fact, it would be a pleasure....
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Re: Dogs in Wilderness

Postby rlown » Mon Aug 17, 2015 9:49 pm

guessing none of you have seen 60 off leash dogs heading out to duck ponds during waterfowl season in the North central valley. Samantha did great. Sam was almost killed by a guy coming in at 4am (normal start time) at about 2 years old (she escaped her leash and ran into traffic; my bad), and then there's the parade of dogs/hunters to the ponds.

Dogs work it out, and we deal with protectionism they experience when some other dog wants to sniff their owners birds. Yes, they are on leash (at least mine was) until we get on the berms/levees. 10 yds in, off leash! happy dogs.. poop everywhere. And we're sitting in it pretty much when in the duck ponds i think.

I'm not arguing this should be true in the wilderness, but they are dogs. even the miwoks had dogs: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Miwok

Love the dog.
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Re: Dogs in Wilderness

Postby tarbuckle » Tue Aug 18, 2015 6:26 am

My two well behaved buddies. Life in the backcountry would be lonely without them

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Re: Dogs in Wilderness

Postby k9mark » Tue Aug 18, 2015 1:45 pm

I would just like people to obey the forest service rules....all dogs must be kept on a leash....plain and simple. I've taken too many reports where people were bitten and the owners said, oh, he doesn't bite. I love dogs, owned them, worked them, trained them, but in the right circumstance they will bite. Last thing you need is to get sued.
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Re: Dogs in Wilderness

Postby SSSdave » Tue Aug 18, 2015 2:45 pm

Have hiked into wilderness with other member's dogs and the experience was generally positive. The dog was not aggressive to others, not a barker, but had an intense desire to chase small critters. On our first trip was nauseatingly running ahead and running back and behind over and over. By the end of the short 3 mile hike had gone 10 miles and was dead tired. On later trips was not so stupid. It also wanted to mouth every fish his owner caught and not a few times said owner found fish mushy mutilated up on shores after Max pulled up stringers. Although trained on those bad habits "on the fly" Max's evil twin was always there ready to be naughty.

Agree with most of what others have added. Like WD would like to see a program that licenses owners to bring up specific dogs they have qualified into non-national park wilderness. A program for testing dogs and owners could be set up with fees to offset national forest employees running such a program. Of course dog owners could still without a license bring their dogs into non-wilderness national forest or blm lands but not into wilderness.

A program like this would not guarantee dogs would always behave or owners will follow whatever dog policies, but it would filter out a whole lot dogs that are likely to behave poorly, almost all the result of owners that never trained their dogs at all beyond not crapping in their homes. And would also be an incentive to many otherwise lazy dog owners to bother training their pets at least minimally. As it is, large numbers of mountain visitors are not rural folk many of which tend to understand dogs but rather urban dwellers that keep their pets in unnatural city home environments where animals are often so isolated for most of their lives that they never learn how to act around other people or other dogs. As a result such dogs are apt to be uncontrollable bundles of berzerk hormones.

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Re: Dogs in Wilderness

Postby schmalz » Tue Aug 18, 2015 3:06 pm

k9mark wrote:I would just like people to obey the forest service rules....all dogs must be kept on a leash....plain and simple. I've taken too many reports where people were bitten and the owners said, oh, he doesn't bite. I love dogs, owned them, worked them, trained them, but in the right circumstance they will bite. Last thing you need is to get sued.


Most Sierra wilderness does not require dogs to be on leash. I believe Desolation is the one exception.
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Re: Dogs in Wilderness

Postby k9mark » Tue Aug 18, 2015 7:43 pm

schmalz wrote:
k9mark wrote:I would just like people to obey the forest service rules....all dogs must be kept on a leash....plain and simple. I've taken too many reports where people were bitten and the owners said, oh, he doesn't bite. I love dogs, owned them, worked them, trained them, but in the right circumstance they will bite. Last thing you need is to get sued.


Most Sierra wilderness does not require dogs to be on leash. I believe Desolation is the one exception.


National forests require pets to be on a leash and or under direct voice control. You have to check with the national forest or park your visiting to verify their individual requirements.
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Re: Dogs in Wilderness

Postby rlown » Tue Aug 18, 2015 7:44 pm

tarbuckle wrote:My two well behaved buddies. Life in the backcountry would be lonely without them


Nice Pic! Wish my Jack Russell (Bubba) didn't have a bad front shoulder and didn't like to run away. He'd have fun out there. At 13 now, that's not happening.
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Re: Dogs in Wilderness

Postby schmalz » Tue Aug 18, 2015 8:05 pm

k9mark wrote:
schmalz wrote:
k9mark wrote:I would just like people to obey the forest service rules....all dogs must be kept on a leash....plain and simple. I've taken too many reports where people were bitten and the owners said, oh, he doesn't bite. I love dogs, owned them, worked them, trained them, but in the right circumstance they will bite. Last thing you need is to get sued.


Most Sierra wilderness does not require dogs to be on leash. I believe Desolation is the one exception.


National forests require pets to be on a leash and or under direct voice control. You have to check with the national forest or park your visiting to verify their individual requirements.


Right, that is what I was getting at. The only area that I've seen that specifically requires leash is Desolation. There might be a couple of others.
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Re: Dogs in Wilderness

Postby 87TT » Fri Aug 21, 2015 12:41 pm

Image
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As for the beach???????
Image
My dog is better behaved than a lot of the people I run into.
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Re: Dogs in Wilderness

Postby calipidder » Fri Aug 21, 2015 8:58 pm

MountainMinstrel wrote:I think that the issue is not with the dogs as much as it is with their owners.


This x a million. For years I had the same experiences and concerns as people in this thread, then I got a dog. And I wanted nothing more than to have one of those rare, perfectly behaved trail dogs that I was lucky enough to run across from time to time.We got Thor (our yellow lab) at 8 weeks old and worked so hard on training during his first year. I am so proud of the trail dog he has become. I'm constantly complimented on what a well behaved dog I have (especially since he's a teenage lab) and I'm so proud. In fact, we focused so much on off leash good behavior that he's a bit of a brat on-leash compared to his impeccable off-leash behavior. One of the things we focused on was keeping him close even when off-leash with a rock solid 'wait' (i.e. STOP and don't do anything until given another command). Luckily, as a lab, he's never interested in straying far from me anyways.

Now, as a dog owner on the trail I have different concerns than before - not only do un-trained dogs on the trail concern me, I worry how they'll react to Thor. Thor isn't protective and would just love to play with any dog that comes along, but a random dog wandering into my camp worries me a lot. When you're so far from medical care and help it's even worse. All of my backcountry worries and fears are elevated when I have my four legged kid with me. I love bringing him with me and he loves being outdoors, but I'm even more sensitive to other dogs now and potential negative experiences, if that makes sense.

BTW I recommend a 'quick draw' leash from Ruffwear that I can grab quickly when needed. It's a great tool. He also wears a pack with a handle. I find that both of these are helpful for training purposes when I can't completely 100% trust his reaction (especially when we first encountered horses on the trail). Both allow me to get quick physical control of him in addition to voice. Of course he is close enough that I can use these tools, which 90% of the off-leash dogs I see are not.

Bonus dog shots - 'helping' me set up camp:
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Kisses on his first backpack trip:
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