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  1. #1

    Default How to tell when your dog is ready for a long hike?

    How to tell when your dog is ready for a long hike?

    *First, is it grown? Puppies or yearlings have no place on a long hike.

    *Have you hiked with it a lot, including being out for several weeks at a time?
    Just because your dog enjoys day hikes or weekend excursions does not mean it's ready for a thru-hike.

    *How well trained is your dog?

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    • Does it respond to voice commands immediately?
    • Does it bark or howl?
    • Is it OK when you're not around?
    • Does it deal well with strangers?
    • Does it deal well with children?
    • Does it deal well with other dogs, or other animals?
    • Is it skittish around strangers, does it snap or jump at people, does it bolt to chase wild animals?
    • Does it stay by you when off leash, or does it wander?
    • Does it pee wherever it wants, including on things like tents or gear?

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    These are all things to consider.

    *Are you willing to spend a good deal of time every day tending to your dog's needs and health, i.e. checking its feet frequently; checking for ticks; altering your schedule out of consideration for its health.

    *A dog is NOT a pack animal. Are you willing, if necessary, to carry your dog's food, water, and other gear?

    *Are you willing, WITHOUT COMPLAINT, to deal with the times where you'll be unable to do what other hikers do and stay where other hikes stay, because you've elected to travel with a dog?

    *Are you willing to NEVER expect rules, regulations, policies of hostels, motels, restaurants, etc. to be altered for you, and are you willing to never ask people to make exceptions for you and your pet?

    *Are you willing to forego staying in shelters, as there are many, many folks who don't wish to share them with an animal for any number of perfectly valid reasons?

    *Are you OK with the fact that many Trail facilities and locations will be barred to you because you're with a dog?

    *Are you willing to always obey the rules, regulations, and laws in certain places where dogs are barred, or where leash laws are in effect?

    *On the Trail, in trail towns, and elsewhere, are you willing to ALWAYS be vigilant and aware of how your dog's presence and behavior is impacting other people? And are you willing to take immediate action when it's clear that your dog is creating problems?

    *Are you willing to NEVER have other people being responsible for your dog, i.e. are you willing to forego certain things, and are you willing to never leave your dog alone and unattended where he might have a negative impact on either the location or the people staying there?

    *Are you willing, and I mean REALLY willing to make an effort to clean up after your pet, in camp and elsewhere?

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    These are just a few things to consider.

    But if your dog doesn't measure up here, or if you're not ready to do all of the above, then no, your dog is not ready for the A.T.

    And 95% (at least) of Trail dogs and their owners are not up to the requirements listed above.

    Plain and simple, the vast majority of Trail dogs need to stay at home and are better off there, and this is almost always NOT a dog problem, but instead, an owner one.

    The plain and simple answer to "Is my dog ready to the-hike the A.T.?" is very simple:

    In nearly every case, due to negligence, laziness, or apathy on the part of the owner, the vast majority of the dogs one encounters on the A.T. are NOT ready to be there.

    Sorry to say it, but it's the plain truth. Most of them need to go home.

    <o></o>
    Article written by Jack Tarlin AKA Baltimore Jack<o></o>

  2. #2
    Registered User Pacific Tortuga's Avatar
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    WOW Jack, you set a high bar. I just do not want them to eat my food, hump my leg, chase wildlife and sleep next to me after a rainy day.
    Other than that I can tollerate most canines.

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    ME => GA 19AT3 rickb's Avatar
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    I am not sure if Jack meant to imply that dog owners are prohibited from bringing their animals into shelters or not. Here is what the ATC has to say about the matter (as published at http://www.appalachiantrail.org/site..._with_Dogs.htm)

    Take special measures at shelters. Leash your dog in the shelter area, and ask permission of other hikers before allowing your dog in a shelter. Be prepared to "tent out" when a shelter is crowded, and on rainy days.

  4. #4

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    Quote Originally Posted by rickb View Post
    Leash your dog in the shelter area, and ask permission of other hikers before allowing your dog in a shelter.[/SIZE]
    Thats BS. Your dog should never be in a shelter. Do not put another hiker "on the spot" with such a request.

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    ME => GA 19AT3 rickb's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by max patch View Post
    Thats BS. Your dog should never be in a shelter. Do not put another hiker "on the spot" with such a request.
    Seems Odd that the ATC would take such a position.

    You would think it against heath regs. In addition to sleeping in shelters, people cook in there!

    But that's the ATC's position. Got to respect it (or at least recognize it).

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    Quote Originally Posted by rickb View Post
    Seems Odd that the ATC would take such a position.

    You would think it against heath regs. In addition to sleeping in shelters, people cook in there!

    But that's the ATC's position. Got to respect it (or at least recognize it).
    a lot of folks at the ATC don't hike

  7. #7

    Default

    • Does it respond to voice commands immediately?
    • Does it bark or howl?
    • Is it OK when you're not around?
    • Does it deal well with strangers?
    • Does it deal well with children?
    • Does it deal well with other dogs, or other animals?
    • Is it skittish around strangers, does it snap or jump at people, does it bolt to chase wild animals?
    • Does it stay by you when off leash, or does it wander?
    • Does it pee wherever it wants, including on things like tents or gear?
    This is a good list for "Are YOU ready for a long hike".
    I've met a few hikers who wouldn't pass (most of them hike long distances ).
    As I live, declares the Lord God, I take no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but rather that the wicked turn back from his way and live. Ezekiel 33:11
    Did Adam and Eve rest on the first Sabbath? Scripture only says that God did. Are we thinking yet?

  8. #8

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    Rick, I think the problem is that the ATC doesn't want to hurt anyones feelings -- gotta keep everyones wallets open for those donations.

  9. #9

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    <TABLE cellSpacing=0 cellPadding=6 width="100%" border=0><TBODY><TR><TD class=alt2 style="BORDER-RIGHT: 1px inset; BORDER-TOP: 1px inset; BORDER-LEFT: 1px inset; BORDER-BOTTOM: 1px inset">Originally Posted by rickb
    Leash your dog in the shelter area, and ask permission of other hikers before allowing your dog in a shelter.[/size]
    </TD></TR></TBODY></TABLE>
    Thats BS. Your dog should never be in a shelter. Do not put another hiker "on the spot" with such a request.

    Read it again - it says "in the shelter area"- not "in the shelter". Subtle difference.
    <!-- / message -->
    As I live, declares the Lord God, I take no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but rather that the wicked turn back from his way and live. Ezekiel 33:11
    Did Adam and Eve rest on the first Sabbath? Scripture only says that God did. Are we thinking yet?

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    ME => GA 19AT3 rickb's Avatar
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    Huh?

    I posted an exact quote from the ATC and provide a link. It says what it says.

  11. #11

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    I guess like everything else written, it's open to interpretation. If your dog is leashed in the shelter area you will not have it in the shelter unless you get the permission of the others in the shelter.
    I, personally, have always been of the opinion that if you bring a dog, bring a large tarp or a tent with a large vestibule, camp a ways away from the shelter, maybe take your dog to visit, but overnight your dog should be in or near your tent/tarp/hammock with you, not nosing around strangers and their belongings.
    So I guess I disagree with "my" organization on this point.
    As I live, declares the Lord God, I take no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but rather that the wicked turn back from his way and live. Ezekiel 33:11
    Did Adam and Eve rest on the first Sabbath? Scripture only says that God did. Are we thinking yet?

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    I would like these rules to aply to humans too. except the leash part ,on second thought some should probably be on a short leash.

  13. #13

    Default Dogs

    All dog owners that I came across on the AT who took their dogs into shelters did so without asking if others objected.

    I reckon if dogs had any say in it they wouldn't opt for a thru hike... it's the dog owners who seem to get a buzz out of making their dogs hike with them.
    Downunda

  14. #14

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    Several folks brought up a good point: When you ask permission of other folks, you really are putting them on the spot, i.e. you're pretty much forcing THEM to look like the bad guy if they say "Well yeah, I'd rather your dog wasn't in the shelter". The reality is that lots of folks will suck it up and say nothing because they don't want to look mean in front of other hikers, when in fact, they really DON'T want your dog in the shelter, for any number of perfectly legitimate reasons:

    *Dogs in shelters almost always get into or onto other people's stuff, and this
    is especially unpleasant when the dog is wet or muddy.
    *They've been known to pee on people's stuff in or immediately adjacent to
    shelters.
    *They beg food and become a real pain in the ass when someone is eating or
    cooking in a shelter.
    *At a certain point in the year, ALL dogs have vermin, i.e. ticks, fleas, etc.
    Most folks aren't interested in sleeping next to or close to infested dogs.
    *Quite a few folks are allergic to dogs and don't want to be around them.
    *And many folks simply don't care for dogs and don't wish to be that close to
    them. Shelters were designed for people, and one's right to enjoy the
    company of one's pet ends, period, when that right starts interfering with
    the rights of others.

    But to get back to asking permission. It's a funny thing, but you see this a lot on the Trail, and it's invariably something like "Does anyone mind if I play the harmonica?" or "Does anyone mind if I make a couple of phone calls?" or
    something similar. In short, when asking permission, it's inevitable that these folks KNOW they're requesting "permission" to do something that they KNOW might be found objectionable or questionable by other folks......yet they go ahead and ask "permission" anyway, knowing full well that most folks don't want to look like the bad guy and will therefore stay mum.

    In short, asking permission of your fellow hikers should be pretty much a red flag to yourself.......if you're about to engage in activity or behavior that you suspect (or know) that someone is likely to object to, well spare everyone the trouble. Don't put people on the spot, and don't ask permission. Instead of asking folks to green light behavior that you suspect might be objectionable, it's much more considerate to simply forego that activity, period.

    And this includes your dog. When it comes to nighttime, he belongs in your tent.

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    Administrator attroll's Avatar
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    Amen to that Jack. You hit the nail on the head.
    AT Troll (2010)
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    Registered User Phreak's Avatar
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    If someone asks you if its ok to bring a dog into a shelter and you don't speak up on how you really feel, then you have no right to b*tch about it. I've had people ask me in camp if its ok for them to smoke a cigarette. I always tell them no, I'm not a smoker nor do I care to be around it. I don't care if it makes me look like a bad person or whatever. At least I have the balls to stand up for how I feel on the trail and not just complain about it on the internet.

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    True. But. Reality is different. Most people don't want to be the bad guy.

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    Registered User Phreak's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mudhead View Post
    True. But. Reality is different. Most people don't want to be the bad guy.
    If you really are against dogs in a shelter or any other scenario you may encounter on the trail, why would you feel like the 'bad guy' for expressing how you feel?

    My philosophy has always been that if someone asks a question, they need to be ready to hear my honest answer.

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    I think this is brilliant- mostly because a lot of people just seem not to ever think of a couple of these things (like needing to alter your schedule to fit your dog's health, not just your own). I know a lot of people who arrive at hostels and other places and are royally irritated when the owner won't change the rule for them, and feel like they're being abused. Or they simply don't pay any attention and it turns out the dog is really bothering someone and is badly trained.

    To sum up, good post!

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    Although I must say, I think it is alright to have your dog carry his own food, maybe even some of his own water. They're very capable creatures who like to feel useful.

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