We love dogs.
And we love seeing leashed dogs on the trails.* For many owners, our trails are a quiet place to get some miles in and let their furry family members sniff all the plants and enjoy some sunshine.
And there’s always a but. And in this case, it invovles your dog’s butt.
We need to talk about poop.
While identifying scat on the trails is super fun, especially bobcat and bear scat, identifying or stepping in dog scat is not. And it is the responsibility of the dog owner to clean up after their dog.
We practice the Leave No Trace principles and your dog waste counts as leaving a trace. If you brought it in- and you did, even though it was inside your dog – you need to take it out. ALL the way out. Otherwise, you are guilty of poor pet etiquette. And as we say all too often, trash attracts trash. If you leave a water bottle at the gate, someone else will see it and think oh cool, I can leave my water bottle here too. Same with leaving your dog poo bags in the parking lot or worse- hanging them on the fence. Someone else comes along and thinks that’s an okay thing to do, and suddenly our trail visitors are sadly greated by a row of smelly bundles.
We do not have trash cans at our trail systems because these sites are primitive trails. They are free to the public and there are no visitors centers and no staff; therefore no one to empty trash cans regularly, and that would be a hazard to wildlife.
Here’s a great, quick run-down of dog owner etiquette from the Animal Humane Society.
Dog owners have a responsibility to manage their pets’ behavior and follow certain rules of etiquette. Follow these guidelines to ensure that you and your dog are being courteous community members.
- Scoop your poop. Bring several bags on your walks to be sure you have enough. If you run out, either come back and clean it up later, or ask another walker if they have a bag to spare.
- Prevent barking. Practice getting your dog’s attention to easily redirect him if he barks at people or other dogs. If you know your dog acts this way, only allow him in the yard when supervised.
- Only let your dog greet a stranger if they ask.The same rule applies if you see another dog and owner approaching. Ask first and respect the other’s response.
- Always leash your dog on walks. Not everyone is comfortable around dogs. Keep your dog close to you and stay alert to others. Your leash should be short enough to prevent your dog from contacting or jumping on passersby.
- Don’t play while on leash. If you meet another dog on a walk (and it’s alright with their owner) let the dogs sniff each other for five seconds and move on. Letting your dog play with another dog while on leash can result in injury and teach your dog that all dogs enjoy this kind of interaction, although many don’t.
- Be aware of other people’s feelings. If your dog does something to upset someone (jumping up, barking) apologize to them and take measures to prevent the situation from reoccurring.
*Please note- we do not encourage the walking of dogs at Bird Rookery Swamp and there are signs posted at the trail head regarding this.