It’s hard to be happier than when you’re out pushing yourself on trails surrounded by the kind of scenic beauty in the Mammoth Lakes area.
Hard, but not impossible.
If you’re a trail runner and a dog owner, then there’s nothing better than sharing the trail with your dog. Not only do they get to exercise and explore the wilderness, but trail running with your pup is a bonding experience that you’ll both remember forever. First though, you and your dog must be prepared for all of the unknowns that come with the wilderness. To help you get your best friend out on the trail with you as soon as possible the ASO Mammoth team has put together some tips to help you train your dog (and yourself).
Check them out below!
Be patient with Yourself and Your Dog
If your furry friend is new to trail running, then you have to be patient with them and their progress. As much as you love the wilderness surrounding the trails, chances are that it’s ten times as exciting for your dog. It will take them some time to get used to the new setting, so be patient with them. Keep your initial training sessions short and focused. Start by focusing on a simple command and working on it until your dog gets it or has lost focus. It will take time for even the best trail dogs to follow your commands on the trail, so don’t expect perfection right away.
No matter what, don’t change the focus of the training just because your dog isn’t getting it. If your dog is going to be focused while on the trail, then you need to be as well.
Know the Law and Respect Others
As most dog owners know, not everyone loves dogs. To make sure that everyone is comfortable on the trail, avoid running with your dog during peak hours. You should also make sure you’re aware of local leash laws. In Mammoth Lakes, all dogs must be on a leash in developed areas such as campgrounds and parking lots. On the trail and in wilderness areas dogs may be off leash, but you should make sure they respect other people and dogs on the trail as well as the wildlife.
Protect Your Dog
The best way to protect your dog is to run with them on a leash, so if you can do so then you should. However, you can also protect your dog in other ways.
One way is by making sure they do not eat any dangerous plants or interact with dangerous wildlife. This is where clear commands backed up by disciplined training come in handy. You can also protect your dog by paying attention to them. Keep an eye out for vomiting, diarrhea or excess fatigue as these could be signs of heat stroke.
Lastly, always carry water for your dog and a method for them to drink it. While natural water sources are typically tempting for dogs, they could ingest waterborne pathogens while drinking from them so always carry clean water for yourself and your pup.
One of the easiest ways to get your dog to form good habits is by rewarding them with treats and play. If you’re still training their off-leash skills then treats are a great way to reinforce good habits, but they can also be a great way to celebrate a good day on the trail. Even the most disciplined dogs need to have fun too, so don’t forget to let them indulge in everything great about the outdoors with a good game of fetch or a jump in water near the trail.