Written by Jocelyn Brown
With winter coming to a close and spring quickly approaching, now is a great time to hit the trails with your whole family. Dogs on the trail are OK so don’t forget to bring Fido! The River Mountains Trails are designed for dogs and humans alike. Here are some tips and activities that will help him join in on the fun.
Tracking and Sniffing Games
Tracking and trailing are what make up the very essence of a dog if he can smell, he can track. The teaching of tracking and sniffing has become a sport and a fun game for owners and their furry pals. Unlike other dog-human activities, tracking puts the dog in charge. With the variety of wildlife located along the River Mountains Loop Trail, it is a great place for a dog to start, or to increase his ability to track different animals. However, be sure that your best bud helps to protect the wildlife on the trails and doesn’t frighten or bother animals such as the turtles in the area. Look but don’t touch.
Biking with your Buddy
River Mountains houses a trail called the Bootleg Canyon Mountain Bike Trail, which is a great location to mountain bike with Fido. It’ll increase your dog’s endurance and strength, as well as provide you both with excellent views of the desert. However, when biking in these conditions you need to pay attention to your dog’s health. Don’t go too fast or too far ahead and always watch out for him. You can buy bicycle attachments that connect your dog to the bike which ensures that he does not run too close or get hurt. To beat the heat, you must make sure he has enough water. The Bootleg Canyon Mountain bike trail has restrooms and water a half a mile along the route, to allow you to rehydrate and fill up for the rest of the journey.
Hiking the River Mountains
Hike to the top of the River Mountain, and take in the views with man’s best friend. You should get him a “dog pack” which not only allows him to carry some of the load, but also keeps him cool. For a one-day hike, these packs can include a collapsible food dish and water, and have a pocket to insert a cooling pack in. A handle at the top also allows you to easily hang onto him if you need to. However, keep an eye out for your dog’s feet. Some dogs have sensitive feet and you need to make sure they don’t overheat or get cut by cactus needles. If he likes them, you can buy him booties to protect his precious paws.
Preserving the Trail
It is important that you and Fido take steps to preserve the trail for others that will come after you. Make sure you stay on the marked paved paths to avoid disturbing flora and fauna, and keep your dog from getting hurt by stray cactus needles. Keeping your buddy on a leash will help him stay on the trail, and prevent them from colliding into bikers and joggers. Also always remember to clean up after you pet. Sometimes duty calls, but it is important that we do our part to preserve the environment and leave it just the way we found it.
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