Trail Safety and Courtesy for Trail Users with Dogs
These tips for trail users with dogs include general suggestions as well as recommendations for safe and courteous encounters with other trail users. These tips are in addition to the tips for your user group:
- Carry extra water for your dog, especially on warm days or long trips. Restrict exercise in the heat of the day, keeping to the shade where possible. Dogs do not eliminate heat as efficiently as humans do. Watch for signs of heatstroke or other distress.
- Don't leave your dog in your vehicle, especially during periods of high temperatures, unless adequate ventilation is provided.
- Don't allow your dog to eat raw salmon or trout. Such fish can carry parasites that can be fatal to dogs. If your dog is exposed, contact your veterinarian.
- Choose a trail experience within the limits of your dog's ability.
- Trim your dog's nails to medium length. Check for and treat cracking, punctures, or sores on foot pads.
- Watch out for poison oak, foxtails and other weeds, ticks, and other hazards. Keeping your dog on the trail and out of the grass and brush goes a long way toward eliminating these hazards to your dog and you.
- In developed areas (such as parking lots, picnic areas, camping areas, lawns, turf areas, and concession areas) and where posted, keep your dog on a six-foot leash (or extendable leash set to a six-foot length). (Dogs aiding handicapped persons are exempt.)
- Outside of developed areas, keep your dog under control. A dog is considered "under control" when the owner is aware of its conduct and when it returns to the owner when called. Carry leashes for your dogs at all times. Don't allow your dog to chase wildlife or livestock.
- Don't use headphones. They prevent you from being aware of your dog's behavior while it may be temporarily out of your sight. You need to know that your dog is not annoying other park visitors or wildlife.
- Please clean up after your dog, and remove its wastes from parklands or leave them in a waste receptacle provided. "Mutt mitts" are available in some locations, but bring your own just in case. [ more about dog waste on trails ]
- If your dog injures someone, the parties involved must exchange personal identification information and the dog's license number if requested. If injuries are serious, the involved parties must ensure that the incident is reported to park staff and should remain at the scene until emergency responders arrive. If any involved party leaves the scene to obtain medical treatment before responders arrive, he or she must report the incident and his or her identity to the District within 24 hours.
- Please review additional safety tips for dogs and rules for dogs on the East Bay Regional Park District's Web site.
- Communicate with any park visitor approached by your dog, especially if the visitor appears apprehensive or is a small child or has small children with him or her. Explain how to interact with your dog if the visitor appears unsure.
- Understand that some visitors to the parklands do not enjoy being touched or even being approached by dogs, and that their desire should be respected. On request by another park visitor, call your dog back to you or put it on leash until you and your dog are well away.
- Maintain close control of your dog in the vicinity of bicycles if the dog has a tendency to chase or otherwise harass bicycles or their riders.
- Where leashes are required, leash length must be kept to six feet. If you have your dog on a longer leash where longer leashes are permitted, be careful when you and your dog are approached by bicyclists, skaters, scooters, and the like. A long leash can "clothesline" such trail users and result in serious injury to them, you, and your dog.
- Understand that horses are herbivores and prey animals and that they know that dogs are carnivores and predator animals.
- Understand that, unless your dog is already familiar with horses, it may be more difficult for you to control the dog in the vicinity of horses.
- Be aware of your dog's actions and keep it under control around horses. Some horses will "spook" at unfamiliar off-leash dogs that run toward them or show aggression. A horse that is comfortable with one or two unfamiliar dogs may not be able to tolerate a larger group of them.
- Don't allow your dog to jump on or bite a horse; to bark and growl in a horse's face, showing intent to go for the throat; to run up behind a horse, nipping at his heels, sniffing his tail, or attempting to "herd" the horse; to run between the legs or under the belly of a horse; or to surround the horse together with other dogs.
- When a horse passes on the trail, step off the trail with your dog, on the low side of the trail if at all possible, and remain with your dog within the horse's sight at all times. Communicate with the rider; hearing your voice will help to calm the horse.
- Do not allow your dog to stand or move around on a hillside above a horse or to run down a hill toward a horse. The horse is likely to interpret this as predator behavior.
- Don't attempt to distract your dog by throwing sticks, balls, or other objects. This additional motion may add to the horse's anxiety.
- The Volunteer Mounted Patrol holds a monthly "Partners on the Trail" event designed to help socialize dogs and puppies to horses. Please read more about this program and consider attending!
Please know and observe the District's parkland rules that apply to your situation.