Paula Silverman: Dog owners need to be reminded of trail etiquette |

Paula Silverman: Dog owners need to be reminded of trail etiquette

Steamboat Digs Dogs had their article out about new dog waste receptacles and are holding their spring clean-up Sunday. The Old Town Hot Springs had its Poochy Paddle two Sundays ago, and the city of Steamboat Springs had its reminder article out about a month ago about leash laws and pet responsibility.

And so I’d like to remind readers Spring Creek Trail is not an off-leash trail because it seems there is some confusion. Lower Spring Creek Trail is the off-leash area and that portion runs along the creek on the backside of the high school, not from the Amethyst Drive parking lot to the dog park.

I have heard that with the onset of spring some hikers on Spring Creek Trail have been confronted with over zealous dogs, regardless of whether they are on or off leash, jumping up on and surprising them. Jumping up on people is unwanted behavior, and all of us need to do a better job of training our pets not to do this.

The city has put up signs to designate leashed and off-leash areas. The responsibility of reading and complying with the signs rests with dog owners. Springtime is always a good time to review rules and behaviors with your family and pets.

• Make sure you and all members of your family are using the same commands and have the same expectations with your pets.

• Have your pet on leash from the car to the off-leash area.

• Keep your pet’s favorite treats in your pocket and reward desired behavior.

• When approaching other hikers, keep your dog “on heel” and quickly correct over excited behavior.

I would also add, as a knowledge tool for hikers who do not want to make contact with dogs, one suggestion. When you meet a dog on the trail, do not make eye contact with the dog. Also, turn sideways to the dog with your arms folded. This will help to discourage the dog from interacting with you.

As a non-pet owner, it is not your job to train our dogs, but you can help yourself with actions that will discourage unwanted behavior. In turn, it will make your hike a pleasant one.

Paula Silverman

Steamboat Springs

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