I was surprised to find a whole section on the Runner's World website on running with dogs. As someone who normally runs with a canine companion, I was intrigued. There is a debate article about trail running with your dogs: should they be leashed or allowed to run free? I normally run with Peanut on a 6 foot leash (I have beef against retractable leashes), and when I trail run with her, I use a 20 ft lead so she can go further ahead. I would never consider letting her off lead because she doesn't even come when I call her in the yard, let alone the woods. I absolutely hate coming across other people who have their dogs off lead because their dogs are normally running ahead of them and I have to deal with the dog meeting on my own before the owner of the loose dog shows up.
I have always considered keeping my dog on a leash at all times to be the responsible thing to do because even if my dog is a saint, some people are terrified of dogs. On the other hand, I understand that some people have smart dogs (like Border Collies) that can handle complicated commands like "Come" that seem to baffle my dog. Also, running without a leash is nice because you don't have to worry about it getting stuck on trees and bushes.
|I have a bad dog|
I'm going to be trail running a lot more in the spring and summer, so I'm sure I'll come across this issue more and more. Peanut used to have a backpack (which would be very handy) but the chest strap broke. I might have to get her another neon backpack so she can carry her own water :) If I wasn't so cheap, I'd get her this one, which I'm sure would last longer than the 13 dollar one I picked up at Petco.
What's your opinion, should dogs be allowed to run off lead on trails or should they always be kept on a leash? Do you trail run with your dog?