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The Adirondack Explorer is a nonprofit magazine covering the Adirondack Park's environment, recreation and communities.

Reader Interactions


  1. Craig Lahr says

    Really!? Defer to common sense. Ridiculous to focus on such a minor issue in the real world – especially today.

    • Elaine C says

      We who LIVE here, this IS our real world, every day. Dog attacks, rabies, chasing deer and waste are a huge, daily problem. We don’t all live in cities.

    • Mike says

      OMG, I confronted a guy throwing trash out of his car window the other day, that was his response too. Is there a community of you people using a pandemic as excuse for not being a decent, responsible human being? If anything this is a time to be even more considerate and sensible. Leave your dog at home if you can’t hike with it on a leash, and clean up after the thing if it is on a leash.

  2. Julie M. Moran says

    Really, this issue is so overblown, exaggerated and very misunderstood by the wagging-finger leash lovers.

    I’ve climbed more than 700 mountain ascents with my Chocolate Lab Mike and it’s rare if ever I’ve tied anything to him (except a HARNESS, often critically important gear for dogs on many Adirondack hikes).

    Mike is my beloved friend and constant companion and a friend to all on the trail. This constant sniping and pearl clutching by the mountain purists (“I got splashed by mud” — oh my goodness!!) threaten to ruin my mountain experience with my friend. Please stop it.

    And by the way, Mike WAS very recently attacked by another dog — the only time in 10+years — costing me $700 in vet bills. But in this case, at a nearby dog park, BOTH dogs were leashed!!!

    • Mike says

      That’s fine, but if an unleashed animal approaches me, don’t be upset if I defend myself against the dog. I don’t clutch pearls, but I do carry a knife and have picked up large rocks ready to start swinging. If only there were a device that would allow you to bring your little four legged hobby on a hike with you that would keep the thing from harming truly innocent animals and annoying other people who have a right to enjoy the trails un-harassed…when will we ever invent such a glorious creation.

      • Will says

        Same. I have no problem stun-gunning or stabbing a dog who aggressively challenges or attacks me. And I have known people who purposely leave poisoned goodies just off the trail for unleashed dogs to find. I haven’t, but I’d be aware if I were someone who let my dog loose.

        These are multi-use trails, guys. Have some consideration for those hiking, riding, or biking. It can be very frightening to be run up on by a strange dog. And if I had a dollar for everyone who said, “Why she’s never behaved that way before!” Or the old standby, “Don’t worry, he’s friendly” and then I’m aggressively cornered, barked at, or knocked off my bike. The indignation dog owners can have on the trail is absolutely astounding. I also super love stepping in or riding through your dog sh*t by mistake. So awesome.
        Don’t be that ass*ole. Use a leash or run your dog at a designated area.

  3. BF says

    One of the conceits of many dog owners is that because they love their mutt, then everyone will. I do like dogs. But I don’t like unknown dogs charging at me or jumping on me with their muddy paws as the owner does nothing except bleat “He’s friendly.”

    • Julie Moran says

      You say you like dogs so … when you hear, “He’s friendly,” why not go ahead and be a friend? Surely if you’re hiking in the Adirondacks, you can’t be aghast at a little mud!!

      • Mike says

        I like dogs, but I don’t put any animal above any others. If a strange animal approaches me on a trail, I’m going to defend myself. Then you dog nuts get all upset. Why do you even need the government to tell you to leash your animal? It’s it just common sense/ human decency. Keep your little four legged hobby home if you can’t handle it on a leash.

  4. Ethan says

    “ Winchell noted that even if a dog doesn’t catch wild animals, the animals being chased will still use precious energy in fleeing, making them vulnerable to natural predators. And a dog that meets up with certain wildlife— such as a skunk, porcupine, bear or moose— can suffer injury or other consequences.”

    Really? Hunting dogs, whether in training or actively hunting, fit this description perfectly, so why should they be excluded?

    • Will says

      Hunting dogs are trained to retrieve shot prey. They do not run loose – they follow commands only, and are not running wild or independently after squirrels, etc. until they are commanded to retrieve. There’s a huge difference between a trained hunting dog and even the same breed, untrained, and loose. That’s why there’s a difference.

  5. Jan Hansen says

    Dogs should have the opportunity to hike with their owners. We try to choose trails that are lightly traveled. The big problem is the owners. Train your pets, realize not everyone is a fan of canines. Leash and take them off the trails when others approach. Clean up after them. Know your dog’s limitations.
    We enjoy taking our dogs with us.
    Right now it seems that the major problem on trails is inexperienced folks, who are unprepared, don’t know their limits and think that a cell phone will save them.

    • Mike says

      Wow, way to deflect. No, the biggest issue is dog owners, certainly it’s the issue trending upward the fastest. My hiking boots are still wet from having to wash them off after stepping in dog vomit on the trail today. Last week I carried 2 dog bags full of poop off the mountain. I was approached by a growling dog this spring and have watched morons who think it’s cute that their stupid dog is chasing wildlife.

      I’ve given dog owners friendly reminders that their dog should be leashed or at the very least under control, not wandering the woods. Some people are reasonable, some become belligerent, which I’m more than happy to reciprocate. My favorite is “they’re friendly” which I’m always quick to respond “I don’t care”. They assume they’re afraid of the things, I’m trying to hike without your annoying 4 legged hobby harassing me, I’m not afraid of it. I do carry a weapon now while hiking though; I never did out of concern of people, but the dog issue has become a huge problem.

      • Will says

        It really has become a huge problem where I live, as well. I consider it incredibly selfish of bad dog owners. At some point, soon, these individuals will find they have ruined the privilege for even the leash-abiding owners. Sadly, there will be a lot more dogs hurt because their people are careless and stupid.

  6. Katie says

    Please leash your dogs!! As a single hiking female, I bring my dog with me for companionship and protection. I know my dog’s physical limits and don’t push her and I know her social limits – she is not friendly to strangers or other dogs. I take my responsibility as a dog owner seriously, keep my dog leashed on a choke collar and veer off the trail to let others pass and prevent interaction. My actions only go so far though when other dog owners do not keep their canines leashed. Three times yesterday, unleashed dogs came bounding down the trail and ran right up to my dog’s face, even though we had stepped off the trail. People – your dog may be friendly, but not all dogs are and your lack of leashing puts others at risk. Unfriendly dogs aren’t bad dogs; it simply means their owners have to handle them properly, which I do. But that only goes so far if not everyone obeys the law Or us common courtesy and keeps their dogs on a leash.

  7. Mark says

    Most dogs and their owners I have met on trail are friendly. I just dont like the attitude that I love to hike with my dog so you should too. Most owners seem to control their dogs pretty well. But personally I don’t like to see any dog off leash because I never really know what they will do despite what the owner says. So to you owners who say whats so bad about a little mud when my dog jumps on you. When u walk my pet tiger and he eats your fifi dont come crying,

    • Mike says

      I wish they didnt put the mud comment in the article, I feel like it discredits those of us who would like to just hike without some unleashed animal running up on us. I don’t care about mud, I just don’t want your dog around me. There is a piece of equipment (leash) that allows you to accomplish bringing the dog in public, while keeping it under control and close to you. If it is too difficult for you to use the leash, then leave the dog home or maybe don’t own a dog if you don’t own some land for the animal to run on. Public land is not your dog park.

  8. Mark says

    Most dogs and their owners I have met on trail are friendly. I just dont like the attitude that I love to hike with my dog so you should too. Most owners seem to control their dogs pretty well. But personally I don’t like to see any dog off leash because I never really know what they will do despite what the owner says. So to you owners who say whats so bad about a little mud when my dog jumps on you. When u walk by my pet tiger and he eats your fifi dont come crying,

  9. Mountain joe says

    Comments by selfish dog owners justifying their behavior are really infuriating. You aren’t special. The rules apply to you. If your dog comes at me off leash, I’m going to defend myself with force.

    • Mike says

      I completely agree, I’ve told people as their dogs surround me “if I pick up a rock and bash this things head in, I’m completely within my rights and anything that happens to this animal is on you”. That of course leads to an argument with an ignorant fool who can’t under why they’re wrong.

      There is no reasonable excuse, if you want the dog to run, buy some land. If you don’t have land but insist on buying a breed that is active and needs to run…first, you’ve made a terrible decision, and now you’re trying to make your problem my problem. I really don’t like that character trait.

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