Hiking with Dogs

A place for hikers with dogs to share tips, experiences, favorite hikes, concerns.

Some general guidelines to keep in mind, suggested by a staffer at New Jersey DEP:

The general rule is pets are permitted within the outside day use areas of the parks/forests as long as they are held on a leash (maximum length - 6 feet) and you clean up after your pet.   Pets are not permitted in buildings, on swimming beaches or in swimming waters, all overnight facilities (with the exception of the pet friendly campsites), golf courses or botanical gardens.

In the Catskill Forest Preserve, dogs may be unleashed, except for in campgrounds, where they must be leashed.


tree188's picture

It's great to be able to share the outdoors with your pet. What's not so great is the growing issue (for many years now) of lazy owners that will bag their pets waste and then throw it into the woods or by the side of the trail rather than pack it out. Or leave it behind thinking "someone else will pick it up". Seems to me that a re-education campaign might be in order for the trail steward folks that like to discuss trail side ethics with hikers or the simpler "don't litter" philosophy that's been talked about for decades as I recall. If a choice (not that there is a good one here) has to be made to "bag the waste" and pack it out or let the pet do its "business" naturally and leave it behind, I'd vote for having the animal go off the trail, do its "business", and leave it behind to decompose naturally. The bagged poo doesn't help the environment and just contributes to litter on the trail.
wghikes's picture

I agree. I pickup and pack out what my pet leaves behind. I find it absurd that owners bag the poo then leave it behind on the ground. Why bag it then??? And to the hiker that bagged his pets poo then hung it in a tree... Poo poo to you sir.
steve c's picture

Anyone know this hike? Is it too steep for a dog?  hike/hasenclever-mine-civil-warera-cemetery-and-cascades-harriman
banjolady's picture

i hike daily in harriman with my 3 dogs. there is nothing in harriman that is too steep for a dog. of course it depends on what kind of hiker your dog is. the hike you mentioned is easy.  we have a dog friendly hiking group if you are interested in going with a group with your dog https://groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/harrimanhike/info
Paul_A's picture

Just thought I'd share a photo of our 2.5 year old Shilo Shepherd named Tora. She loves the outdoors and has been on several backpacking trips with us.  She's gotta stay on leash or she'd chase every small animal within sight.  Friendly and loves people, but is terrified of other dogs and acts aggresively toward them if left to her own devices.  She was pretty good when we had a moose encounter last summer in New Hampshire.
k2malkin@optimum.net's picture

Dog owners should be aware of this page if they intend to use NJ WMA's for training.

kyla718's picture

I lost my dog Janie while hiking at Sterling Forest State Park in Tuxedo, NY on 3/19.  We are looking for volunteers to help look for her this SATURDAY MARCH 26th.  Janie is a 4 yo gold retriever mix, 50 pounds.  She is VERY afraid of strangers.  If you see her, please do not chase her.  We are hoping to get a spotting of her so that we can try to catch her with a dog trap.  Janie was last spotted at the NE corner of Sterling Lake.  I'll be at the the park all day on Sat. You can stop by the visitor's center for more info or email me.  Thanks!  Kyla [email protected] Here is alink to the park's website: http://www.nysparks.com/parks/74/details.aspx
exed's picture

Was this dog ever found?
studs's picture

Wow a really nice idea indeed , to hike around with your dog along with some of the friends . Since , I have never really taken my dog outside this concrete jungle , I think that it is really a great idea to take her to an adventurous hike trip . But what bothers me a lot is the fact that I have not given my dog a proper Dog Training , that is why I am afraid that I might loose her in the middle of nowhere . But even though there is a risk of loosing her I think I am going to take her for a hike for her re freshness and health .
richb201's picture

I have been hiking with my dog(s) off leash for about 13 years now. Here are some do and don't that I have gained through many experiences. Do's: a) always keep you dog in sight b) get a wireless electric hunting collar (don't waste your money on the kind they have at Petsmart, get a rechargeable) c) teach your dog to be obediant with this collar (ie to sit on command even when another dog is walking by) d) try to find places where hikers don't go (in the past few years Korean churches have started hiking in the places I used to take my dogs to stay away from people). Don'ts: e) don't let your friendly dogs try to kiss peoples faces (it freaks non dog people out) f) do put Frontline on your dog (ticks are all over NJ) g) learn what poison ivy looks like so you can stay away from it h) get a cover for the backseat of your car if you plan to carry wet dogs home. i) alway carry leashes with you and leash up your dog when you see people coming. j) remind your dog at least once per trip that they are wearing a training collar  k) do carry poop bags l) don't let your dog eat stuff they find on the trail unless you want to deworm them. l) keep your dog from rolling in the stinky spots they find.   NEVER take your dog off leash if you don't have total control over him (or her)! Walking a dog off leash is against the law because people have not followed this golden rule.  You must have control. Which brings me to losing a dog. How could you lose a dog if you have total control? How do you get control? By setting the training collar at a very low setting (the collar must be pretty tight) and teaching the dog to come, to sit, to stay. Retrain often.  
thegup's picture

I hike my beagles all the time. Beagles are not the type of dogs you would unleash as their are scent hounds and if they get one then their instincts take over and you could end up waiting for a very long time. Too many people hike with unleashed dogs and then act suprised when their pooch gets into a scrap with a leashed dog. This has happened to me more than once. I try to explain that a leashed dog van feel threatened by a dog wandering into his space and may defend it. Alot of people who have dogs have no idea about dog behavior and how to handle them. It's annoying. If you hike your dogs, make sure you avoid places where you may have to scramble, like Breakneck, Popolopen Torne, etc. and find a hike that has multiple watering spots so the pooches can get an occasional drink.
exed's picture

Good advice. If you do have a dog off leash, make sure it's always in sight, have leash in hand and use it at the first chance that there might be another hiker, dog or wildlife. BTW, I have a Beagle that is great off leash and listens on a dime. Proper, possitive training will get your Beagle there to if you put time/effort into it.
hiker4414's picture

studs, in areas where dogs are permitted, almost all require you to keep your dog on a leash so you should not have any problem with her getting lost.
christophersbaldwin's picture

Well first of all normally i never take my dog along when were are out or doing some adventure but it really sounds interesting i mean dogs just loves the adventures and what better this weekend if i take my alaskan husky to a outing with my other pets also.
Paul_A's picture

So, how did your first outing with your animals go? Did you take them out hiking or did you pick something else to do?
peteyd's picture

Anyone who hikes hariman knows that there are a lot of black (rat) snakes in the area, as well as northern brown water snakes, timber rattelers, and copper heads. The later two are the only that are venomous. In my own experience the number of rattelers is perhaps on the rise? I have seen more this year than the past 5 years I have been hiking. I hike with my dog and have done some research that may be helpfull to others who hike with dogs. Antivenom for rattelers is available at OCAES (845)-692-0260. If you hike with a dog, this phone number may be something you want to keep in your pack.
qvideo's picture

Thanks for the info posted here. I would like a little more info about this contact number. To start with; what is OCAES? I am not familiar with that organization (Orange Cty????) And what can I expect when i call this number? It's a pretty safe guess that the antivenom doesn't get delivered, so what is the process? And what about human bites? Do we use the same number? 
Second_Cloud's picture

While snakes pose some danger, I'm actually more concern about bears, as snakes tend to retreat when disturbed and only attacke when cornered. But bears attack when spooked or annoyed. Having a couple of dogs barking is a really good way to spook and annoy a bear. Can anybody provide some info on bears in the Harriman-Bear mountain region? (ie: population density, attitude towards hikers and campers, etc) Much appreciated!
hiker4414's picture

I've been lucky enough to have seen bears in Harriman about 10 times in the last 4 years and every time they always behaved like "non problem" bears. In other words, they turned tail and ran away. I did hear that a mother with 4 cubs was relocated out of Harriman, but that was because they were making trips "into town". I can't provide any verification on this. I have also heard that one hiking club has come across bears which freightened them - possibly an over reaction or likely the bears were confused by large groups of hikers and just needed some time to assess the danger (to themselves) and find an escape. Their natural reaction is to avoid the scary humans. Do take precautions. Given time and the number of visitors to Harriman, there no doubt will be a "problem" bear before long.
Michael K7's picture

"Given time and the number of visitors to Harriman, there no doubt will be a "problem" bear before long."

Especially if people keep leaving food on the trails. I can't count the number of orange peels and candy wrappers i've picked up while hiking. Might be time to step up the efforts to spread Leave No Trace principals...