Midlands Humane Society: Take note of trail etiquette, whether you’re a dog walker or cyclist | Pets

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Kori Nelson Midlands Humane Society

Southwestern Iowa is blessed with the Wabash Trace Nature Trail in our backyard. This 60+ mile trail winds through beautiful countryside dotted with towns along the way and has been around for decades.

Have you cycled on it or walked under its beautifully treed canopy? Maybe you took your dog for a nice walk on it so he could see and smell things you’re unlikely to find along sidewalks in your own neighborhood. We certainly know there are do’s and don’ts when walking or biking on a trail or down the street, and if you add a dog into the mix, there are even more rules than we must follow.

The people at www.traillink.com have some great tips and suggestions you should follow if you’re taking Fido out on a date:

1. Plan ahead: Although rail trails are dog-friendly, consider whether your dog is suitable for a rail trail. Is Fido comfortable with cyclists, runners, walkers and other dogs? Trails can be busy places, so think carefully about which trail to visit and when to go, as well as how your pet will react to that environment.

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2. Bring everything you need: Be sure to pack water, snacks, bags to clean your dog’s suites and of course a leash. Trailheads may have water fountains, but unless you know the route, don’t assume you’ll be able to get water whenever you need it.

3. Consider boundaries: When planning an outing, keep your boundaries and your dog’s boundaries in mind. If your pet isn’t used to long walks, don’t take the opportunity to introduce one. Instead, make the first outing a short getaway and increase it over time, keeping your dog’s age, health, and fitness level in mind.

4. Practice trail etiquette: Even on quiet trails, it’s possible to find cyclists and runners falling on you faster than you think. Stay to the right on the trail, make sure your dog is on a leash, and watch that your dog doesn’t stray into the path of other trail users. The paths around a city are wide enough to accommodate a person with their dog and a cyclist, rules must be respected. If you arrive behind someone (regardless of whether you are the walker or the cyclist), you must announce your presence by voice or by ringing a bell. Even if you love your pet, others may not feel the same way. Not everyone likes dogs and your adorable little cocker spaniel can be scary. Respect other people’s space and make sure Fido stays close to you throughout the walk. While it’s always good practice, remember to make sure your dog’s collar is intact and dog tags are up-to-date and securely fastened.

It’s also important to note that not everyone wants their dog petted by strangers, so be sure to ask your children to ask permission before petting a dog on a leash.

It’s the last day of our Memorial Day Adoption Special! Until 5 p.m. today, more than a dozen dogs are available for adoption at whatever price the prospective adopter deems appropriate. Yes, you read that right. This is a “name adoption of your price” for dogs over a year old who have been here for more than 30 days. The long weekend will give you some extra time to help settle your newly adopted dog into your home and routine. Please consider giving these great “longer stay” dogs a chance at a loving home just in time for summer.

MHS Pets of the Week are brought to you by Council Bluffs Veterinary Clinic: Bulldog is a 6 year old neutered male Rottweiler mix who is such a sweet boy and loves getting attention! He would like a home where he can take a good daily walk followed by a comfortable place to nap. Pink is a neutered 3 year old female Pitbull mix who is a favorite in Midlands. She arrived as a very shy girl who was also pregnant when she arrived. She raised her babies successfully and is now ready for the next stage of her life. She may take a second to get to know new people, but she is very driven and the nicest girl once you are in her circle of trust. She loves to run and play fetch in the yard and will be a great companion. Reba is a 1 year old neutered female German Shepherd/Rhodesian Ridgeback. Reba is a sweet girl who needs a patient owner who can help her gain confidence when she goes out into the world. She has lived well with other dogs, but plays rough and would therefore need a dog friend who can tolerate her play style. She is also nervous with children, so she would do best in an adult-only home. lana is a 2 year old neutered female Husky mix. Lana is a sweet girl who is a bit shy at first, but once she warms up, she’s super sweet. Because she’s a Husky mix, she can be a bit of an escape artist, so we recommend watching closely when you’re outside. Lana is used to high prey with chickens, so a poultry-free home is necessary.

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